Thirteen years after the last New York Journalism Hall of Fame luncheon, The Deadline Club returned to Sardi’s for an encore matinee on Nov. 14.
This second act brought down the house. Some 150 guests packed into the caricature-lined banquet room, where the Club inducted eight illustrious journalists into the Hall of Fame, bringing the total number of honorees to nearly 100. (Read more about the Hall of Fame’s history.)
The day was book-ended by celebrity columnist Cindy Adams, who kicked off the alphabetically-arranged ceremony with tales of her big start at The New York Post writing about her acquaintances like the Shah of Iran and Imelda Marcos. Norman Pearlstine, who had only just announced his return to Time Inc. after eight years, concluded his remarks by saying that he had recently met Marcos, who asked him to give Cindy a kiss from Imelda. (The paparazzi loved it!)
Guests sat down to their corn chowder and sirloin steak about 15 minutes late because the photographers were busy snapping pictures of Adams and former Hall of Famer Barbara Walters. Her table also included the Fox News anchor Roseanna Scotto, former WNBC anchor Sue Simmons and NY1 anchor Roma Torre. At the next table, the shutterbugs zeroed in on new honoree Jimmy Breslin and former honoree Pete Hamill, along with other Daily News writers past and present, Michael Daly and Denis Hamill.
New York is still the magazine capital of the world, in no small part because of nearby honorees Vanity Fair Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter, Fortune Magazine Senior Editor-at-Large Carol Loomis and Pearlstine, Time Inc.’s new Chief Content Officer.
Carter quipped that he wasn’t the most obvious choice for a “Deadline Club” award because he still hadn’t turned in one of his early magazine writing assignments. Loomis, one of the first women to break into business journalism, said the driving motivation behind all of her work over the last six decades at Fortune was fear that she wouldn’t get the story right. (Her shelf of lifetime achievement awards demonstrates how well she has mastered this fear.)
Another pioneering female journalist, Linda Mason, spoke about getting her start as the first female producer for the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite in 1971. At the time, she said, she was the only woman working as a producer on a staff that included one black man, and she used to say that they were the two minorities. No one contradicted her.
Bob Herbert, the former New York Times columnist who has tackled urban affairs issues for decades, spoke about his early days at The Daily News. He attributed his big break on an out-of-town story to his personal American Express card, which saved his boss the hassle of filling out paperwork.
Legendary broadcast commentator Bill Moyers spoke movingly about his childhood impressions of racism and inequality in his hometown, and how that had inspired him to get into the news business. After more than four decades with PBS, not to mention 35 Emmys, he is still hard at work on a weekly series, Moyers & Company.
In fact, none of these honorees—who have chalked up more than 350 years of journalism experience between them—show any signs of letting up. Breslin told his Daily News colleagues that he would rather be home working on his next book. And why not?
We can’t wait to read and watch what they produce in the decades to come.
PHOTOS: Rick Maiman
Media Coverage of the 2013 New York Journalism Hall of Fame
The New York Post
Cindy Adams nails it at the Journalism Hall of Fame