From ‘The Times’s Hall of Fame’ cover story of 1999

From Keith Kelly and David Carr in 1998:

WSJ: The Times’s Hall of Fame skips its own reporters. We don’t have any former reporters in the Hall of Fame. Does The Times feel like it’s missing out on some sort of prestige?

Ms. Gillmor: I think that the idea is to have some recognition of the greatest individual achievements in journalism — things that are maybe more difficult to recognize on an individual basis, where someone works for a corporation or a university. I think journalism in general does have that kind of gravitas. I also think that you’re going to have people who are eventually elected to the Hall of Fame who are reporters. And yet, it’s not about journalists. It’s a group who’ve contributed to a much larger field. So there’s also kind of a virtue of inclusion to have diversity. It’s like having an African-American [Woodrow] Wilson in the park. But you can’t look up the first time and say, “Oh, this is still a white park.”

WSJ: The NFL [adjusted its own criteria so that] a pool of only former athletes who are eligible for the Hall of Fame in their particular field would be eligible. And I guess it’s partially a business decision, because you have to have someone for “show.”

Ms. Gillmor: I think if you’re really looking for people who contributed to journalism over a long period of time, it’s maybe not good for that to be decided by somebody who works in a business. One good argument might be: You know, the NFL doesn’t have anymore coaches or players. Are there so many employees at the NFL headquarters that they should be getting votes? But the political process has gone, and there’s this section of people who have worked in journalism. You can’t really legislate geography.

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