This year's local inductees into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame include Associated
Press Bureau Chief Dorothy Abernathy; Steve Bassett, senior vice president and group creative director at The Martin Agency; and Richmond Times-Dispatch President and Publisher Tom Silvestri.
Abernathy in 1996 founded the Virginia Coalition for Open Government. "Access to government still varies a great deal from one locale to the next depending on local officials' attitude toward the Freedom of Information Act," Abernathy says.
The Martin Agency's Bassett explains, "I was always lousy at sports, so being inducted into a Hall of Fame is very cool to me." Automobile insurer GEICO is a primary client. "I don't know if personally knowing the Gecko is reason enough for me to receive the award, but I'll just say that I have been very fortunate to be working with the GEICO team at Martin for many years."
Silvestri remembers reporters smoking in the newsroom, pneumatic tubes to deliver page proofs and Finnegan Begin Again's set designer exclaiming of the Times-Dispatch newsroom, "This is perfect! What a dump!" On a more serious note, "I've always been appreciative of people who came before me, some of whom were personal mentors, some of who are in that hall of fame."
Tickets to the April 11 ceremony are $100, available online at support.vcu.edu/Event/HallofFameTickets . —HK