Bill Williams, editor/publisher emeritus of The
Post-Intelligencer, has been chosen as a member of the first class of
inductees into the new Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame at Middle Tennessee
State University in Murfreesboro.
Williams is one of six persons who will make up the initial class for the hall. They will be inducted during a ceremony April 26 at MTSU’s Murphy Center arena.
Others chosen are:
Chris Clark, a retired chief news anchor of WTVF in Nashville;
Anne Holt, veteran news anchor at WKRN in Nashville;
Dan Miller, deceased, longtime news anchor at WSMV in Nashville;
John Seigenthaler, chairman emeritus of The Tennessean and founder of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University;
Dean Stone, editor of The Daily Times of Maryville;
The Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame will be housed inside the John Bragg Mass Communication Building at MTSU.
Williams retired in 1999 as the third generation of his family to serve as The P-I’s editor and publisher. He continues to write its daily editorials.
His son, Michael, is now the fourth generation Williams to serve as editor and publisher.
Bill Williams has been with the paper most of his life, having started in his youth as a carrier and working his way up to publisher in 1978.
Now 78, he became editor and publisher at the retirement of his father, the late Bryant Williams. Bryant in turn had taken over as publisher at the retirement in 1967 of his father, the late W. Percy Williams, who had come from Alabama to purchase The P-I in 1927.
Williams said he is very proud of the newspaper. “I’ve tried to see that it’s been a good citizen of our community,” he added.
He said that even though it’s no fun dealing with an irate advertiser or a reader who thinks he’s been wronged in the newspaper columns, he never seriously considered doing anything else.
During his high school years, he worked as a reporter after school, on Saturdays and during the summers. After graduating third in his class at Grove High School in 1952, Williams went on to graduate with honors as a journalism student at Murray State University.
During his summers, Williams continued to be a P-I reporter. Throughout his college years, Williams was also a member of the college newspaper staff and was named the outstanding journalism student during his senior year.
After graduating from college, he was a reporter for the Memphis Press-Scimitar for a brief period, then for The Tullahoma News for three years before he returned to Paris in 1960 as The P-I’s news editor.
One of the things he said he enjoyed about his work was that at the end of each day, he was able to hold a paper in his hands and say, “Here’s what we did today.”
“It’s also a joy to hear from people who used to work here and have gone on to do well in the newspaper business or elsewhere, and hear them speak fondly of their time at The P-I,” Williams said. “You feel like you had a small part to play in making someone’s life a little more complete.”
Williams also added he appreciated the contact he had with people both inside The P-I building and out, and that he enjoyed meeting people and being involved in various activities. Not every job offers that opportunity, he said.
The P-I has won many awards and honors under his guidance. His editorials consistently win state press awards.
Williams was the second Williams generation to serve as president of the Tennessee Press Association, following his father Bryant. His son Michael is now serving as TPA president, which marks the first time three generations of the same family have served as TPA president.
Williams also served as president of the Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors, and his son Michael later served as its president. He was a founding member of the board of directors of the Mid-America Press Institute.
In retirement, Williams has stayed very involved in civic activities, including the Optimist Club, where he’s past-president; the Heritage Center, where he’s past-executive director; Habitat for Humanity, where he’s past-president; and First Presbyterian Church, where he’s an elder and Sunday school teacher.
He’s a long-time board member of Tennessee Press Association Foundation. He is founding president of the Henry County Literacy Council and winner of the state Sequoyah literacy award; and a winner of the Boy Scouts’ Silver Beaver award for leadership. He helped organize his community’s blood program, an annual auction that raises over a quarter of a million dollars to aid local charities and its leadership program.
He and his wife, Anne, also have three daughters, Cindy Barnett of Murray, Julie Ray of Gainesville, Fla., and Joan Stevens of Paris; 11 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
JOURNALISM HALL OF FAME GROUP PHOTO
|The first six inductees in the new Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame are (from left) John Seigenthaler, Chris Clark, Karen Miller (representing her late husband Dan Miller), Dean Stone, Bill Williams and Anne Holt. The induction ceremony was Friday in Murfreesboro.|
Class of 1952
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