Stevens named to Hall of Fame

Paul Stevens was one of three journalists inducted into the 2013 class at the Kansas Press Association’s 150th annual convention in Topeka, Kan.

Stevens, a native of Excelsior Springs, Mo., who grew up in Fort Dodge, Stevens earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and eventually adopted Kansas as his home state. He and wife Linda have lived in Lenexa for 28 years and are parents to three children and grandparents to four.

Following his induction, Stevens wrote, “Of the seven jobs I had in my 36 years with the AP, being Kansas City chief of bureau was my favorite, overseeing AP operations in Kansas and Missouri, and it is a wonderful honor that those AP members elected to make to be the only person who’s a member of both states’ Newspaper Halls of Fame.”

Stevens began his AP career in 1973 in Albany, N.Y., transferred to St. Louis a year later and then to Wichita in 1976.

He became Albuquerque bureau chief in 1979, but his goal was to return to Kansas City, where he was named chief of bureau in 1984.

While in Wichita, he covered the first of the BTK killings, a sniper attack from the 26th floor of a downtown hotel and demonstrations of the American Agricultural Movement.

He retired as vice president/Central Region.

At the induction, Stevens said his acceptance speech, “focused on the contributions my dad, Fort Dodge Messenger editor emeritus Walter Stevens, made to my career, including the letter he wrote me on advice to a new bureau chief when I got my first bureau in 1979 and which I still have. Of course, I led off with the Grumpy Old Editor story – on when I once interviewed a former UPI Iowa bureau manager for an AP job in KC and asked him if he knew anyone in Fort Dodge, and he replied, ‘Oh yeah, they had a grumpy old editor there who didn’t like anything we did.’

“I mentioned that dad’s advice did not cover hitting deer, which I did twice on AP road trips, or staying in small-town motels that offered a heart-shaped hot tub in the honeymoon suite or had a sign above the bathroom mirror requiring a $15 additional charge for cleaning birds in the sink.”

Stevens said his father “is doing well at 96 but couldn’t join us, but I said, as the song goes, ‘his blood flows through my instrument and his song is in my soul.’ And that song was in my soul. It was a very special night.”