Scripps Professor Inducted Into Journalism Hall of Fame

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The Press Club of Cleveland’s Hall of Fame will honor Tom Suddes, an assistant professor in E.W Scripps School of Journalism, on Friday.

The Hall of Fame was established to honor journalists who exemplify excellence in journalism and communications, but Suddes was surprised after he was nominated, because he doesn’t consider himself particularly notable.

“I’ve certainly been around long enough,” Suddes said. “I’ve had quite a long period with The Plain Dealer and Northeast Ohio Media Group beginning in 1982, so I believe that’s what helped me get recognized.”

Suddes earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio State University in 1976, where he held various positions at the school’s newspaper, The Daily Lantern, including heading the staff as editor. He received his master’s in journalism in 2002 and a Ph.D. in mass communication in 2009, both from Ohio University.

While Suddes teaches at Ohio University, he continues to write articles for The Plain Dealer, The Dayton Daily News and The Columbus Dispatch.
Suddes began his career at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and was later transferred to the paper’s Columbus bureau to cover the Ohio General Assembly. He started as a general assignment political writer, but that changed.

“I just came into the bureau one day and was told ‘Hey, you’re our budget person,” Suddes said.

He would spend the next 18 years covering the state budget.

Luckily, he learned it quickly and found it interesting. Suddes explained that the budget controls almost everything a society does, including setting tuition costs.

“Budgets are the maps of what government really does, not what they say they are going to do,” he said.

With his newfound knowledge of state politics, Suddes learned more about how state institutions functioned.

Suddes said, “You can learn a lot about a company, a university, a government and a state all from just looking at these budgets.”

One of Suddes’ favorite pieces to write about was expanding Medicaid, which was initiated by the Affordable Care Act. He said he found it interesting that the state, dominated by a Republican legislature, wasn’t required to expand Medicaid.

“Writing about that and how it could better people’s condition in the state was something recently that mattered to me a great deal,”said Suddes.

Suddes said he’s gained appreciation for political officials not only because of their interesting personalities, but how these officials generate power in society.

“You’ve got regulating the drinking age, voting age, interest rates on debt, et cetera. The people who want to run for office usually have an idea of what they want to do in power and seeing how that plays out is interesting,” Suddes said.

Suddes said there’s an advantage to teaching students while continuing to work in that profession. He said being around students, faculty and staff is stimulating.

Working with students at the Scripps College of Communication has made him optimistic for the future and reinforces his ideals about journalism.

“I’m proud of what I see with the young men and women here because I think what they do is the future, and they’re going to be doing what they do best, which is communicate well,” he said.

He calls his induction into the Hall of Fame a collaborative accomplishment. His family, teachers and the people he has worked with have all contributed.

“It’s been a number of countless, countless positive and happy memories.”