Denis O'Hayer, Charlayne Hunter-Gault honored by Atlanta Press Club

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Saturday, November 7, 2015

Four journalists with Atlanta ties were inducted into the Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame earlier this month at the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead. Their collective experiences span the past five decades.

The are a veteran radio/TV reporter of 35-plus years; a UGA grad who worked at CNN, the New York Times and PBS; an Associated Press political writer who covered seven Georgia governors; and a Pulitzer-Prize winning editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Denis O'Hayer was his usual modest self at the dais after his induction into the Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame dinner held at the InterContinental in Buckhead November 5, 2015. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/

Denis O'Hayer has been in the media business in Atlanta since 1978. He started as a TV host at PBA 30 and a radio host on 640/WGST-AM, where he had a variety of roles for 19 years. He also did work at CNN and GPB.

He also covered local affairs, politics and government for 11 years as a political reporter and public affairs program host for 11 Alive before joining WABE in 2009, where he was the local host for "All Things Considered" and "Marketplace." He spent this year as co-host of "A Closer Look" in the early afternoons.

Earlier this month, he moved to local host of "Morning Edition."

In his induction speech, O'Hayer was self effacing and modest, as befitting his personality, crediting the other winners before talking about himself. "They did work that took real courage or great persistence or until the truth came out. They all showed us how it's done," he said.

He noted how challenging journalism is today but said it can still be a "joyous" life. He said young students now will only succeed through older mentors.  "I'm only here because so many people did that for me," he said.

O'Hayer's dedication video that was shown at the dinner:

Charlayne Hunter-Gault was one of the first African-American students at the University of Georgia in the early 1960s and went on to an illustrious journalistic career.

She worked as a local news anchor at NBC, a New York Times reporter and a reporter at PBS for "The MacNeil/Lehrer Report" and "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer." She also was a chief correspondent for National Public Radio, then CNN. She continues to do work for PBS News Hour.

"It was here in Atlanta that my dream of following in the footsteps of Brenda Starr became reality," said the Emmy-winning broadcaster on the dais. "That early on experience has taken me from Atlanta and Athens to the rest of the world."

Charlayne Hunter-Gault video:

Hank Klibanoff was introduced by his "Race Beat" coauthor and former colleague Gene Roberts. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/

Hank Klibanoff, who won a 2007 Pulitzer Prize for his book "The Race Beat" about journalism during the civil rights turmoil, has spent the last few years teaching at Emory University.

Klibanoff, an Alabama native, worked at the Boston Globe and the Philadelphia Inquirer before becoming the news managing editor for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for six years through 2008.

"This award I don't see as a culmination of my life. I see it as an incentive to just do more, to keep going and going and going," he said.

Here's his dedication video:

Dick Pettys, who passed in 2012 at age 66, was a political reporter for the Associated Press for 35 years. He was considered the "dean" of the Capitol press corps.

Dick Pettys' video:

DISCLOSURE: I am a board member of the Atlanta Press Club.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.