Former WXYZ-TV (Detroit) reporter Mary Conway and WWJ-AM (Detroit) reporter Vickie Thomas and former “Off the Record” panelist Kathy Barks Hoffman were among seven news professionals inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame during a special ceremony at Michigan State University in East Lansing on April 14.
Mary Conway spent 29 years at WXYZ reporting on local and national stories including Nelson Mandela’s visit to Detroit, the bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler and the elevation of Cardinal Adam Maida in Rome. During her career, she covered every U.S. president from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked as a reporter at WIFR in Rockford, Illinois, before joining WZZM in Grand Rapids as an anchor and reporter. Three years later she joined WXYZ and became the station’s primary automotive reporter – one of only a few women in a male-dominated field. Conway developed her passion for cars at an early age, learning from her father, who ran a gas station not far from where she grew up in Janesville, Wisconsin. Her passion and knowledge of the industry led her to become one of the top automotive reporters in the city and the country.
“We are so proud of Mary Conway and this well-deserved honor,” said Mike Murri, WXYZ and WMYD vice president and general manager. “Mary was an incredible reporter whose work earned her the trust of top automotive executives and praise from both her colleagues and viewers.”
Vickie Thomas is the City Beat Reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950. She attended Michigan State University and graduated cum laude from Wayne State University. Since joining WWJ Newsradio 950 in 1991, she has earned from the Detroit Press Foundation, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, the Michigan Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists. She also has received the national “Gabriel Award” from UNDA-USA for the WWJ Black History Month Series “The African-American Church: The Heart and Soul of Metro Detroit’s Black Community”. Thomas is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, and started a scholarship and internship program for college students interested in the field of broadcast news, while serving as vice president of the local chapter. She also sits on the boards of the Midwest Aids Prevention Project (MAPP) and CASA Maria Family Services.
“For more than 25 years, Vickie Thomas has been informing our listeners on major stories that impact our community in and around Detroit,” Entercom Detroit SVP/Market Manager Debbie Kenyon said. “Vickie is an incredible journalist who isn’t afraid to pose tough questions to city leaders and other officials to report a fair and accurate story. She is well deserving of this honor and we are extremely proud to have Vickie inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.”
Kathy Barks Hoffman currently is Vice President with PR firm Martin Waymire. She was formerly the head of AP’s Lansing Bureau and was a reporter for The Detroit News and Lansing State Journal. She also spent many years as a panelist on public television’s “Off the Record” public affairs program. Before joining Martin Waymire, Kathy was a director in the Public Affairs Practice of Lambert, Edwards and Associates in Lansing.
In a Twitter post, Hoffman said, “I’m so honored to have been accepted this year, and to be among so many other great journalists who will be inducted this year.”
Other 2019 Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame inductees included former Lansing State Journal reporter/columnist John Schneider, former Automotive News Publisher/Editor Peter Brown, former Detroit Free Press photographer Mary Schroeder and the late Detroit Free Press restaurant critic Sylvia Rector.