Shipley, Schehl retire
MOUNT VERNON — In the newsroom, the words “Virgil Shipley” and “retirement” were never spoken in the same sentence. Until today, that is.
|Virgil Shipley||Pam Schehl|
Longtime News photojournalist Virgil Shipley, along with journalist Pam Schehl, turned in their press badges today and are taking a more subtle approach to life in Knox County.
Shipley, who turned 90 earlier this year, started his career with the News in 1955, after serving as a photographer for the military police after being drafted a second time.
In his 62 years with the News, you could say Shipley has been the family photographer for generations of Knox County families as scrapbooks are filled with newspaper clippings that include his photos. “Photojournalism tells everything about a community,” he said. “It’s all about getting that whole story in one picture.”
Always, humble, Shipley reluctantly accepted the honor of serving as grand marshal in the Mount Vernon Christmas Parade in 2013.
He did, however, take great pride in serving as the official press photographer for the Ohio Distinguished Young Women, formerly the Ohio Junior Miss Program.
In 2016, he was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Knox County Chamber of Commerce.
“From the first baby born each year to touching good bye tributes to those who have passed on, he has dedicated his life — and his creative eye — to exposing tender moments, personal achievements, major advances in business and industry, the swearing in of hundreds of elected officials and their eventual retirements, the heartbreaking tragedies and nearly ever other event that has become part of Knox County’s rich history. In fact, he has been recording Knox County’s history for a quarter of the county’s existence,” said Bonnie Coe, Central Ohio Technical College president as she presented the award.
“Virgil has been devoted and loyal to the News for 62 years,” said Kay Culbertson, News publisher.
“He could be counted on to take a photo at 7 a.m., 2 p.m., at 9 p.m., and if necessary, at 3 in the wee hours of the morning. He is known as an icon at the News and to the Knox County community.”
Journalist Pam Schehl made her mark on Knox County with 14 1/2 years covering the educational institutions marking profound advancements, teaching innovations and construction of new buildings. Ultimately, she said, it is the people that have made a lasting impression.
“I was able to talk to a lot of people,” Schehl said. “People from China, Japan and exchange students from all over the world. I really liked to interview senior citizens and I did a series on the Amish. I grew up in Amish country but I learned a lot about the different sects and beliefs.”
With a background in education, including a bachelor of science degree in education from The Ohio State University, the skills Schehl utilized as a teacher helped make the transition to journalism nearly flawless.
“As a teacher, I understood deadlines, listening, writing reports and talking with parents,” Schehl said. “I also understood the alphabet soup heard at board meetings.”
One of the biggest challenges, she said, was walking that line that kept her stories focused and balanced.
“I’d say being unbiased in my writing was one of the hardest things especially when you feel strongly about a subject,” she said.
Schehl earned Associated Press awards including nods for a series on bullying and breaking news coverage in the John Freshwater story.
“That was definitely the longest story I covered,” she said.
“Pam has developed relationships with our local schools that exceeded our expectations,” said Culbertson. “She is well respected by teachers, administrators and school board members. She has also been a leader and role model in our newsroom.”
While she has no immediate plans for her retirement, she said she plans to spend time with her husband, Dave, and their grandchildren.