January 10, 2004
Belo mourns passing of a television industry legend, former executive H. Martin Haag, Jr.
Dallas, TX-- H. Martin (Marty) Haag, Jr., former senior vice president/News of Belo Corp.'s Television Group and an executive of the Company for 27 years before his retirement in 2000, died today at the age of 69.
Haag, one of the television industry's most respected news executives, received a special George Foster Peabody Award in 2001 for his longstanding contributions to journalism and the broadcast industry. Since his retirement, Haag had worked as a consultant and served as visiting professional in the journalism division at Southern Methodist University, where he taught several courses.
"Marty Haag personified journalism in the highest sense," said Robert W. Decherd, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Belo. "Marty was a news executive of unparalleled ability, creativity and integrity whose belief in fairness framed a deep understanding of the role of a free press in American democracy. In the last part of his distinguished career at Belo, and even after his retirement, Marty's influence extended throughout the Company's print and electronic news organizations. All of us at Belo are truly fortunate to have had Marty Haag in our midst for more than 30 years."
Haag held the position of senior vice president/News from 1989 to 2000, guiding the development of Belo television news services for 18 newsrooms. He joined Belo in 1973 as executive news director of WFAA-TV (ABC) in Dallas/Fort Worth, where he supervised all phases of the station's news operations for 16 years.
Haag played a key role in transforming WFAA from a small local news organization in 1974 into what is consistently recognized as one of the best local news operations in the country. Under Haag's direction, the station won five Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards, more than any other major-market television station during his tenure. The station also won a Peabody award in 1988.
"His eye for talent was extraordinary," said Kathy Clements, president and general manager of WFAA. "Marty guided the careers of many a journalist and mentored hundreds of young people over the years. His newsroom leadership and commitment to excellence helped set
standards we observe to this day. He has a special place in our hearts, and we will miss him dearly."
Prior to joining Belo, Haag held prominent broadcast positions throughout the country, including national assignment editor of NBC in New York, executive news director of WKYC-TV in Cleveland, executive news director of KTTV in Los Angeles and assistant news director of WCBS-TV in New York.
Haag earned a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. His professional career began during
his college years as a radio newsman with KBIA, Columbia, MO, and sports editor with the Columbia Missourian.
During his career, Haag served as director of the Texas-Oklahoma region of the Radio Television News Directors Association, president of the Dallas chapter of SPJ-Sigma Delta Chi, and on the board of directors of Associated Press Broadcasters.
Haag was honored with numerous industry and civic awards. He was named "Journalist of the Year" in 1978 by the Dallas chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
The Dallas Press Club awarded him its most prestigious honor, the J. B. Marryat Memorial Award, in 1981, the first time a television journalist had been chosen as the recipient. In March 2000, Haag was presented the First Amendment Service Award by the Radio Television News Directors Foundation.
In 1995, Belo presented Haag with the William H. Seay Award, the Company's highest honor, which recognizes personal integrity, loyalty, community commitment and journalistic standards.
Haag is survived by his wife, Susan, and sons Richard, Andrew and Matthew.
Belo Corp. is one of the nation's largest media companies with a diversified group of market-leading television, newspaper, cable and interactive media assets. A Fortune 1000 company with approximately 7,800 employees and $1.4 billion in annual revenues, Belo operates news and information franchises in some of America's most dynamic markets and regions, including Texas, the Northwest, the Southwest, Rhode Island, and the Mid-Atlantic region. Belo owns 19 television stations (six in the top 15 markets) reaching 13.8 percent of U.S. television households; owns or operates 10 cable news channels; and manages one television station through a local marketing agreement. Belo's daily newspapers include The Dallas Morning News, The Providence Journal, The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) and the Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, TX). Belo Interactive's new media businesses include more than 30 Web sites, several interactive alliances, and a broad range of Internet-based products. For more information contact Scott Baradell, Belo's vice president/Corporate Communications, at 214-977-2067. Additional information, including earnings releases, is available online at www.belo.com.