This year’s inductees of the Long Island Journalism Hall of Fame will be honored at the annual Press Club of Long Island Awards to be held on June 7 at Woodbury Country Club.
Let’s learn more about this year’s inductees …
Jimmy Breslin, Class of 2017
James Breslin was an American journalist and author. Until the time of his death, he wrote a column for the New York Daily News Sunday edition. He wrote numerous novels, and columns of his appeared regularly in various newspapers in his hometown of New York City. He served as a regular columnist for the Long Island newspaper Newsday until his retirement on November 2, 2004, though he still published occasional pieces for the paper.
He was known for his newspaper columns which offered a sympathetic viewpoint of the working-class people of New York City, and was awarded the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary “for columns which consistently champion ordinary citizens”.
Breslin began working for the Long Island Press as a copy boy in the 1940s. After leaving college, he became a columnist. His early columns were attributed to politicians and ordinary people that he chatted with in various watering holes near Queens Borough Hall. Breslin was a columnist for the New York Herald Tribune, the Daily News, the New York Journal American, Newsday, and other venues.
Among many important stories and reports he helped cover was the coverage of Son of Sam in 1977.
He also received a Polk Award for Metropolitan Reporting in 1985.
Carl Corry, Class of 2017
Carl Corry, who is being inducted to the PCLI Contributor’s Wing of the Hall of Fame, is a versatile freelance writer and editor with a passion for innovation. You can find him covering everything from food to real estate to Long Island history for outlets including Newsday and Long Island Pulse magazine.
He recently earned a master’s degree in communications, with a concentration in journalism innovation, from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Previously, he was the online editor for local and products at Newsday, executive producer of News 12 Interactive and editor of Long Island Business News. He also had a stint as editor of The Long Islander newspaper chain.
He has taught journalism at his alma mater, Stony Brook University, as well as at Hofstra University and LIU Post.
Corry is a board member of the Press Club of Long Island, previously serving three terms as its president, and he has held two stints on the national SPJ board. He has won numerous awards for writing, blogging and social media, and he received the SPJ Regional Director of the Year Award in 2005, as well as PCLI’s Phil Spahn Award. He is also a Long Island Business News 40 under 40 honoree.
Corry chairs the Martin Buskin Committee for Campus Journalism at Stony Brook, and he is a member of the Energeia Partnership, a regional stewardship group.
Helen Rattray, Class of 2017
Helen Rattray’s journalism career began in 1960 when she married The East Hampton Star’s young editor, Everett Rattray. A New Jersey girl, she had met Ev at Columbia University, where he was working on a journalism degree and she was studying for a master’s in education. She never taught school, but over the years helped many young people become excellent journalists.
In her early years at The Star, Ms. Rattray reported on almost every aspect of life in East Hampton. She helped her husband deliberate on its business practices and what went into the paper. When he died of cancer in January 1980, at the age of 47, she had the experience needed to become editor and publisher. She held the post for more than 20 years, at which time their eldest son, David E. Rattray, took over.
During her tenure, Ms. Rattray used her influence to help meld the year-round population with those who were considered “from away.” She straddled both worlds, having been well-grounded through her husband and mother-in-law, Jeannette Edwards Rattray, in what it meant to be a bona fide local while at the same time making friends with both influential locals like baymen and second-home owners from the literary and art worlds. She enjoyed the company of such boldface names as Betty Friedan, Larry Rivers, and E.L. Doctorow. Her political thinking, including her belief in equality regardless of religion, race, or ethnicity, had been engendered as a Jewish child growing up during World War II and, like her husband, she was comfortable at being considered a liberal.
In 1976, she began writing a weekly column (“Connections”), which continues uninterrupted in The Star to this day. In the 1980s, she instituted the first arts section among local weeklies. She brought in first-class columnists and guest writers on food, art, books, politics, fishing, and the environment. The paper continued to run every non-libelous letter to the editor it received, with the letters pages becoming a valuable community forum, which it is to this day. Readers from all walks of life have debated every imaginable issue there. She occasionally had to make the case for the First Amendment when letters were objectionable, and she was particularly proud of the editorials she and other members of the editorial staff wrote. Not only were they forthright on local issues but took on such national ones as the Persian Gulf War and genocide in Bosnia. She fought for preservation of the environment, and made the problems of minorities visible. She supported the area’s only shelter for the victims of domestic abuse. Her views were sometimes considered controversial, and she took that as a badge of honor.
Ms. Rattray was cited as one of the seven best female editors of weeklies by the International Society of Weekly Editors. She was profiled in magazines and newspapers. Among her priorities for The Star were adherence to proper English, the pursuit of objectivity in reporting, and concern for the rights and feelings of individuals.
In 1985, she celebrated The Star’s 100th anniversary with a prize-winning special section that described the growth of East Hampton through the newspaper’s eyes. The Star was started in 1885, before the railroad got to East Hampton.
Along the way, Ms. Rattray received numerous awards, including one from the East End Gay and Lesbian Organization and, in 1986, an honorary degree from the Southampton Campus of Long Island University. The citation said she continued to “inspire us all with intensity, perseverance, courage, and pursuit of editorial excellence.” Ben Bradlee, the editor of The Washington Post who had a summer house in East Hampton and was among the Star’s readers, once called The Star a “perfect paper.”
In 1995, Ms. Rattray and Christopher T. Cory were married. A veteran journalist, he had got his start at Time magazine and won a Knight Fellowship at Stanford. At the time of their marriage he was in academic public relations (Connecticut College, Long Island University, and Pace University).
To this day she continues to edit news, features, and editorials. She also has the responsibility for supplements on such subjects as architecture, gardens, and weddings. Before David Rattray became editor, she was likely to work a 50- or 60-hour week; she is relieved that these hours are now diminished, but when people assume she has retired, which they sometimes do, she dissuades them emphatically.