Longtime RTDNAC board member and Winthrop University professor dies

Haney Howell, a former network journalist and educator, died Monday, February 11 at the age of 75. Haney joined the RTDNAC board in 1989 and was the longtime awards chairman for the organization.

Haney began his career in radio while in high school and worked at several stations in the South. Haney served in the U.S. Air Force before joining CBS News as a correspondent covering Indochina and South Asia from the Saigon bureau.  He was one of the last Western journalists to leave Vietnam at the war’s end.

Haney talked about his Vietnam War coverage in a 2017 interview with Jeff Sonier of WTVI PBS Charlotte.

Haney served in other posts with CBS, ABC Radio and CONUS Communications before moving to Rock Hill, SC, in 1988 to begin the broadcasting program at Winthrop University.

Always a broadcaster at heart, Haney also worked part-time for WBT-AM and WSOC in Charlotte and WRHI AM & FM in Rock Hill.

He retired from Winthrop in 2012 and was named an emeritus professor.

Haney wrote a book, Road Runners, about his experiences as a war correspondent in Southeast Asia.

Haney Howell was honored by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association with its 2011 Honorary Life Membership Award for significant contributions to the broadcasting industry.   The outstanding student journalist award given annually by RTDNAC was named in honor of Haney.

REMEMBRANCES FROM HANEY’S FELLOW BOARD MEMBERS:

“Haney Howell is a familiar name here at home in York County, in the Carolinas and beyond. We are so proud of his legacy and honored to have known him. His impact and love for teaching was evident literally up until the week he passed away. Days before his death he wrote to the RTDNAC board to say he wasn’t feeling well and was so sorry to be missing our annual student workshop. We missed him. Haney loved his students and they loved him back. Rock Hill, the Winthrop community and those of us in the Journalism field will always feel his impact. He was a kind man, a true gentleman and his memory will not be forgotten.” 

·        Laurabree Monday, board president

“Haney was one of the first people I met when I started at Winthrop University. I didn’t know it at the time, but the broadcast side of the program needed quite a bit of work.  I taught four classes that first semester:  three production classes and one lecture class.  I also had a television studio and control room that needed major cleaning and upgrading.  Not to mention the ENG equipment, editing software and computers.  I was barely keeping my head above water.  One Friday Haney came into my office and invited me to lunch.  I said thanks but no thanks and showed him my page and a half to-do list.  He laughed and said it would still be there after lunch.  While at lunch he assured me I was doing a great job and told me:  “You can’t eat the elephant all in one bite, you have to eat it one bite at a time."   Over the next few years he talked me off of the ledge numerous times.  He often made the comment that me taking the position at Winthrop prolonged his career by seven years.

Well Haney, being at Winthrop allowed me to have a career.

Haney would start every class by asking what the lead story of the day is. He wanted to make sure his students were keeping up on what was happening in the media.  He would then proceed to go around the room and have each student pitch their story ideas.  He was forever telling them to tell one story not five or six.  He would say:  “Why do I care?”  He also would take his class on a walk around campus pointing out potential stories.  How were the buildings named?  What is a “chiller plant”?  Who monitors the weather station?  What is coming out of the grates around campus?  Smoke?  Steam?  Where is it coming from?  He was also a realist with them.  When having to write a story that wasn’t all that exciting he would tell his students to:  “Make chicken salad out of chicken s**t.”  Or “It’s time to put the lipstick on the pig.”  He also had a knack for taking students under his wing and give them the confidence to reach for the stars.”

·        Mark Nortz

“Haney and I were probably the "oldest rats in the barn,"  as the saying goes.  We had served on the RTDNAC for many years,  and had enjoyed a wonderful friendship.  He was an extremely interesting person and always made you feel welcome in his presence.  I had not spoken with him since the Fall Conference at which time I was quite worried about him.  He assured me that he was fine, and I pretended to agree with him.  Never  dreamed that was the last cup of coffee I would pour for him.  R.I.P. my friend.  Joy cometh in the morning.”

·        Margaret Murchison

“Haney truly cared about the stories he reported and the students he taught. His legacy will live on through them.  His name will also forever be a part of RTDNAC, which he long supported.  We’re most grateful for all of his contributions.  And we’ll certainly miss him.”

·        Rick Gall

“Haney was one of the most passionate journalists I’ve ever known. He lived and breathed news. He knew how important the 4th estate is to our country and our freedoms.

Being in Haney’s classrooms as a visiting lecturer you had no doubt about his love of the profession, as well as his students.

He inspired his students, and all of those who knew him, with stories of his many adventures and accomplishments, especially as a correspondent during the Vietnam war.

Serving with him on the RTNDAC and RTDNAC boards, and being co-presenters at the annual awards conference, for more than 25 years has been nothing short of a privilege and a pleasure.

He was the humble standard bearer for what it means to be a true broadcast journalist, and to give back to the profession.

His service and dedication to his profession, RTDNAC (RTNDAC), and his students leave a lasting positive mark.”

·        Dianne Chase

“I was always flattered when Haney invited me to talk to his first class of his Winthrop semester. He always asked tough questions to spark the students interest. But the real payoff was afterwards, when Haney would tell some takes and insights into the world of news. I always left smarter ...and charged up for my career that day. He was inspirational.  Always.   We'll miss you Haney.”

·        Ken White

“Haney Howell was one of the best in any category; journalist, professor, mentor, colleague and friend. Working in journalism wasn't just what he did for a living. It's what Haney was through-and-through every day of his professional life.”

·        Pete Poore

“When I would see Haney, he never failed to ask about one of his former students who is currently one of our executive producers.   That was Haney.   He remembered and he cared …about his students and his craft.  Thank you, Haney, for being a great friend and an inspiration to all of us.”

·        Lee Brown