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Last modified: Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Retired reporter Marty Anderson gives IU School of Journalism its largest gift ever, $1.75 million

Sept. 7, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University alumnus Marty Anderson, whose career as a reporter and editor at the Associated Press (AP) spanned more than three decades, has given the IU School of Journalism its largest individual gift ever, totaling about $1.75 million.

Through two charitable gift annuities and a bequest, Anderson is endowing "The Ann and Marty Anderson Scholarship in Journalism" to honor his late beloved wife and to help students who otherwise might not have the financial resources to complete their journalism degrees.

"I got to thinking many years ago, as I started giving a little annually . . . that my whole intent was to provide means for young people who did not have the financial means to get to college. And if they're interested in writing, they could continue their courses that teach them all of the principles," said Anderson, a resident of Avon, Ind.

Marty Anderson

Photo by Ann Schertz

Marty Anderson

Print-Quality Photo

"It is so gratifying to me to know that this money, for many years, will provide these scholarships for young people in Indiana, and that they can go to the finest journalism facility in the country," he added.

IU Journalism Dean Brad Hamm said that in addition to his financial support, Anderson offers an example as a dedicated journalist to his students.

"He covered stories for more than 30 years and his work was read by thousands of people in Indiana, who rely on reporters like him to get the story right and help them understand how it affects their world," Hamm said. "The Associated Press is the largest news gathering organization in the world. To be part of the AP takes a high level of ability and dedication.

"He's made a remarkable gift for the school," Hamm added. "Our students will forever be indebted to Mr. Anderson for doing this."

Anderson's ties to the IU School of Journalism go back to his participation in 1951 in its High School Journalism Institute. The Howe High School graduate said the experience was his "first big introduction to journalism." What stood out to Anderson was an interview he had with writer John Bartlow Martin.

Martin was then an award-winning journalist whose work had focused on crime, the underprivileged and the underclass for publications such as the Saturday Evening Post, Life, Collier's, Harper's and The Atlantic Monthly, as well as in several books.

"He came to IU for this institute and did an interview with all of us there doing news writing, and I got a prize -- I got first place and won an autographed book by him called Butcher's Dozen," Anderson recalled. "I got fascinated by writing about people's lives and people's backgrounds and from there it just blossomed."

Anderson enrolled at IU in 1952 and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism five years later. As someone who worked evenings for most of his career, he is nostalgic about the many late nights he spent in the "back shop" at the Indiana Daily Student, where the next day's edition got its final look.

"I so looked forward to the next morning, to seeing that newspaper, that I sometimes had a very small hand in," he said. "If I had a byline story, it was a thrill to see that until Mr. Stempel got a hold of the paper the next day and left his red marks all over it. (As faculty chair, John Stempel would critique the paper daily)."

While at IU, Anderson also was a member of Lambda Chi social fraternity and Scabbard and Blade, a ROTC military honor society. After graduation, Anderson served in active reserve at Fort Knox, Ky., and afterward went straight to work for the AP three days after returning home to Indianapolis.

"I always wanted to be a newspaper reporter," he said. "My real thought was I'd like to be a foreign correspondent. Well, I never got any farther away in journalism than Indiana."

Over the next 33 years at AP, Anderson covered breaking news in Indiana, including several historic plane crashes and a propane gas explosion during a Holiday on Ice show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum in 1963.

He also covered the Beatles' only Indiana appearance there the following year. He reported on the event while sitting high up in the bleachers and later at a news conference.

"I was sent out to the state fair to a Beatles concert, and I tried to get out of it," he admitted. "I just thought it would be a bunch of yelling teenagers and indeed it was, mostly girls. I never heard one note from the mouths of the Beatles. There was just so much screaming . . . That was a fun time."

Perhaps the journalistic experience that most resonated with Anderson was an early morning fire at a nursing home in Fountaintown, Ind., where about 20 people were killed.

"At that time, the (AP) general desk in New York cleared everything," Anderson explained. "I remember talking to Ed Dennehy, who was the early editor, and I told him what I had here and I remember his comment, because it always stuck with me. He said, 'Go with it, the wire is yours.'"

Throughout his career, Anderson never married and had been a caretaker for his parents. But after retirement he helped to organize his 50th high school reunion in 2002, where he became reacquainted with fellow Howe alum, Ann Sterns Baldridge.

Anderson had taken her to his senior prom, but he never "had the nerve" to call her afterwards. Upon seeing that she was coming alone to the reunion, he decided he "had to look this lady up . . . and everything just bloomed from there."

They married on his birthday in 2003 and had a "wonderful, wonderful four years together," until her sudden death in November 2006. "I don't regret having that for four years . . . It kind of renewed my life," he said.

Looking back on his life and career, Anderson sees a bright future for today's journalism students.

"It's going to change. It's going to all be computerized, on the little phones, with their different apps, but somebody, someplace will be interviewing a mayor or a candidate for Congress, and they will be analyzing that and reporting on it in some way," he said. "It's going to be the same process, just a different venue . . . People will still want to read the news and see it, whether it's on their computer, their cell phone or their BlackBerry."