RALPH SCHAEFER

‘The Longest Wait’ for Hall of Fame membership 

By Ralph Schaefer, 2017 Inductee

The Longest Day is a war movie starring John Wayne. 

The Longest Yard is a prison slash sports movie starring Burt Reynolds. 

“The Longest Wait” isn’t a movie—and never will be 

It’s a “title” unknowingly held by me, a Tulsa journalist, because of my 16-year wait to be inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. 

“What!” was my surprised reaction when told I was the subject of “The Longest Wait.”  

I had first been nominated in 2001 and would be nominated a second time before being inducted into the “Land of Media Giants” on April 27, 2017.  

Joe Hight, Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame Director and 2013 inductee, was delighted to say I was the subject for “The Longest Wait” as planning for this book began.  

I had no idea I would be the subject in writing about myself. 

But I am honored to be a member of this organization. 

Graduating from Central State College in December 1969—the name changed to Central State University on January 1, 1970—my newspaper career in community journalism began with the El Reno Daily Tribune in 1969. 

Publisher Jack Dyer, on my first day on the job, waved his hand over El Reno and said, “This is your beat, cover it.” 

In 1973, Bill Retherford drove me around Tulsa, introduced me to his three newspaper offices and, in effect, said, “These are your beats.” 

I left Tulsa briefly and worked at The Journal Record in 1980, learning to write about business and the legal community. 

I returned to Tulsa Ann Retherford Publications in 1981 to become part of a growing newspaper group, a role that continued until the publisher’s death in 2005. 

Repeat that “cover it” scenario would Community Publishers Inc. owners opened the Tulsa Business Journal and Legal News office at Fifth and Boston in downtown Tulsa. 

I was tasked with covering Tulsa’s legal community. 

I retired in 2018 when the Tulsa daily Legal News ceased publication after 109 years.  

Looking back, I worked nearly 49 years in a profession to give a voice to people and serve their communities.  

I am proud to be a journalist and am proud to be an Oklahoman Journalism Hall of Fame member.  

That long wait, even if it didn’t know it at first, was worth it.