Scripps Howard Foundation chief to retire

Fri, October 12, 2007 by Mark Kroeger

CINCINNATI - Judith G. Clabes, who has been credited with successfully broadening the philanthropic mission and scope of the Scripps Howard Foundation, will retire as president and chief executive officer of the organization in early 2008.

A search for her successor is underway.  She will remain an advisor to the new CEO during the transition.

Clabes, an avid champion for excellence in journalism, journalism education and philanthropic leadership throughout her career, will leave a foundation that in 2006 distributed more than $6 million in scholarships and internships for journalism students and working professionals as well as grants for a growing list of non-profit organizations in Greater Cincinnati and dozens of other Scripps communities across the country.

Clabes, 62, has been president and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation since 1996. The foundation is the philanthropic arm of The E. W. Scripps Company.

"Judy Clabes is an outstanding leader who has transformed the Scripps Howard Foundation into one of the nation's leading philanthropic organizations devoted to journalism, journalism education and community-building," said Kenneth W. Lowe, president and chief executive officer of The E. W. Scripps Company. "Her dedication to the profession of journalism, her staunch defense of First Amendment rights and her support for non-profit organizations that better our communities is clearly evident in the foundation's steady growth throughout her tenure."

Among the Scripps Howard Foundation's many accomplishments under Clabes' leadership is a significantly expanded partnership with Ohio University, including a $20 million commitment announced in 2006 to name the Scripps College of Communication, which houses the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism.

She also established the foundation's growing partnership with Hampton University in Hampton, Va., which included a $10 million commitment in 2001 to build and develop the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications. The partnership with Hampton, one of the nation's top Historically Black Colleges & Universities, is focused on furthering the foundation's goal of diversifying America's newsrooms.

Clabes has helped raise the profile of the foundation's National Journalism Awards which, during ceremonies at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., annually recognize the best in print, broadcast and online journalism. She also greatly expanded scholarship and internship programs for aspiring young communicators.

"I've always strongly believed in the power of education to improve our communities and our industry one life at a time," Clabes said. "To be actively involved in that process through our philanthropy at the Scripps Howard Foundation has been a richly rewarding experience. I'm particularly proud of our commitment to Ohio University, Hampton and other universities across the country to help build strong journalism and communication programs that I believe will benefit our industry and professional journalists for generations to come.

"We've also accomplished a great deal through our growing largesse to meaningful non-profit organizations in communities where Scripps does business. The best reward for me personally is that I can move on to the ‘rest of my life' confident that the Scripps Howard Foundation is stronger today than it was when I began this remarkable journey."

Clabes joined The E. W. Scripps Company in 1971 as the Newspaper in Education program coordinator at the Evansville (Ind.) Printing Corporation. She was soon promoted to community affairs director and associate editor of The Evansville Press, and in 1978, was named editor of The Sunday Courier & Press in Evansville, the first woman news executive in Scripps. She became editor of The Kentucky Post, based in Covington, in 1983 and moved to corporate headquarters in 1995 to serve as editorial director for the Scripps newspaper division.

She has authored several books including, "New Guardians of the Press," profiles of women newspaper editors, "Language Arts and the Disinterested Student," a guide to using the newspaper as a teaching tool, "Things I Haven't Finished Saying Yet," and a compilation of her syndicated newspaper columns entitled, "By Judy! About Working Moms and Other Human Things."

Her professional affiliations have included two terms on the board of directors of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE), service on the Pulitzer Prize nominating jury, membership on ASNE's 1984 delegation to the Soviet Union and a term as president of the Kentucky Associated Press Editors Association.

Clabes graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in English and journalism. She earned a master's degree in public administration from Indiana State University. In 1986 she received an honorary doctorate of law from Thomas More College and in 1990 an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Southern Indiana.

She was named an Outstanding Woman of Northern Kentucky and received the Cincinnati YWCA Career Woman of Achievement Award. She was inducted into the University of Kentucky Hall of Distinguished Alumni and the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame and has received the Northern Kentucky University Lincoln Award and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Frontiersman Award.

Clabes was recognized in 2007 for distinguished service by Cincinnati's BRIDGES for a Just Community. And in 2006 she was awarded the Gerald Sass Award for Distinguished Service to Journalism and Mass Communication by the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Clabes and her family operate a thoroughbred horse farm in Bourbon County, Ky. She and her husband, Gene, have two sons and four grandchildren.

Dedicated to excellence in journalism, the Scripps Howard Foundation is a leader in industry efforts in journalism education, scholarships, internships, literacy, minority recruitment/development and First Amendment causes. It is the philanthropic arm of The E. W. Scripps Company, a diverse and growing media enterprise with interests in national cable networks, newspaper publishing, broadcast television stations, interactive media and licensing and syndication.

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