BANGOR, Maine — Scott Haskell, who served as a photographer and visuals editor for the Bangor Daily News for 33 years, is among three former journalists selected for induction into the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame, the organization announced Thursday.
Joining Haskell as inductees this year will be Don Hansen, retired editorial page editor for the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, and Emery “Legs” Labbe, retired sportswriter and publisher for the St. John Valley Times.
The MPA Hall of Fame was established in 1998 to honor newspaper journalists with Maine connections who have made outstanding contributions to the profession. With the 2013 inductions, the Hall of Fame will have 60 members.
The new members selected by the MPA Hall of Fame committee will be inducted at a luncheon on Oct. 26 at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel and Conference Center in Bar Harbor as part of the annual MPA Fall Conference.
Over the course of his career with the Bangor Daily News, Haskell established himself as one of the state’s top photographers. As photo editor for 18 years, he made the newspaper a magnet for other talented visual journalists.
Haskell started taking pictures for the Bangor Daily News in 1977, when he was a journalism student at the University of Maine. He was promoted to photo editor in 1993 and, when he retired in 2011, had the title of visuals editor, with responsibility for photos and video on the newspaper’s website.
Over the course of his career, he won numerous awards from the Maine Press Association, New England press associations, the National Press Photographers Association and the Society for News Design.
Hansen was a reporter, editor, political columnist, editorial writer and, finally, the longtime editorial page director of the Gannett newspapers of Portland: the Press Herald, the Maine Sunday Telegram and the Evening Express.
Born in Aroostook County in 1935, Hansen earned a degree in journalism at Boston University in 1957 and immediately landed a job as editor of the Boothbay Register. Two years later, he became editor of the Brunswick Record, and in 1960 he joined the Portland newspapers. He started as City Hall reporter and then, for a dozen years, covered the State House.
Hansen wrote twice-weekly columns that reflected his ability to sort out complicated legislative issues with clarity and easygoing humor.
In 1973, Hansen was named editorial page director for the Portland papers. He held the job for the better part of two decades, during which he helped to transform editorial pages that were perceived as “reliably Republican” into a broader, more open forum for independent views.
“Legs” Labbe started in newspapers as a part-time sports reporter for the St. John Valley Times in 1965, while he was teaching elementary school in northern Aroostook County. That part-time job led to a career in journalism spanning more than 30 years, in which Labbe became publisher of the weekly paper in Madawaska.
“He made a career of pushing ink across countless pages because he believed in the importance of sports and athletics upon the growing adolescents and young adults,” wrote Beurmond Banville, a retired Bangor Daily News reporter who covered the area and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011. “He brought them into the limelight, told their stories, their triumphs and joys and the sad stories of defeats and broken hearts.”
In recommending Labbe for the Hall of Fame, Banville wrote, “In all likelihood, if you participated in sports in northern Maine since 1960, ‘Legs’ Labbe has probably written about you.”
Labbe worked as sports reporter and editor until 1986, when he retired from education and became publisher of the St. John Valley Times. He served for a decade before retiring from that position.
Haskell becomes the seventh Hall of Fame inductee from the BDN, joining Banville, outdoors writer Ralph “Bud” Leavitt, editor Kent Ward, publisher Lillis Towle Jordan, reporter Ted Sylvester and photographer Bob DeLong.