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Cornely & Cullen Inducted Into Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame is especially significant to our industry and MDDC member news organizations.  The people we honor in this program are men and women we respect and admire.  They are leaders in our industry, agents of change, trail blazers and passionate about the many issues that affect each of our organizations. 

MDDC’s Hall of Fame resides at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism, in the MDDC Hall of Fame classroom.  There, portraits of every Hall of Famer watch over students as they learn the ropes of news coverage in the modern era.

This year’s Hall of Fame inductees worked in many roles in the newspaper industry, from printing to reporting to sales and, in doing so, became part of the fabric of the community.  Each demonstrated in their career the steadfast belief that newspapers make a difference in readers’ lives and in the world at large.  Our core mission as an industry, to engage, inform and serve the public, has never been more important. 

We feel confident that the future is strong as we build on the accomplishments of those that come before us.  We are energized by the innovations and changes of our member publications as they work to serve their communities.

Deborah Cornely, The Dundalk Eagle

Deborah was the second of the eleven children of Kimbel and Mary Oelke, who together founded The Dundalk Eagle in 1969. In 1968, she graduated from Villa Julie College and met her future husband, Donald Cornely in 1969, who she married in 1980. She began her newspaper career as an advertising representative for the Community Press in Dundalk in 1968 and began to work in the family business at The Eagle shortly thereafter (the Community Press folded soon after the inception of The Eagle). Over the next few years, she worked several jobs at the paper, including helping to design the first classified advertising system, working the inking machine that created the mailing address rolls and joining her mother and her sisters as wingmailers, who used manual gluing and slicing devices to label newspapers for out-of-town postal delivery.

In 1978, she started in the paper's composition office and, over the next 30 years, worked in several positions, eventually becoming managing editor 1986 and then associate publisher in 1996. During her supervisory tenure, she oversaw several innovations at the publication, including the introduction of desktop publishing, internet and email access for editorial and advertising staff, modernization of composition operations (including the move to color printing) and transition of delivery services from traditional “paperboys” to more efficient and inexpensive postal services.

During that time, her editorial staff, under the guidance of longtime editor Wayne Laufert, won more than 100 awards for writing and photography.

In 1990, she was named to the board of MDDC and, in 1998, became its president. During her tenure, the association's website was first activated and, under her direction, an educational and charitable foundation was established. The association expanded its lobbyist activities to include Delaware and instituted an internship program.

In 2004, she joined the board of the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce and became its president in 2010. She served as the vice president of the Dundalk Community College Foundation where she was chairperson of the strategic planning board.

She retired in 2015 after ownership of The Eagle transitioned to APG Media of Chesapeake. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband where she pursues her hobbies of antiquing and raising a few chickens.

Today, her nephews, Jonathan and Jason O'Neill, continue her legacy, and that of her father and mother, as the editor and senior executive advertising account executive respectively.

Rick Cullen, Morning Star Publications, The Daily Times

From Delmarvanow.com and Morning Star coverage

Rick Cullen served as sports editor of the Daily Times in Salisbury during the paper's and the sports section's heyday. Anyone who lived in Maryland and Delaware between 1964 and 1996 who had an interest in sports, picked up the Daily Times and saw Rick's regular contributions.

Cullen’s newspaper career has spanned over 50 years, in both the editorial and advertising departments.  

“Rick joined Morning Star Publications following a successful career as sports editor of the Daily Times in Salisbury. I was pleased to have someone with his distinguished background in publishing join our staff,” said Morning Star Publications Owner/President Bryant Richardson. “Very methodic in his work, Rick was part of the growth of our publishing company. Rick was also a friend, someone I could speak to about the many changes occurring in our industry.”

“He was always willing to give advice to a young reporter or a new ad rep,” Morning Star Publications Editor/Publisher Mike McClure added. “When I started as the Star’s sports editor he told me, ‘Think of me as a sponge. I’m happy to share with you what I have learned over the years.’”

A graduate of Delmar High School in 1961, Cullen came back to his hometown after attending Missouri Valley College. He then got his start in the newspaper business in the Salisbury Times sports department. After working there for two years, he entered the Marine Corps. Two years later, after serving his country, he returned to the company where he worked as a beat reporter, covering Sussex County.

In 1972, Cullen was named sports editor of the Daily Times, a position he held until 1996. During Cullen’s tenure as sports editor, the newspaper was widely read, especially for its local and regional sports coverage.

“He always brought a touch of class to that position,” said Brice Stump, a former Daily Times co-worker of Cullen’s who retired in 2015. “He was always a gentleman, and an all-around genuine person.”

Cullen was inducted into the Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame as a sports writer in 2000.

A long time resident of the Delmar area, Cullen was proud of his hometown and his alma mater. “[Delmar]’s a great little town,” Cullen told the Star for an article in 2016. “It’s always been a traditional town, and it has a great school system. The town supports its own.”

Cullen passed away at his home February 2, 2018.

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