Colleen “Koky” Dishon | 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award
Chicago Tribune, United States.
Dishon (1924-2004) was hired by the Chicago Tribune in 1975 to redirect the paper’s Tempo section into a general features section. Before she left the Tribune in 1994, she was responsible for starting at least 15 new sections for the paper, including KidNews, WomanNews, a newspaper wrap-around for commuters called Evening News and Friday, a weekend entertainment and activities guide.
James D. Squires, the editor who had promoted her, said:”There have been two great creative people at the Chicago Tribune. The first was Col. (Robert) McCormick who put together a world-recognized newspaper, and the second was Koky Dishon who created sections people wanted to read.”
She became Assistant Managing Editor/Features for the Tribune in 1981, only six years after she was hired. A year later, she became the first woman on the paper’s masthead.
Before joining the Tribune, Dishon was editor and president of a news/features service she founded and held a variety of editor positions at the Zanesville (Ohio) Sunday Times Signal, Chicago Daily News, Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch.
Dishon had been honored many times. She had a Headliner award from Women in Communication in 1973; in 1979, Ohio University cited her for Distinguished Service in Journalism; in 1997, she was inducted into the Journalism Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors.
Dishon officially “retired” in 1994, but she has continued in the newspaper business as an editorial consultant, creating the concept for a weekly newspaper now published by Network Chicago WTTW public television and helping the South Bend (Indiana) Tribune go from evening to morning publication. She wrote a chapter about the evolution of feature pages for the 1998 book, Defining Moments in Journalism. In addition, she co-authored a book on how to design newspaper sections.
Colleen “Koky” Dishon is the 10th IWMF Lifetime Achievement Award winner from the United States, following Flora Lewis (2000), Peggy Peterman (1999), Bonnie Angelo (1998), Nancy Woodhull (1997), Meg Greenfield (1996), Helen Thomas (1995), Katharine Graham (1994), Nan Robertson (1993) and Barbara Walters (1992). Mary McGrory(2002), Belva Davis (2004), Molly Ivins (2005) and Edith Lederer (2008) won the award after her.