2024 North Carolina Media and Journalism Hall of Fame

ORANGE SLICES

By Laurie Paolicelli

2024 UNC Hussman School Hall of Famers: Skip Foreman, Ami Vitale, J.J. Carter, Jim Goodmon and Capitol Broadcasting, and Melanie Sills.

This past March 19th, a packed crowd of more than three hundred people, most connected to the Hussman School of Journalism – or “J School – gathered at the Carolina Inn for the 2024 North Carolina Media and Journalism Hall of Fame gala.

The Hall of Fame gives the J School the opportunity to honor those graduates who ignite the public conversations that define our culture, drive our economy, and underpin our democracy.

The event was a reminder that some of our greatest storytellers hail from UNC. And one day, not that long ago, they were just like most of the kids on campus today, dining at Sutton’s, hanging out on Franklin Street and, most likely, enjoying a beer or two at a Rosemary Street dive bar.

The J School’s mission is to train journalists to change the world. These are the people and organizations who are doing just that.

Capitol Broadcasting Company has been an abiding presence on the media landscape for three quarters of a century and as such has been the starting point for how we understand the past, present and future of modern media in North Carolina and beyond. It’s difficult to imagine what media and journalism in North Carolina would look like without Jim Goodmon and Capitol Broadcasting.

J. J. Carter.

J.J. Carter became immersed in the slipstream of the sports-rich culture at UNC from his first days on campus. He was a member of the men’s crew club team as a freshman, later a varsity fencer and a devotee of UNC basketball, discovering early on that his journalistic sports-centric passions were not too far afield from life as he was living; he has been in that universe ever since. Today, J.J. is Global Chief Operating Officer at Fleishman Hillard, and is recognized as a leader in the PR industry. 

Longtime friends Skip Foreman and Ron Stutts, former Host on WCHL Radio.

No one could make up Skip Foreman. As an 8-year-old, no matter how beautiful a summer’s day it was, he would leave the playground by 6:30 pm, just to get home in time to watch Walter Cronkite give the news. As a 12-year-old, he read the New York Times and the News & Observer. After learning the industry at WCHL he spent 43 years with the Associated Press as a writer and an editor who focused on everything under the sun: government, weather, politics, and crime. In 2013, he was appointed to the AP’s Race and Ethnicity Team, a position that led him to cover the deaths of Black men at the hands of police in Ferguson, Baltimore, and Minneapolis.

“I first met Skip Foreman in 1977 when he came to work at WCHL, says local radio personality, Ron Stutts. “We soon became close and have remained so over the years. Skip and I worked together covering Carolina Football, but since that time, he has expanded his focus as a reporter and a writer, to establish his reputation as a legendary figure in North Carolina journalism. In addition to his talent and experience, Skip is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and he will always be one of my very best friends! It’s only logical that he’s now in the Journalism Hall of Fame.”

Melanie Sill’s goal from the beginning of her career has been to find the truth and share it with everyone, especially the people of North Carolina. “Boss Hog,” an investigative series about the hog industry in North Carolina, won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service. In 2006, the N&O and the Charlotte Observer hired author Timonthy Tyson to help produce a special report on the 1898 coup and massacre of Black residents in Wilmington, including the role of publisher Josephus Daniels in those events. A special section, “The Ghosts of 1898” appeared in newspapers statewide. It is used in schools to this day.

Ami Vitale is a National Geographic photographer, writer, filmmaker and instructor. She dressed like a panda to snap candids of bears in the wild.

https://www.amivitale.com/2016/09/how-do-you-get-close-to-a-panda

Ami Vitale has been named one of the most influential conservation photographers of her generation. She has won the prestigious Lucie Humanitarian Award, and was named — alongside Jane Goodall, Christiane Amanpour and Ruth Bader Ginsburg — as one of 50 Bad Ass Women, celebrating women who show up, speak up, and get things done. She is also the author of Panda Love, a best-selling book about the secret lives of pandas. Who knew pandas even had secrets? Ami did.

Greg Johnson, UNC Hussman Foundation Board President with The late Eric Montross’ children, Andrew and Sarah Montross, middle with David Crabtree, former television news anchor, and television executive.

Eric Montross came to Chapel Hill from Indiana in 1990 as a basketball player. But by the time the course of his too-short life was run, he had changed countless lives. He was a husband and father, an ardent supporter of the Lineberger Cancer Center, and for eighteen seasons an analyst and commentator on the Tar Heel Sports Network. In every way imaginable, Eric Montross was larger than life. As fiercely competitive as he once was on the court, the story of Eric Montross’ life is one of kindness and compassion, of helping others, especially the youngest among us. He was indefatigable, kind, authentic, and the model of a good man. He found joy in everything he did.

The University of North Carolina has long been a launching pad for illustrious careers, individuals who rise to the top of their professions by dint of their indefatigable will and hard work. But all of them owe a debt to UNC, a debt they celebrate and honor. They wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame without it.

Photos of award winners by Megan Kerns Foote-Hudson.

Laurie Paolicelli and Orange County Commissioner, Sally Greene, joined 300 local guests and fans of the UNC Hussman School’s Journalism program.


Laurie Paolicelli is executive director for the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau, a position she has held since 2005. Laurie has worked in tourism and marketing for twenty-five years, having served in leadership roles in Houston and California convention and visitor bureaus. She is a native of the Twin Ports of Duluth, MN/Superior Wisconsin. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Communications from the University Wisconsin-Superior and graduate certification in Technology In Marketing from the UNC-Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media.
This reporter can be reached at Info@TheLocalReporter.press

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