James McGaffin, 1939

20th Tuesday, 2011  |   Hall of Fame  |  no comments

First Name: James

Last Name: McGaffin

Year Graduated: 1939

Biography: Longtime news director of radio station WOW and television station WOWT. He ended a 44-year broadcasting career as public affairs director of WOWT. The grandson of a Nebraska weekly newspaper editor, McGaffin turned to journalism at age 12 when he began publishing and selling a weekly newspaper, the West Omaha Star, in his Walnut Hill neighborhood. When he entered the University of Omaha in 1940, he estimated that the newspaper, printed on a hand press in his basement, had earned him more than $2,300 in 6 1/2 Depression years. As a part-time reporter for WOW, McGaffin was the only person on duty in the radio station's newsroom on Dec. 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He joined the Army the following July and served as a news writer for military radio stations broadcasting to American troops in North Africa and Europe. McGaffin returned to WOW in 1946 as a reporter. In 1950, he was promoted to news director of that station and its television affiliate, now WOWT. He became public affairs director for the stations in 1968. He also taught at Creighton University and edited the Legionnaire, the newspaper published by American Legion Post No. 1. He was co - chairman of the Douglas-Sarpy Counties News Election Pool. He was a former president of the Nebraska Association of Radio and Television News Directors and served three years as vice president of the National Radio and Television News Directors Association. He headed the Nebraska Broadcasters Association's Freedom of Information Committee and helped draft the Nebraska press-bar guidelines. He served in 1975 as chairman of the Nebraska Educational Television Commission. Creighton honored McGaffin with its Professional Journalism Achievement Award in 1968. The Nebraska Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, Society of Professional Journalists, named him its "Outstanding Nebraska Journalist" in 1973, and the University of Nebraska at Omaha gave him its Community Achievement Award in 1979. He was inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1980. Died in 1985.

Year Inducted: 1978

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