Journalism Scholarship Named For Henderson

 November 8, 1998 | Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN)

 | Page: B1 | Section: B1
430 Words | Readability: Lexile: 1270, grade level(s): 11-12

In the 1920s, newspaper editor Stanley Walker said, "When a good newspaper man dies, a lot of people are sorry, and some of them remember him for several days." Today, professional journalists in Chattanooga want to continue the legacy of Van Henderson, a veteran Free Press reporter who died Sept. 27 in a drowning accident. The executive board of the Chattanooga Press Association (CPA) last week unanimously decided to name a scholarship in memory of Mr. Henderson, who was instrumental in establishing the organization and co-founder of the Society of Environmental Journalists. The Richard Van Henderson Memorial Scholarship will help aspiring journalists to follow in his footsteps, CPA board members say. It will be awarded to area rising college juniors or seniors next spring. Students in print journalism are invited to submit clippings or other materials along with an essay about why they are choosing journalism as a career. Broadcast majors are also invited to enter the scholarship competition. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 15. The CPA is also considering setting up an endowment for the memorial scholarship. Already, a childhood friend and media professional has pledged to contribute $500 for the next five years. "It seems like a lot of people want to keep Van's journalistic legacy alive, and that makes me feel really proud," said Mr. Henderson's wife, Nancy, also a writer. "As self-effacing as he was, as shy as he was about taking credit for things, I think he is probably up there grinning with that perfect-teeth smile of his." Mr. Henderson was a staff writer in the news department since 1983 and had been also a copy editor for a brief period in the 1970s. A prolific writer, he was equally adept at gathering information hurriedly for a breaking news story, covering a meeting or writing a feature story, where his gift for turning a creative phrase or profiling someone in a colorful style of prose was especially evident. "Van Henderson was highly respected among his peers and all who were fortunate enough to cross paths with him in a professional and personal capacity," said Landon Howard, CPA secretary. CPA vice president Ron Smith said the scholarship is "a very appropriate tribute" to Mr. Henderson. "He was well thought of in the press association and this annual award will help us keep him in our hearts and minds for years to come." Added Steve Hunsicker, treasurer: "What better way to remember a friend like Van than by helping someone who wants to follow in his footsteps. I encourage everyone to contribute to this fund." Contributions may be sent to the Chattanooga Press Association, c/o Richard Van Henderson Memorial Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 11281, Chattanooga, TN 37401.

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