Former WHAS11 journalists Melissa Swan, Chuck Olmstead honored, inducted into Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame

The pair had amazing careers throughout their time in journalism, especially at WHAS11 News for more than 30 years respectively. They were honored Tuesday evening.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Chuck Olmstead’s dynamic reporting style filled Louisville television screens in 1975.

Candy, his wife, said it was like that from the beginning until he died.

“It’s amazing. We’d go out to dinner and people would come over and speak to Chuck and wouldn’t care what he was eating. He would sit down and talk to them and I wondered if he was going to have heartburn because some people would sit and join us,” she recalled.

During his time on WHAS-TV, Chuck was the action reporter.

“Don’t fight it alone, write me, the action reporter,” he’d famously say.

“He said that’s what it was all about, because he worked for the people of Louisville,” Candy said.

The newsroom and community were shocked when we lost Chuck too soon – suddenly to a brain aneurysm in 2009.

“We miss him, I know I do,” Candy said. There will never be another Chuck Olmstead and I know he’s here looking at Louisville, Kentucky.”

Olmstead and his longtime colleague Melissa Swan are being inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.

Swan also covered some of the biggest stories for 31 years at WHAS-TV.

When fears of nuclear activity were heightened, she was in South Korea talking to local soldiers.

In her message to the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, she describes the experience.

“I remember the day I stood on the DMZ in Korea with a Kentucky soldier and I remember looking across the zone into the steely eye of a North Korea soldier. Who gets to do that? Journalists do.

Making it to New York by car, on the scene the day after the horrific attack on the World Trade Towers she found Louisville sculptor Ed Hamilton and his wife Bernadette who had been dining at the top of the tower the night before.

“They told me about their experience and their grief through tears as did so many other people,” Swan explained.

Melissa, the evening co-anchor on the WHAS11 newscasts, rose to the top job from street reporter. She was the only woman covering the chase of two escaped southern Indiana inmates.

“At one point in hear a crack I the woods and I look over and the two escaped inmates are walking out with their hands over their heads. The first thing I thought was, I pointed my reporter’s notebook at them and told them, ‘don’t you move.’”

Chuck was the brilliant, engaging report who was loved and trusted by all. He also loved one time of the year – the Kentucky Derby.

“Chuck was a humble guy. He liked to talk to everybody,” Candy said.

They are two wonderful stewards of journalism, joining WHAS legends like Cawood Ledford, Fred Wiche and Phyllis Knight in the Hall of Fame.

“I never could have imagined such a great career. It was a wild ride and journalism was the ticket,” Swan said.

Check out their speeches below. 

Chuck Olmstead

Melissa Swan

Contact reporter Doug Proffitt at dproffitt@whas11.com. Follow him on Twitter (@WHAS11Doug) and Facebook.

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