LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Former WAVE-TV news anchor Jackie Hays was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame Tuesday during a ceremony in Lexington.
Hays, who spent nearly 22 years covering and anchoring the news at WAVE-TV said she was humbled by the honor.
She began her journalism career at WPSD-TV in Paducah, Kentucky, shortly after graduating from Murray State University. She later anchored the news at WHAS-TV in Louisville, before taking a job at KYW-TV, the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia, where she said she soon discovered "the same rules of journalism work regardless of if you are in Paducah, Louisville or Philadelphia."
After a couple of years, she left the big city and returned to Louisville, where she began her stint as anchor at WAVE. Reflecting on her time in Philly, Hays said, "Bigger is not better, it's just bigger."
During the ceremony, Hays shared some of her most memorable and occasionally humorous moments as a reporter, including a visit to the White House where she attended a luncheon and was seated next to President Ronald Reagan.
"I was scared to death, with sixteen forks, knives and spoons, that I was going to use the wrong fork, because Mama never taught me that stuff. But I just watched what he (Reagan) did and followed suit. Until he spilled his soup and I thought 'I'll stop right there."
Hays said her years covering the news in Louisville was very enjoyable. "Fun was twenty five Kentucky Derbys, where you don't just see and hear the horses, you feel them in your chest."
She also said one of her most memorable reports occurred at Churchill Downs, when she and former jockey P.J. Cooksey took a lap around the track.
"I'll never forget a race on a thoroughbred beneath the twin spires of Churchill Downs with a helmet cam, so I could show the people at home just what it's like to do it."
Hays retired from WAVE TV in 2009. She now works with Norton Healthcare, using her journalism skills to write stories for the internet.
In addition to Hays, five other journalists were inducted into the Hall of Fame Tuesday; Bill Bartleman, former reporter with the Paducah Sun, western Kentucky newspaper executive Robert Carter, Albert Dix, former publisher of the Frankfort State Journal, Tom Loftus, reporter for the Courier Journal and Ed Shadburne, former broadcasting executive at WLKY-TV and WHAS-TV in Louisville.
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