CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Newspaper publishers Lyell Clay and Fran Hollendonner, both prominent figures in the West Virginia newspaper industry through the 1980s, have been elected to the West Virginia Press Association's Hall of Fame.
The two men, both deceased, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 8 to open the press association's annual convention at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling.
Election to the Hall of Fame signifies the individual had an "outstanding" career with a West Virginia newspaper, or was a native West Virginian who had an outstanding journalism career outside the state. Candidates become eligible five years after their death.
Both Clay and Hollendonner are being recognized for outstanding careers in West Virginia, though both men had influence outside of the state.
Today, many know Lyell Clay, 1923-2007, as a philanthropist, but before those efforts, he was publisher of the Charleston Daily Mail.
He joined the paper in 1956. Soon after, the then-afternoon newspaper formed a joint operation with the morning newspaper, The Charleston Gazette. Heading the Daily Mail operation, he formed Clay Communications Inc., which eventually expanded to four television stations in three states and four newspapers in West Virginia and North Carolina. Clay also acquired two radio stations in Charlottesville, Va.
In 1987, when Clay Communications was sold, Lyell and his brother, Buckner Clay, established the Clay Foundation Inc. It has supported many projects since its formation, most notably the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences.