Dudman, Crocker to be inducted into MPA Hall of Fame

AUBURN — Two distinguished Maine journalists will be inducted into the Maine Press Association (MPA) Hall of Fame at the group’s annual conference in October.
This year’s honorees are the late Robert Crocker, a long-time Associated Press state house reporter and Richard Dudman of Ellsworth and Islesford, retired St. Louis Post Dispatch correspondent and editorial writer for the Bangor Daily News.
“We are proud to be inducting such superbly-qualified candidates into this year’s Hall of Fame,” said MPA President Kelly Morgan of The York Weekly.
Mr. Dudman has been a lifelong newspaperman.
A high point of his reporting career was his capture in Cambodia while covering the Vietnam War for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He wrote an account for the newspaper and later expanded it into a book, “40 Days with the Enemy.” He wrote an earlier book, “Men of the Far Right.”
In 1978, he escaped death again in Cambodia when a terrorist fired at him.
In his 31 years with the Post-Dispatch, as a reporter and Washington and foreign correspondent, he covered the takeover of Cuba by Fidel Castro, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, secret preparations for the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, the Watergate scandal and President Richard Nixon’s resignation, the Iran-Contra scandal in the President Ronald Reagan’s administration, and numerous other wars and revolutions in Latin America, the Middle East and the Far East.
After retiring from the Post-Dispatch and moving to Maine, Mr. Dudman went back to work for the newspaper on brief special assignments. For nine years, he worked every winter as a managing editor for South-North News Service in Hanover, N.H.
In 1993, after learning the identity of the Vietcong officer who had captured him and later released him, Mr. Dudman visited the retired general in his remote village in the Vietnam delta for several day of interviews.
Honors include the 1993 George Polk career award, the New York Press Club’s award for best reporting from Asia, the Edward Weintal award for diplomatic reporting, and two fellowships in 1994 and 1996 as a media adviser under the Knight International Press Fellowship Program.
In recent years, he has written more than 750 editorials for the Bangor Daily News.
During his distinguished career, Bob Crocker proved to be the consummate professional both in the service of journalism and the American Newspaper Guild.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bates College in 1938 and later he joined the Lewiston Evening Journal as a reporter the following year.
Two years later he left Lewiston to join the Worcester, MA, Evening Gazette and returned to Maine in 1947 as the State House Correspondent for the Associated Press.
During his Augusta years, he was active as a member of the Wire Service Guild, a nation-wide local of the American Newspaper Guild, and served as its president. He also served as president of the Maine State House Newsmen’s Association.
He was prolific, filing several thousand stories each legislative session.
As a researcher, he was unparalleled. Most of it – legislative history, members, and controversial issues – was in his head, the product of more than 20 years covering Maine government.
When the Legislature issued its joint proclamation honoring him in 1967 it was fellow State House journalists who had started the ball rolling.
Governor Kenneth M. Curtis praised Mr. Crocker for his accounts of State House proceedings, and “his uncanny eye towards public impressions and public service…. He symbolizes those men of the Press who have given Maine citizens a light so they can act on governmental matters with some confidence when they enter their polling places.”
Mr. Crocker continued to serve the AP as its State House correspondent for two more years, after which he was elected in 1969 Secretary-Treasurer of the American Newspaper Guild in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Dudman and Mr. Crocker will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame at a luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Hilton Garden Inn Auburn Riverwatch.