About the State Historical Society > News > 2011

State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release April 8, 2011

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

Tribute to legendary broadcaster Jack Shelley set for April 29

(DES MOINES) – The State Historical Building will host a special event this month about the life and work of Jack Shelley, one of the most influential news broadcasters in Iowa history.

“A Tribute to Jack Shelley” will be at 7:30 p.m. April 29, 2011, at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. The event is free and open to the public, and will feature historic broadcasts of Shelley on WHO radio and television, as well as excerpts from interviews he gave about his career. Several speakers will also discuss his impact on Iowa broadcasting.

“Jack Shelley was respected nationally for his clear and concise reporting, his dedication to the craft of journalism, and a deep caring for his audience,” said Jeff Stein, Archives of Iowa Broadcasting administrator and State Historical Society of Iowa board member. “He truly shaped what broadcast news would become in Iowa and the nation.”

A fixture on WHO Radio for three decades, Shelley (1912-2010) contributed to the founding of the Iowa Broadcast News Association, which honored him in 1972 by establishing the Jack Shelley Award for lifetime achievement in broadcast journalism. He was co-founder and former president of the international Radio-Television News Directors Association (now the Radio Television Digital News Association), and former president of the Associated Press Radio and Television Association.

He was president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council in 1981 and a member of an advisory committee appointed by the Iowa Supreme Court on the use of cameras and tape recorders in trials. In 1980, he received the Broadcaster of the Year award from the Iowa Broadcasters Association.

Shelley began on WHO Radio in 1935, and founded the WHO-TV news department when the station went on the air in 1954. He taught broadcast journalism at Iowa State University for 17 years before retiring in 1982.

SHSI, IBNA, Archives of Iowa Broadcasting and WHO Radio in Des Moines are sponsors of the event. A DVD – “Jack Shelley: History’s Recorder in His Own Words” – will be available for purchase at the event. The DVD includes multiple broadcasts and interviews from Shelley’s career. Proceeds from the sale of the DVD benefit the Archives of Iowa Broadcasting.


The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a trustee of Iowa’s historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa’s past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa’s historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.


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