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Rob Braun, Polly Campbell headed into Cincinnati Journalism Hall of Fame

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Former WKRC-TV news anchor Rob Braun and retired Cincinnati Enquirer restaurant critic Polly Campbell are among the five journalists to be inducted into the Greater Cincinnati Journalism Hall of Fame by the Society of Professional Journalists Greater Cincinnati Pro Chapter on June 23.

Sportswriter/author Lonnie Wheeler, who died in 2020, also will be inducted posthumously along with former WCPO-TV meteorologist Sherry Hughes and former Enquirer photographer Gary Landers.

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Braun, son of longtime Cincinnati TV personality Bob Braun, anchored WKRC-TV newscasts for nearly 35 years. He left the station in 2019 with two week’s notice, at the end of his contract, in a very public disagreement in TV news philosophy with the owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group. He later told WVXU listeners that Sinclair’s ways were “hard to swallow,” and anchors felt like “puppets” reading a Sinclair-mandated news commentary.

When Nick Clooney left Channel 12 in 1989, Braun was named main co-anchor. His newscasts of him with meteorologist Tim Hedrick, and co-anchors Kit Andrews and Cammy Dierking, were No. 1 in the evening news ratings for decades.

After leaving TV news, Braun and his wife Jennifer sold their Madeira home and moved to a Falmouth-area cattle farm they had owned for 20 years. With their son Robert, they also grow vegetables sold under the “Braun Family Farm” label on a second tract in Pendleton County. Photographer Ronny Salerno and I spent a day with him last year to write “Rob Braun Loving Life Down On The Farm.”

Campbell, after 24 years writing for the Enquirer, retired two years ago by telling readers, “I think I’ve eaten enough.” She was one of the most influential—if not the most influential — person on the Greater Cincinnati food scene since her hiring in 1996. More than anyone, she chronicled the Vine Street restaurant explosion which fueled the revival of Over-the-Rhine.

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After leaving the Enquirer she published a book, Cincinnati Food: A History of Queen City Cuisine. She writes a monthly column for Movers & Makers magazine.

Hughes, diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019, left WCPO-TV after 10 years last November, telling viewers that she wanted to “continue the work I’ve been doing around women’s health, breast cancer awareness, education and advocacy. God has ordered my steps and I’m walking in my purpose.”

In January, she joined Cincinnati Cancer Advisors as director of strategic community engagement and spokesperson.

Landers was an Enquirer photographer from 1987 until 2014. He’s now a freelancer multimedia and journalist operates Landers Digital Media LLC.

His photos have appeared in Sports Illustrated, the Miami Herald, the Kansas City Star, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Wheeler, a Cincinnati sportswriter who wrote books with baseball greats Hank Aaron, Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson, died in 2020 at 68 after a long battle with muscular dystrophy.

He had worked at the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Cincinnati Post and USA TODAY before publishing two books in 1988, The Cincinnati Gamea Reds history with John Baskin, and Bleachers: A Summer In Wrigley Field.

His 1992 collaboration with home run king Aaron, I Had A Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story, opened the door to writing three books with Gibson, the Hall of Fame St. Louis Cardinals pitcher: Stranger To The Game: The Autobiography of Bob Gibson; Pitch By Pitch: My Views Of One Unforgettable Game; and Six Feet, Six Inches with Gibson and Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.

The Hall of Fame ceremony will be held during the annual Excellence in Journalism contest awards presentation 6-8:30 pm Thursday, June 23, at the offices of Graydon Head & Ritchey, 312 Walnut St., Downtown.

From the release:

The ceremony will be June 23, 2022, at the Graydon law office Client Connection Center in the Scripps Center, 18th Floor, 312 Walnut St., Downtown. Tickets are $35 a person and are limited due to space restrictions. Registration can be made through Eventbrite.

Early Bird/Regular Priced Tickets may be purchased until midnight on June 16 for $35 each. (Plus applicable Eventbrite fees; includes hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Guests may also bring a check with them at the door.)

If available, tickets may be purchased after June 17 for $40 each. (Plus applicable Eventbrite fees; includes hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Guests may also bring a check with them at the door.)

Make all checks payable to “Society of Professional Journalists.”

Seating is limited. First come, first served.

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