Back in 2019, the Journalism Education Association celebrated the tenure of Howard Spanogle as assistant editor of the organization’s flagship magazine. He started as copy editor in the summer of 2000 and subsequently worked on 77 issues.
Howard died June 3, 2022 after a short illness.
One of the first times I worked with Howard was back in, oh, around 1985. We were both on the faculty at the Texas Interscholastic League Press Conference summer workshop. The workshop was relatively new. So was I. I was fresh out of high school and Howard, at the time, was a very proper and seasoned adviser.
We were doing dinner in downtown Austin at some wonderful restaurant listening to tales from Terri Nelson and others.
The young waiter, was trying to serve this unruly bunch of advisers when his hand slipped and a bucket of ice water went tumbling down Howard’s back. I can still see Howard’s reaction in slow motion. Shock.
But, in true fashion, he cleaned up and simply wondered why his mean wasn’t comped by the restaurant.
That was Howard. Always proper. Always calm. Always in search of what was right.
But, Howard wouldn’t want to be remembered with just a bunch of words. His actions speak louder than any words could. Still, leaders in the scholastic media community had to share a few words.
- Bobby Hawthorne‘s thoughts: “Span the Man“
- Judy Babb: Just those of you who may not know. My dear friend Howard Spanogle died June 2. He lived wonderfully and shared so much. He and his wife Juanita have been an important part of my life since he came to Dallas to take over the newspaper at Highland Park in the late 1990s. I have taken a summer week with them for close to 20 years. I will continue to do so. Love you, Howard.
- Linda Puntney: When I first met Howard Spanogle he was a force to be reckoned with. It was at the post meeting of the Chicago convention, the first convention where I was the primary organizer. Everything that could go wrong did, and Howard noticed. He offered suggestions for avoiding such a disaster in the future. Although that meeting was painful, Howard’s suggestions were spot on. I, like so many others, learned much from him.
- His attention to detail and his propensity for excellence made him one of the best copy editors I have known. I smile knowing that he and Connie Fulkerson are sitting side by side editing and correcting heaven’s documents.
- He loved students, scholastic journalism, the English language and helping things be the best they could be. We all have benefited from his rigor. Because of his influence on C:JET and conventions we are better. He was a force to be reckoned with, but he is also a mentor and a friend who is fondly remembered.
- Ann Mutti Visser: What an icon! He contributed so much to scholastic journalism.
- Jane Blystone: Oh, Howard… He was a gem!
- Chad Rummel: What a legend!
- Barb Thill: This news is difficult to accept.
- Brenda W. Gorsuch: We all have fun stories about time spent with Howard. He was a force in scholastic journalism.
- Kate Merritt: How sad. Sorry to hear this.
- Sandy Hall Chiles: Loved Howard so much.
- Susan Hathaway Tantillo: Scholastic journalism icon in Illinois, Texas North Carolina and the nation. What a loss. He and Juanita could be seen at spring and fall JEA/NSPA conventions from coast to coast, teaching sessions, judging and planning gourmet dining experiences in the convention city. End of an era, indeed.
- Sally Renaud: I am so sorry to hear this. He was wonderful.
- Sarah Stanbro Ortman: So sad to hear.
- Alyssa Boehringer: I learned so much the few times I judged write-offs with him.
- Leslie Dennis: Oh no! He was such a personality and always had a story. He sent me a lovely wedding gift that included Juanita’s photography. He will be missed.
- Jim Jordan: Howard was the best of the best. One of the TRUE icons of scholastic journalism.
- Lori Oglesbee-Petter: Legend.
- John Cutsinger: A true mentor.
- Janet Fox McKinney: Howard was and will always be an icon in scholastic journalism leaving a footprint in the hearts of all blessed to know him.
- Gloria Olman: A huge loss.
- Carl R Stano: A major loss for scholastic journalism.
- Ellen Austin: Howard was so invested in all of us and in this work. He will be deeply missed.
- Beth Shull: Such a loss. Thank you for letting us know, Bradley. Some of you will recall the fall he and Juanita hosted the Southern Interscholastic Press Association planning meeting at their beautiful home. Lori Oglesbee-Petter played the piano and sang and Mary Yoakley Inglis found the hidden pies in the kitchen cabinet. I had a student officer with me, Dana Hairston Hof, who remarked later that she had never before eaten a salad with peanut butter as the main ingredient. What a wonderful perfectly Howard event!
- Karl Grubaugh: I am so sorry to hear this. Howard was so encouraging to me, and to so many others, in the world of scholastic journalism education. My condolences to his wife and family.
- Logan Aimone: I’m so very sorry to hear this. Howard was one of a kind — a legend and wonderful person.
- April van Buren: Hey, I’m in that picture! He bought me lunch that day and helped me punch up a piece for C:JET! He was such a good editor and so charming. Thank you for posting this.
- Teresa White: Howard taught at HSJI for many years. He was such a great personality — unforgettable person and unforgettable work for scholastic journalism.
- Terry Thrash Nelson: No other like Howard. Such a loss.
- Carol Roof Eanes: I am so sorry to hear this news. I enjoyed chatting with him at every convention and he will be sorely missed in NC.
- Fern Valentine: A mentor to so many.
- Kathy Daly: Wonderful man. I am sorry for all the friends who mourn his loss.
- Susan Newell: I am so sorry for your loss. I know you will miss Howard Spanogle. Praying for you and his family. Loved seeing him at conventions.
- Steve O’Donoghue: A stellar JEA member and national leader in scholastic journalism for decades. We will miss you, Howard. You left your mark on students, fellow teachers and journalists.
I hope, however, that Howard’s legacy goes well beyond his time as adviser in North Carolina, Illinois and Texas, beyond his work on Teenagers Themselves and beyond his work on Communication: Journalism Education Today — as if all of that isn’t enough.
A few years ago, Howard started donating money to JEA to be used to advance the magazine.
After some back and forth — and there was always back-and-forth with Howard — we decided to use the funds to create an index of articles starting with those from the last quarter century and adding further issues as they became available. This summer, the data entry was completed for that part of the project.
Next, that index will be made available to anyone online. Since many scholastic media advisers keep their issues of the magazine for years or even their entire career, the index will make back issues more useful.
However, his donations will do more than that.
After the index is online and tested — hopefully later this year — JEA will start linking the index to secure PDF copies of individual articles, hundreds and hundreds of them on everything from editorial writing to using Instagram.
Not since the publication of the curriculum will JEA provide such an extensive and valuable service to its members.
Again, thanks to Howard.