CJ Hadley inducted into Nevada Press Association Hall of Fame
On Sept. 21, 2019, Caroline Joy “CJ” Hadley was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Nevada Press Association (NPA), during the association’s convention in Ely, Nev. The NPA is the formal member trade organization for news publications in the state of Nevada. It is a voluntary nonprofit that represents daily and weekly newspapers in Nevada and the Lake Tahoe region of Northern California, as well as magazines and online news services.
Each year notable journalists who have made significant contributions to the press are chosen by the board of directors to be inducted into the Hall of Fame; CJ, RANGE magazine’s publisher, received the honor during luncheon ceremonies attended by friends and associates.
CJ was nominated by Hall of Fame members including 1977 Pulitzer-prize-winning publisher Warren Lerude of the Reno Gazette Journal for coverage of brothel owner Joe Conforte; Myram Borders, former bureau chief for United Press International, admired for her investigative skills of the Las Vegas crime and mob scene; and A.D. Hopkins, popular columnist for his historical writings for the Las Vegas Review Journal and author of several books, including his new novel, “The Boys Who Woke Up Early.” Supporting information was supplied by Ann Henderson, who has worked for CJ since the 1970s, first at Nevada Magazine, then at RANGE handling press and marketing functions.
Previous inductees in the NPA Hall of Fame include pioneer journalists such Mark Twain (real name Samuel Langhorne Clemens), and Dan DeQuille of the famed Territorial Enterprise, as well as contemporary luminaries, former governor/newspaperman Mike O’Callaghan, Hank Greenspun, Ned Day, Marilyn Newton, Ruthe Deskin, and Guy Shipler. Visit http://www.nevadapressassociation/halloffame.com. You will meet a fascinating and remarkable bunch of journalists.
Carolyn Dufurrena, a frequent contributor to RANGE and a rancher/cowboy poet/author/geologist/and award-winning writer, introduced CJ at the ceremony and regaled the crowd with tales of CJ’s history and humorous moments in her decades as a journalist.
Carolyn shared a message from Bob Brown, who was CJ’s editor at Car & Driver and gave her freelance assignments as senior editor at Sports Illustrated. A family illness prevented him from attending the induction.
Brown said: “Car & Driver even sent Hadley to Cape Canaveral, one of 17 journalists from around the world invited to test the Lunar Rover before it went to the moon. Her first question was, ‘How fast can I drive it?’ The NASA official accompanying her on a simulated moon field, said, ‘As fast as it will go, about three miles per hour.’ A small group watched in horror as she hit the steepest crater full-bore, and the $38.5-million Rover’s ultrahigh-tech sun umbrella collapsed to the ground.
“Such disparate experiences, including covering the World Eskimo Indian Olympics above the Arctic Circle and riding a camel 300 miles across Australia’s Simpson Desert—both stories for Sports Illustrated—became the road to founding a cowboy publication with a reputation for unmistakable courage, accuracy and advocacy,” Brown added.
When time came for CJ to speak at the luncheon, of course she spoke from the heart about her love of RANGE and the people who devote their lives to protect the land and help feed more than 300 hundred million Americans. She recalled the fascinating people she has met and RANGE’s editorial victories covering issues that matter to them, and some not-so-victorious problems that still concern the magazine.
CJ has been described as “feisty” and passionate. One colleague said, “Not even Clint Eastwood with both guns drawn can disarm people as quickly as Hadley.” She has placed herself and RANGE on the front lines fighting against the pressures producers face, including litigious special-interest groups, federal agents with agendas focused on areas east of the Mississippi, and a glut of burdensome rules. She has done so at great personal sacrifice—opting to protect those who face injustice, rather than protecting RANGE’s bottom line catering to advertising and celebrities.
In 1989, CJ was asked by five cowboys and soil scientists to produce a 32-page brochure to send to members of Congress. The subject was grazing fees, which government agents and environmental activists wanted to more than quadruple. That would have meant the end of ranching on western ranges. After that brochure shipped, she discovered the problem wasn’t just grazing fees, but endangered species, wetlands, takings, urban encroachment and environmental “innocence.” That initial brochure turned into “RANGE magazine,” sharing what she calls “the cowboy spirit on America’s Outback.”
To help support the fledgling publication, CJ took part-time jobs, the primary one as editor of the University of Nevada’s Silver & Blue alumni magazine in Reno. An incident explains how far CJ went to support RANGE’s financial foundation in those early years. She has a passion for American cars, learned when she was with Car & Driver. Her favorite was “Rafael,” a 1957 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop Sedan. In 1996, when RANGE was on the brink of disaster, she sold her major asset to keep the magazine afloat. Twenty-two years later, she sold a second 1957 Chevy Bel Air, just as beloved, called Precious.
CJ has not only been recognized by the NPA but has an impressive list of publishing awards for the magazine and a series of hardcover books. Journalism awards include the Paladin Award from the Paragon Foundation for her “fight for justice and recognition on behalf of ranchers and farmers.” Paragon’s president said, “A Paladin is a paragon of chivalry, a hero of sterling character and courage, a strong supporter or defender of a cause, one who rights wrongs and defends the weak and oppressed.”
The 50,000-member American Agri-Women organization recognized CJ with its Veritas Award, which is presented to one who has “given witness to the pursuit of truth.” AAW said the tribute was for “writing and speaking the truth in the media with intellect, integrity, tenacity and heart on behalf of people who live and work on the land.”
She has been nominated to the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. Her acceptance as a candidate was the first step in the painstaking process of selecting the four or five women who are honored at the annual induction event in Texas.
CJ concluded: “When Richard Karpel [NPA director] called to tell me about it [the Hall of Fame], my feet started to tingle and he brought me to tears. I told him I needed to get a cup of weak tea and a chocolate to quit palpitating.
“My whole life and my rash of weird jobs seems to have been aiming directly at RANGE. It’s been a tough, tiring and bloody journey but every day I look forward to trying to make the next issue just a little bit better, just a little bit more worthy.
“I found my dream in Nevada’s high, clean beautiful desert. The Nevada Press Association has helped exceed that dream.”