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story.lead_photo.caption Photo courtesy of Tom Throne Tom Throne stands with a plaque commemorating his induction in to the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame.

After a decades-long career in the news business, former Vista editor Tom Throne is now in the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame.

"I'm very humbled," Throne said. "I'm not sure I'm deserving of it, but I'm very happy."

Typically, he said, two people will be inducted, though this year saw three inductees.

Throne started in newspapers in Aug. 1972, he said, as a photographer with the Junction City Daily Union in the central part of Kansas, near Fort Riley.

It didn't take long for the journalism bug to bite, he said.

"It really gets in your blood," Throne said. "It's different every day, every day was a new character."

He initially studied physical therapy in college, he said, but because it was a small program he was unable to get in and had to find a new major. Throne graduated from the University of Kansas in 1972 with a bachelor of science degree in photojournalism.

Throne said he's glad he worked in the news industry because the work matters -- in a lot of ways, he said, reporters are like local historians. When someone wants to know what happened in the past, decades from now, he said, they'll be digging through old newspapers.

"Newspapers are purveyors of history, we're the ones who chronicle what's going on," he said.

He was with the Daily City Union until December 1980 and, in the near-decade, he worked as a reporter, associate managing editor and editor.

From there, Throne worked in the Maryville Daily Forum's newsroom, managing staff and writing stories until May 1983.

Working at the Daily Forum put Throne in Nodaway County, covered the 1981 murder of Ken Rex McElroy, an unsolved killing that drew attention from across the nation.

McElroy, he explained, wasn't a popular member of the community.

"He was the town bully," Throne said.

McElroy was shot during a confrontation that flared up after he was released on bail for his latest misdeeds, Throne said, and details from witnesses were sparse at best.

"Never has been solved," he said. "Never will be solved."

In 1983, Throne said he got a call from a friend in McPherson, Kan., who was on his way out as managing editor of the McPherson Sentinel. He was encouraged to apply, he said, and he got the job handling a 5,500-circulation paper that ran six days a week.

The paper won several awards for local reporting, photography, feature writing and design during his tenure.

Throne was promoted to general manager in 1989, he said, and became the general manager for American Publishing Co., overseeing several papers in the area.

But it was time for a change, Throne said. In 1996, after nearly a decade with the Sentinel, he moved to work as a publisher at the Leavenworth Times. Nearly a decade later, in 2005 Throne started as a general manager at the Junction City Daily Union.

He came to Northwest Arkansas a few years later and, after a brief stint selling apparel at Men's Wearhouse, Throne became the managing editor of the Weekly Vista until January 2016.

"I just recently had my two-year retirement anniversary," Throne said.

Throne is retired in Bentonville, he said, and living with his wife, Pam Throne.

Despite retiring, he's still writing for the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank's newsletter and other things here and there.

He's very glad to get the award, he said, and he greatly appreciates the kind words from those who nominated him.

Throne came recommended from Kansas Press Association president Doug Anstaett, as well as Hallmark Integrated Media president Gene Hall and former McPherson Sentinel publisher Gary Mehl.

Anstaett wrote that he worked with Throne at The McPherson Sentinel, starting as a part-time staff writer. He wrote for several years before taking Throne's managing editor position once Throne was promoted in 1989, and this experience got him a job as a senior editor for Penn Lines, a 166,000-circulation monthly based in Pennsylvania.

"I owe Tom for my professional success, but I also count him among my circle of friends," Anstaett wrote.

The award, Throne said, is greatly appreciated, though he attributes it, in part, to being surrounded by good staff.

"I'm pretty proud of that, it's a nice honor," Throne said. "You look at the list of great newspapermen ... and now you're among these people and it's very humbling."

General News on 02/14/2018

Print Headline: Former Vista editor joins Kansas Hall of Fame

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