Five alumni inducted into Journalism Hall of Fame

Journalism Hall of Fame inductees, from left to right, Tony Cervone, Kenneth Gal, Young Journalist of the Year David Harris, Colleen Newvine Tebeau, Steve Fecht and Jim Harger pose for a picture on Nov. 4 in the Courtyard Mariott.

Five Central Michigan University alumni have been inducted into the Journalism Hall of Fame, including the founder of the @APStylebook Twitter handle and the marketer behind Taco Bell's 1988 "Make a run for the border" marketing campaign. 

The induction ceremony was held Nov. 4 at the Courtyard Marriott at CMU. Director of student publications David Clark served as master of ceremonies.

Tony Cervone, senior vice president of global communications at General Motors Company, was the first inductee honored. Cervone's 30-year career includes executive roles at Chrysler, Volkswagen and United Airlines, along with being recognized on PR Week's 2016 Power List. 

"(The award) was overwhelming and humbling," Cervone said. "The most important things I took from Central were how to continually challenge yourself when it comes to learning about what's going on in the world around you. I tell me staff all the time, 'stay hungry to learn, because learning all the time is the most important thing you can do.'"

Photographer for the news photo bureau at General Motors Steve Fecht was also inducted. Fecht has more than 25 years of experience as a photojournalist, photo editor and photo director, including many years at The Detroit News.

"I had the benefit of working with an incredible group of people when I was going to CMU and working at CM Life," Fecht said. "To be part of (the Hall of Fame) now is just wonderful."

CEO of Shiny Objects Marketing Inc. Kenneth Gal was recognized for his long career in advertising and marketing. After graduating from CMU in 1978, Gal has worked in the marketing departments for many companies, including  Pepsi, Disney and KFC. In 1988, Gal spearheaded Taco Bell's "Make a run for the border" marketing campaign, as well as the decision to lower the cost of tacos to 59 cents.

Gal said being honored was flattering, and it is nice to realize that people recognize and respect your work.

Jim Harger of The Grand Rapids Press and MLIVE Media Group, was recognized for his more than 40-year career as a reporter. Throughout his career, Harger has worked at publications such as the Holland Sentinel, Mount Pleasant Daily Times (later The Morning Sun) and Panax Newspapers.

"When I arrived (at CMU) as this farm boy from West Michigan, I didn't know anything about newspaper other than that I read them," Harger said. "In two years they had turned me into a competent journalist. They do that with everyone - they take farm boys, homecoming queens and social outcasts, and they teach them this trade."

The final inductee of the night was Colleen Newvine-Tebeau, product manager for the AP Stylebook and creator of the @APStylebook Twitter account. Graduating from CMU in 1992, Newvine-Tebeau has worked as a reporter and editor for a variety of publications, including Alpena News, South Lyon Herald, the Livingston County Press, Insider Business Journal and The Ann Arbor News before joining the Associated Press in 2006.

Newvine-Tebeau said she feels overwhelmed by the honor of being a Hall of Fame member, and she is grateful for CMU for teaching her the value of teamwork.

"It's been valuable ever since (graduating)," Newvine-Tebeau said. "I know that if I have a question, or if I need to rely on my CM Life network, I can still call on them the same way I could many years ago in the basement of Anspach."

Class of 2008 graduate and former Central Michigan Life editor-in-chief David Harris was named the 2017 Young Journalist of the Year. Harris began working as a crime reporter for The Flint Journal in the summer of 2010. Beginning his first week on the job, Harris was tasked with covering the hunt, capture and trial of serial killer Elias Abuelazam. 

Harris moved to Orlando, Florida in 2014, where he continues to work as a reporter for The Orlando Sentinel. The paper's coverage of the June 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub made the staff finalists in the Breaking News Reporting category for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize.

Harris said being named Young Journalist of the Year is a great honor, and being among the night's other inductees was an inspiring experience. 

"CMU is such a great place to network and start your career," Harris said. "I started out knowing nothing about journalism. Due to my time at CMU I was able to learn how to be a journalist, and now 15 years later I'm a Pulitzer finalist -- that's something I never would have thought possible, and it's all thanks to CMU."