Selma journalists Windham, Davis inducted into Hall of Honor

Published 6:54 pm Saturday, April 7, 2018

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

Two former Selma journalists were inducted into the Alabama Newspaper Hall of Honor Saturday at Auburn University.

The Hall of Honor, dedicated to keeping the legacies of key Alabama journalists alive, inducts two members every year. This year’s class consists of Kathryn Tucker Windham and Paul Davis.

“The Alabama Press Association is honored to gather with friends and family to honor these two remarkable journalists,” said Felicia Mason, executive director of the APA. “Kathryn Tucker Windham and Paul Davis had a unique talent for the written and spoken word that they used to help others from all walks of life. It was a passion they carried throughout their careers.”

Both worked for the Times-Journal at one point during their Careers. Windham worked there for 17 years beginning in 1956, and Davis served as editor for the paper. He also served as vice president and general manager for the Natchez (Miss.) Democrat.

Before her stint with the Times-Journal, Windham graduated from Huntingdon College and got her start at the Thomasville Times as a freelance writer. Soon after that, she started working as a police reporter for the Alabama Journal in Montgomery.

She is known nationally due to her success with writing books, specifically “13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey,” a story about the ghost that resided in her home during her time in Selma.

Other than her news reporting and storytelling, Windham is also known for her work with magazines, such as Progressive Farmer Magazine. She even had a stint as a publicity director for the Alabama War Bond Committee.

Her versatility was an asset for her, being able to write hard news, soft news, opinion pieces, fiction and non-fiction alike.

Not only was she a talented writer, but a skilled photographer as well, being honored by museums such as the Huntsville Museum of Art.

Her vast knowledge of a wide number of writing practices earned her high praise from a previous hall of honor nominee, Ed Williams, professor emeritus of journalism at Auburn University.

“Kathryn Tucker Windham was a dear personal friend and a friend to all of us in Alabama journalism,” Williams said. “She truly is one of Alabama’s treasures.”

Paul Davis grew up in Alberta and got his start in journalism at the Tuscaloosa News as a night shift reporter before working his way up to becoming associate editor.

Davis and his wife Gayle, purchased newspapers such as the Auburn Bulletin and The Tuskegee News.

Like Windham, Davis had an impact that reached beyond the typical news story. Davis had a huge influence in the mental health community in Alabama.

Growing up near the W.D. Developmental Center, Davis always had a special place in his heart for those who are differently-abled.

His journalistic work in the mental health community lead to a large political overhaul in Alabama and abroad regarding the treatment of patients with mental illnesses.

“His hard-nosed reporting garnered widespread attention and led to reform of mental institutions nationwide,” the Alabama Press Association said in a press release.

“He defended the people who could not defend themselves.”

Due to his successes in the field of journalism, the APA awarded him their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.

In order for individuals to qualify for induction into the Alabama Newspaper Hall of Honor, individuals must have significantly impacted their individual cities and communities, have been deceased for more than five years.