Three veteran journalists have been selected to join the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame. The late columnist Bill Clark, the late photographer Bob DeLong and retired publisher Don Levesque will be inducted at ceremonies scheduled for Saturday, October 16, at Point Lookout in Northport as part of the MPA’s annual fall conference.
The Hall of Fame was established in 1998 to honor newspaper people with Maine connections who made outstanding contributions to the profession. The 2010 induction will bring the total number of Hall of Fame members to 52.
In the fall of 1957, the first of Bill Clark’s “Logrolling” columns, later called “Some Logrolling,” began appearing in the Portland Press Herald. It was intended to be no more than an informed, folksy series on woodland management for the newspaper’s “Living in Maine” page.
The column quickly developed in style, broadened content and reader popularity. In it, Clark followed the mold of Maine’s 18th century satirist Seba Smith by introducing the inhabitants of a fictional Maine town known as Cedar River to carry on his own pointed discussion of current events. The column became a fixture for three decades on the editorial pages of the Portland Press Herald, Central Maine Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal. Clark also was the author of seven books.
“He was thoughtful, funny, wise and occasionally (but not too often) sentimental in detailing the foibles of his fellow Mainers and himself,” wrote Al Diamon, one of his nominators.
In a recent Kennebec Journal column, George Smith recalled Clark’s “reverence for the land” by quoting an excerpt from one of Clark’s columns. “On all the old lands,” wrote Clark, “there are lessons. They are the marks men made, the intimacies of an era. They should not be lost.” Smith concluded, “Neither should this priceless collection of wisdom or the memory of the man who provided it.”
“Some Logrolling” ran until Clark’s death in 1988, at the age of 74.
Bob DeLong worked at the Bangor Daily News for 34 years, the last 22 as a staff photographer. He began his career with the News in 1968 as a typographer in the composing room, and then worked as a freelance photographer for United Press International in the 1970s. He moved into the photography department at the Bangor Daily News in 1980.
“He was always ready to tackle any story, any challenge,” wrote Bangor Daily News Photo Editor Scott Haskell. “Bob was interested in the people he met and photographed. He was a fountain of knowledge about Maine’s people and towns,” recalled Haskell, “and the issues that affected them.”
“Bob DeLong was the epitome of the professional news photographer,” said Mark Woodward, then-executive editor of the Bangor Daily News, in the newspaper’s story about DeLong’s death in the summer of 2008. “You could count on Bob to follow through on any assignment, and no matter how routine or challenging the shoot, he would bring back much more than you anticipated.”
In 2002, in the newspaper’s “Pictures of the Year” section, DeLong looked back on his career.
“Over the years,” he wrote, “the pages of the Bangor Daily News have given me the opportunity, through my photos, to tell stories, show happiness, sadness, accomplishment, failure, relief, despair and, I hope, to show readers something they might not have had time to see themselves.”
DeLong died in July of 2008.
Don Levesque retired earlier this year after spending 25 years with the St. John Valley Times, holding almost every position at the Madawaska weekly before becoming its publisher in 1996.
“As publisher, Don advocated for the Valley as a unique cultural asset to the state and the world,” wrote St. John Valley Times Managing Editor Elizabeth Duprey. “His work in promoting Franco-American and Acadian culture will always be remembered, as will his commitment to the truth and to serving his community.”
In May of 1996, upon being named publisher, Levesque told readers that his new appointment at the St. John Valley Times, “…is probably one of the biggest honors of my life, the greatest challenge of my life and the fruitful continuation of a love affair with the St. John Valley.”
“Through his thoughtful and creative writing, his dogged insistence on preserving the Acadian language and heritage of the region, his hard work, and his delightful wit, Don made this local newspaper the true voice of this wonderful region, embraced and loved by all,” wrote University of Maine at Fort Kent President Richard Cost.
“He has a strong mind and a soft heart,” said Duprey, “making him the perfect publisher for a community newspaper like ours.”