Valley Press Club
Springfield, MA
F0unded 1960








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History

Valley Press Club Beginnings

The idea of a press club for the Springfield area was born in 1960 at an informal meeting between Carroll Robbins, John Deegan, Amico Barone and a handful of others. They felt that professional news people, in both the print and electronic media, should have a central place to meet socially and relax. They also outlined other purposes of the club: to improve the standards of the working reporter and to promote the best ideals of journalism. 

After discussion with other charter members, Amico Barone wrote to the National Press Club in Washington, DC for a copy of their bylaws. Even though it has been amended from time to time, our present constitution drawn in 1961 is still basically a copy of the National Press Club’s.

The Valley Press Club came into existence, and Amico Barone, Jr. served as chairman pro-tem until John Deegan was elected president. It was on May 7, 1962 that the Club was incorporated as a nonprofit.



        
   John Deegan                                 Barbara Bernard

 
  Bill Putnam


Former Presidents of the Valley Press Club.
1961         Amico Barone, Chairman, Pro-Tem     

1961-62  John Deegan

1962-63  Carroll Robbins
1963-64  Earl Merill

1964-66  Ed Kennedy

1966-67  Steve Pappas

1967-68  Ed Malley

1968-69  James Donahue

1969-70  Frank Usin
1970-72  Kitty Broman

1972-73  Saxton Fletcher

1973-74  Durham Caldwell                         

1974-75  Keith Silver
1976-78  Bob McClellan
1978-81  Ann Haggerty      

1981-83  Vin D’Addario                                                 
1983-85  Frank Faulkner                                                                                                                    
1985-86   Cynthia Simison
1986-88  Carol Malley                        

1988-90  Susannah Pugh Russell
1990-93   Charlie Bennett
1993-95  Trudy Tynan                                                                                                 

1995-96  Nancy Piccin
1996-98  Jim Madigan                                   
1998-01  Trudy Tynan
2001-05  Marla Goldberg
2005-08  Peter Goonan  
2008-      Charlie Bennett

                                                                                                             

The Club’s first headquarters was established at the Stonehaven Hotel (then the Sheraton Motor Inn) on  Chestnut Street, but from the beginning it was felt that the space was too small and a committee was formed to find new quarters.                                                                                                                                        
                                                                      
1964
April, 1964,  Maurice A. Donahue of Holyoke, then Speaker of the Commonwealth’s Senate, would be the guest of honor and speaker at a VPC luncheon. This was the first record of such luncheons which have since become important features of each year's programs. The first Scholarship Dance would take place the following month (May) with the proceeds going toward a $500 scholarship to be offered annually Club to a high school graduate who was interested in making a career in journalism.

Albert H. Jaffe, a high school student from Pittsfield, MA was 1964’s scholarship recipient.  He studied journalism at Emerson College.  Today, Mr. Jaffe is a senior executive with ESPN. In May, Brian King, chairman of the Membership Committee sent out letters to those who might be described as sources of news information, and invited them to become "associate members" of the Club. This established a practice which immediately  bolstered membership, and created interest within the organization.

In October, 1964, a three-year lease was signed with Kimball Towers for 800 square feet at $125 a month.   

In December 1964, the Club was addressed by Bishop Christopher J.Weldon. He spoke on the Ecumenical Congress which he attended. The year ended with an eggnog party at the new headquarters.

Meanwhile, a letter came from Albert Jaffe stating that he vas one of three freshmen appointed to the air staff of Emerson College's FM radio station, WERS. Club membership was reported at 178, and a membership drive was started.


1965

Edward M. Kennedy of Channel 22 became president during the fifth year. The  Club was now settled in a suite at the Kimball Towers. The furnishings included a television set, a bar, and a piano, besides the more traditional chairs, lounges, etc.   Larry O'Brien, the new Postmaster General of the United States, addressed the Valley Press Club at a luncheon on November 10, 1965.


1966
John Lederle, president of the University of Massachusetts, spoke at the March luncheon. Plans were announced for the fourth annual Scholarship Dinner Dance which was subsequently held on May 22 at the Shaker Farms Country Club in Westfield.


On June 29, Shirley Jones, star of Oklahoma and more than a dozen other films,  presented the Club's 1966 scholarship award to Ann Haggerty, graduate of Cathedral High School, at a noon luncheon at Kimball Towers.                                                                                         
Bob McClellan, Barbara Bernard, Durham Caldwell, Keith Silver                                                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                
On July 26. 1966, Ed Carroll. owner of Riverside Park (associate member of the Club) invited members and their families to a day of free rides, free beer and barbecued chicken.


        


 








                        Keith Silver with former and current 22News colleagues in 2008 receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award 




Western Massachusetts lost a pioneer Friday, July 2, 2010 when longtime newsman Keith Silver passed away at the age of 80.  Beginning in 1956 when Keith Silver joined radio station WSPR, to his days as the News Director at Channel 22, Keith was loved and respected by his friends, colleagues, and even those of us who worked at the other news organizations in the area.

 

Keith began as a television news reporter at Channel 22 in 1964 and worked his way up to head of the news operation. With experience, respect, and humor, Keith guided the news department at WWLP-TV to unprecedented success.

 

In 2008 Keith Silver was honored by the Valley Press Club, with its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, for his many years of dedicated service to quality journalism in the Pioneer Valley.  Keith also served as a Board Member of the Valley Press Club for decades, helping to mentor young journalists and raise funds for journalism scholarships. 

"Those of us in the news business spend decades reporting on the passing of public figures, and we sometimes wonder how we'll be remembered when our time comes. Well today, those of us who knew Keith Silver are remembering an outstanding newsman, a respected colleague, and a wonderful friend. Old newsmen never die, they will always remain in our hearts and minds forever." 
                                              - Scott Coen / ABC40/Fox6



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                                                                                                                              Valley Press Club
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                                                                                                                              info@valleypressclub.com
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