Professor Matt Waite to be inducted into NPA Journalism Hall of Fame

Professor Matt Waite to be inducted into NPA Journalism Hall of Fame

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - 2:00pm
Matt Waite
Matt Waite

The Nebraska Press Association announced University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications alumnus and Professor of Practice Matt Waite is to be inducted into the Journalism Hall of Fame.

“Matt Waite is an invaluable member of our faculty at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications and more than deserving of this prestigious award,” said Maria Marron, dean of the college. “Matt’s work with data and drone journalism keeps our students on the forefront of emerging media.”

Before joining the CoJMC faculty, Waite was an award-winning reporter and programmer. Waite was the principal developer of Politifact, a website that fact checks what politicians say, which became the first website to win a Pulitzer Prize in 2009. Before becoming a web developer, he was an award-winning investigative reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and St. Petersburg Times. In 2009, he co-founded Hot Type Consulting, a company that builds applications for media outlets.

At the CoJMC, Waite founded the UNL Drone Journalism Lab in 2011, the first drone journalism lab in the country. Under his direction, the lab has been on the forefront of the changing regulations for drones in the United States.

In September, Waite obtained a manned-aircraft pilot’s license so the lab can obtain federal permission to fly drones outside again. The lab is now waiting on the FAA’s approval of its application.

“It’s truly an honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and I hope to be able to continue to add to the tradition of great journalism here in Nebraska,” Waite said. “I know and deeply respect several members of the hall, and it’s humbling to be in the same group.”

The Hall of Fame was founded in 1973 by Jack Lowe, a long-time editor and co-publisher of the Sidney Telegraph. It honors journalists who have distinguished themselves in print journalism. The project is sponsored in part by the Jack Lowe Community Journalism Fund at the UNL CoJMC. Since the Hall of Fame began, 100 journalists have been inducted.

Three additional journalists are being honored alongside Waite: Sharron Hollen of North Platte, who worked as a reporter at the North Platte Register for 48 years; G. Woodson “Woody” Howe of Omaha, whose career at the Omaha World-Herald spanned 36 years; and J.P. O’Furley of Hartington will be posthumously inducted for his nearly 20-year career as a reporter and manager in Ohio before purchasing the Cedar Co. News and building it into a profitable, prestigious newspaper.

The Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremonies will be held Friday, Oct. 21 at the Nebraska Club in Lincoln. The event is sponsored by the Nebraska Press Association and the UNL CoJMC.