By Michelle Seeber
At 91 years old, Faye Plank, a former Clovis journalist, recently was nominated to the Panhandle Press Association’s Hall of Fame for 2004.
She didn’t make it this year, said Becki Lightfoot of the Panhandle Press Association. She is, however, still nominated for next year.
Plank, who now lives in Dalhart, Texas, said she started working as a reporter when she was 60 years old.
The publisher of the Curry County Times hired her in the 1970s, she said, because he needed a reporter whose time wasn’t being taken by sick children.
“The publisher was moaning about the troubles with … his employees, and I said he needed me to go to work for him,” Plank said. “When I got home, he called and asked if I was serious.”
Her new job as news editor started a journalism career than spanned more than 20 years, blossomed to include photography and travel, and met with many awards and rewards.
In 1981, Plank was named New Mexico Woman of Achievement.
This led to her being named National Woman of Achievement by the National Federation of Press Women.
She established a public relations firm, Ideas Unlimited, in Clovis, which she owned and operated. She also published Your Paper, a newspaper distributed to more than 4,000 families in New Mexico.
“All my stories were so interesting,” Plank said. “Journalism opened many doors for me. I really liked photography. Photographs add a lot to a story. They’re a very important thing.”
She taught herself photography, she said, and learned to process her own film and print her own pictures.
She has won several awards for her photographs and sold them to various news media, including national publications, according to the Dalhart Daily Texan.
Plank left the Curry County Times and moved Dalhart, Texas, in 1982, after her husband’s health began failing and she needed to be with her daughter, she said.
She then became women’s editor for the Dalhart Daily Texan.
According to the Dalhart Daily Texan, Plank became known internationally after she covered 40 young Japanese businessmen who toured Dalhart and took their photographs.
She did a double-page spread of the young men with a story of their activties, and mailed each one a copy of the newspaper.
After their return to Japan, the businessmen opened more than 100 7-11 stores. They printed part of Plank’s story about them on their shopping bags.
As a journalist, Plank made a name for herself by covering many community activities and worthy causes.
She was a member of the Texas Press Women’s Association and served as chairman for four years.
She also was a member of the Texas Press Association.
According to the Panhandle Press Association, Plank and her husband, Earl, raised three children.
Retiring at 85, she returned to work at the Delhart Daily Texan after a few months’ vacation. She was offered her old job back on her terms.
She relinguished her job as lifesyle editor in 2001 following health problems, but she still works as a roving reporter.
“She is an inspiration to everyone she meets,” the Panhandle Press Association said.
Susan Clay, co-publisher of the Dalhart Daily Texan, said she has known Plank for 15 years.
“She was always fun to work with,” Clay said of Plank. “She always had opinions about things. Occasionally, she would write travelling stories. She used to take off for Europe or China. She was Citizen of the Year here. She was a tremendous photographer.”
Said Plank: “Susan’s been a good boss. The Women’s Press Association gave me oportunity to travel. I’ve been in 21 different countries. I’ve won any number of awards.”