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Hail! A Hall of Famer

Thu, 06/13/2024 - 12:00

Editorial

The first time Jack Graves's byline appeared in The Star was on Oct. 12, 1967 — exactly 56 years, seven months, and 29 days ago, today. Tonight he will be inducted into the Long Island Journalism Hall of Fame by the Press Club of Long Island at an awards banquet in Woodbury.

In The Star that October day, he had a photo credit below a front-page image showing flames shooting into the sky at a firefighters' drill at the Air Force base in Montauk; inside was a news report on the torching of an old barracks that described it, with his typical humor, as "an arsonist's dream." Mr. Graves began his career at The Star as a general assignment reporter, covering everything from the waterfront to mayoral elections. 

It's not fashionable today to recognize journalists as pillars of the community, but that's exactly what Jack Graves is. It's cliché to describe a reporter as "intrepid," but no word is more fitting. For decades, especially once he became The Star's sports editor in the 1970s, Jack has served this community as one of its most dedicated and devoted public servants, attending thousands of athletic events with notebook in hand, taking seriously the achievements of scores upon scores of young people — and following them into adulthood when their achievements made news on the national stage.

Jack isn't the only unsung hero of the free press around here, either. There are several old-timers at The Star, and at the other surviving community newspapers in our region, who have given decades of their lives to ensuring that there was always someone holding local government officials to account, sitting through endless town, school, and zoning board meetings, covering hurricanes, car crashes, and scandals, as well as the boring budget debates that help to keep our community so well informed. When you consider the impact of the press on preservation, to give just one example, you will understand that the South Fork would look a lot different, quite literally, without them. The Jack Graves generation certainly didn't do it for the money. Or the thanks. 

But few have done it with his skill and poetry. Jack's writing, nearly 57 years later, still sings, charms, amuses, and entertains. He still is a stickler for getting the names and jersey numbers right. He truly cares, and that matters. Tonight, we raise a glass.

Let's all rise from our chairs. Let's all applaud. All hail, our own hall of famer.


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