Neuharth, A. cm.jpg
Induction Category & YearArts and Entertainment 1980
Home TownAlpena, SD
BirthMarch 22, 1924
Eureka, SD
DeathApril 19, 2013

   Allen Neuharth
Champion of Excellence

Legends Bio
 Influential, driven, and successful are three adjectives that describe this famous South Dakotan. Al Neuharth is a South Dakota native that didn’t give up on his dreams despite his difficulties. After years of determination and hard work he became a self-made millionaire. He started small and worked his way up to build the nation’s largest newspaper and media company. Neuharth founded the USA TODAY newspaper, the Gannett Media Company, and the Freedom Forum.

Al Neuharth was born on a farm in Eureka, South Dakota, on March 22, 1924. When Al was only two years old, his father passed away in a bad farming accident. As Neuharth grew up, he knew he needed to help his family. From a very young age Al viewed hard work as a necessity, not an option. He started his first job at the age of eleven as a newspaper carrier. Because of his love of writing, he wrote as a youth writer for the The Echo that was published in Aplena, South Dakota. At the age of nineteen, Al entered the Army as an infantryman during World War II and was awarded the Bronze Star. After the war, he attended the University of South Dakota in Vermillion to become a journalist. During college, he edited and wrote for the school newspaper called The Volante. After graduation in 1950, Al was hired to work for The Associated Press (AP) as a $50/week reporter for the Sioux Falls area. Two years later, in 1952, he decided to launch a new tabloid project called SoDak Sports, an all-sports tabloid that was printed on peach-colored paper. This newspaper failed horribly, losing him nearly $50,000. Neuharth was left with barely any money, but he kept his confidence by repeating to himself, “The bigger you fail, the bigger you are likely to succeed later.” Not knowing this at the time, Neuharth did go on to succeed. During the next seven years he worked his way to the top. He went from being an everyday reporter for the Miami Herald to chairman, president, and chief executive at Gannett Media Company that publishes the USA TODAY newspaper. Today he is semi-retired and is the chairman of The Freedom Forum. He oversees one of the nation’s largest private foundations that promotes freedom of speech. The Freedom Forum founded Washington’s D.C.’s most interactive museum, The Newseum.

Neuharth is a driven individual. He has a passion for writing, and a love to succeed. His influence in the newspaper field will continue forever.
chairman the head of a department, in charge
confidence believe in own abilities
driven to succeed or excel
executive administrative powers, makes decisions
influential a person who is a strong influence
journalist a person who reports, writes, edits, and broadcasts text
millionaire a very rich person
necessity something important and necessary
successful achieving or having achieved success
tabloid small newspaper with short articles
Extended Activities

As a class, write a one-page classroom newsletter. Tell about the exciting happenings that are going on in your classroom or at your school. Take pictures to capture the special events. Pretend like you’re a newspaper carrier and deliver them. Design the newspaper on your own or try What Would You Like to Create? Go The Junior Seahawk Newsletter to see some examples of classroom newsletters.

Common Core Standards 4.W.2 (ELA) • 4.W.6 (ELA) • 4.L.1, 2, 3 (ELA)

SD Standards

In a small group, read a variety of newspaper articles from your hometown newspaper or visit online newspapers. Check out the Sioux Falls Argus Leader or the Rapid City Journal. Use the Newspaper Story Format or the Newspaper Article organizer to identify the important events from across the state.

Common Core Standards 4.RI.1 (ELA) • 4.RI.2 (ELA) • 4.RI.3 (ELA)

SD Standards

Interview an older relative or family friend about what life was like when he/she was in elementary school. Prepare a list of questions ahead of time and conduct the interview. Take a look at some of the questions at National Grandparents Day for some sample questions. Create a presentation to share with your class which may include pictures, audio, video, etc. along with your information.

Common Core Standards 4.RI.7 (ELA) • 4.W.6 (ELA) • 4.SL1 (ELA) • 4.SL5 (ELA)

SD Standards

As a class read through a local newspaper. While reading look for fact vs. opinion articles. On the Fact and Opinion graphic organizer, separate the facts from the opinions. Watch the video Newspaper Reading to learn a little more about reading newspapers correctly.

Common Core Standards 4.W.1 (ELA) • 4.W.7 (ELA) • 4.RI.8 (ELA)

SD Standards

Create a fun Special News Report to share with a classmate. After printing out the report, practice reading it out loud. Share the news report in class or create a podcast with Vocaroo. You might want to try videotaping yourself as you present your news broadcast. Try writing a few other Wacky Web Tales too!

Common Core Standards 4.SL2 (ELA) • 4.SL4 (ELA) 4.SL5 (ELA) • 4.SL6 (ELA) • 4.RF.4 (ELA)

SD Standards

Write a poem about Al Neuharth. Try “5 W” or another form you like at Instant Poetry Forms.

Common Core Standards 4.W.9 (ELA) • 4.RL.5 (ELA) • 4.L.5 (ELA)

SD Standards

Use a grocery ad to plan a meal for your family. Use My Plate to create a healthy meal that includes something from each of the five groups. How much would your meal cost according to the grocery ad? Compare this to what it would have cost Al Neuharth in 1950 when he was earning $50.00 a week. Use the US Inflation Calculator to help you. Enter the current year in the first box, the cost of your meal in the second box, and 1950 in the third box. Click the Calculate button to find out how much the meal would have cost Al. What is the difference between what you would pay and Al would have paid?

Common Core Standards 4.NBT.4 (Math) • SMP 1 (Math)

SD Standards

Allen Neuharth Tribute, 1999 Distinguished Contributions to Journalism Winner
Image Gallery
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Home Town (Alpena, SD)
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