Courier Publisher named to newspaper Hall of Fame
Houston County Courier - January 2008
The Texas Newspaper Foundation inducted Houston County Courier publisher Alvin Holley and three other long-time Texas newspapermen to the Texas Newspaper Foundation Hall of Fame on Friday, Jan. 18.
Joining Holley are Amon G. Carter, founder of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Walter Buckel, former publisher of the Lamesa Press Reporter and Harold Hudson, former publisher of the Perryton Herald as the 2008 inductees.
The induction ceremony was held at the Texas Press Association’s 61st annual midwinter conference in Dallas.
In 2006, the Austin-based Texas Newspaper Foundation created its own hall of fame to induct up to four exemplary men and women of the newspaper business each year. The first four, Roy Eaton, Alfred H. Belo, James Roberts and Staley McBrayer, were inducted in January 2007.
Like Eaton, Belo, Roberts and McBrayer, the next class of inductees’ clearly outstanding achievements and contributions to the newspaper industry and to their communities were noted by a selection committee that met Nov. 1 and picked the four individuals from a field of 37 nominees.
Alvin Holley, a native of Corsicana, began his newspaper career at age 10 as a carrier for the Corsicana Daily Sun.
After selling newspapers on the streets for a number of years, Holley was offered an office job with the Sun.
While working for the Corsicana Daily Sun, Holley moved through the ranks as circulation manager, advertising manager and general manager.
In 1972, he and another employee of the Sun, David Durham, bought Polk County Publishing Co. in Livingston. At the time, the company owned and operated the Polk County Enterprise in Livingston, San Jacinto News-Times in Coldspring and Shepherd, and Lake Livingston Progress.
In September 1972, Holley and Durham purchased The Groveton News.
In March 1973, they acquired The Trinity Standard.
Polk County Publishing went on to acquire The Corrigan Times, The Houston County Courier in Crockett and The Tyler County Booster in Woodville. The company also publishes a number of free distribution weeklies, including The Big Thicket Messenger in Liberty County and The Pennysaver in Polk County.
Holley bought his partner’s interest in the company and serves as publisher of all seven of the newspapers, which serve a five-county area.
Holley was president of Texas Gulf Coast Press Association in 1986-87 and in 2000-01 served as Texas Press Association’s 123rd president.
He earned a Texas Press Association Golden 50 Award recognizing his 50 years of work in the newspaper business.
Holley’s skill as a Texas newspaper publisher, printer and community builder make him shine among his peers in the business.
Holley and his wife Linda have six children, four of whom work for Polk County Publishing, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Walter Buckel served as president of the Texas Press Association in 1985-86 and as president of West Texas Press Association in 1983-84.
Buckel entered the newspaper business in 1967 when he purchased the Dawson County Free Press in Lamesa.
In March 1968, Buckel merged his newspaper with the Lamesa Reporter, owned by James Roberts of Andrews.
The Roberts group named Buckel president and publisher of the Lamesa Press Reporter. Prior to his work in newspapers, Buckel spent seven years in radio sales and management.
Before that, he worked for Lamesa public schools directing cafeterias and transportation. He also ran for county clerk and won two-year and four-year terms before resigning in 1957 to enter the insurance business.
During this period, Buckel had his own daily radio sports program and was a play-by-play announcer of all sports.
He played a summer of amateur baseball in Manhattan, Kan., and for the Lamesa Lobos of the Class D, West Texas-New Mexico League.
His career then included stints at Pampa and Idaho Falls (Idaho) before he was called into service with the U.S. Air Force. After two years overseas, as a radio operator in North Africa, he was discharged in November 1945. Buckel played with the Montgomery (Ala.) Rebels of the Class B, Southeastern League, the Dallas Rebels of the Texas League and then Lubbock and Lamesa where he became the team’s business manager. Buckel married Rubye Neile Mitchell in March 1947. They had two children.
Amon G. Carter Sr., longtime publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, was born in a log cabin near Crafton, Texas, in 1879. He died at his home in Fort Worth in 1955.
In 1908, Carter and an associate who owned the Fort Worth Star, purchased its larger competitor, the Fort Worth Telegram, and founded the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Jan. 1, 1909.
Carter saw opportunity to the west of Fort Worth and sent sales people to the far reaches of the state, setting up circulation offices near bus stations and train depots.
The newspaper’s circulation and influence grew and grew. From 1923 until after World War II, the Star-Telegram had the largest circulation of any newspaper in the southern United States, serving Fort Worth, West Texas, New Mexico and western Oklahoma, a land area more than twice the size of New England. Carter was unequalled as a booster for Fort Worth and all of West Texas, personally touting the region’s attributes in venues as far away as New York, N.Y., Washington, D.C., and Europe.
Carter’s roles as newspaper publisher, civic booster and philanthropist have left a widespread legacy.
Just a few examples in Fort Worth alone: Texas Christian University’s Amon G. Carter Stadium, the world-famous Amon Carter Museum, and the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law’s main auditorium. Carter was instrumental in bringing a four-year college we know today as Texas Tech University to Lubbock.
Also, Amon Carter Peak in Big Bend National Park memorializes Carter’s role in creating the park itself.
Harold Hudson, a native of Gorman, served as president of Panhandle Press Association in 1957-58, as president of Texas Press Association in 1967-68, and president of the National Newspaper Association in 1977-78.
Hudson started in the newspaper business at age 13 as a printer’s devil at the Ochiltree County Herald in Perryton.
Hudson served in the U.S. Army in World War II, enlisting as soon as he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1942. He was honorably discharged in 1946.
He returned to Perryton and was named news editor of the Herald.
In 1959, he became publisher after purchasing controlling interest in the newspaper. In 1983, Hudson received the coveted Amos Award from the National Newspaper Association, an honor recognizing a community newspaper publisher’s professional achievement, community leadership and advancement of the journalism profession.
Hudson died July 4, 1991, at age 71. At the time of his death, he was vice president of the Texas Newspaper Foundation and had served as a trustee since its founding in 1974.
Hudson was married to Jane and they had three children, including Jim, current Herald publisher, and Mary Dudley, current editor.