Drue Smith (died 27 December 2001) was an American journalist.

Life and careerEdit

Smith was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee around the close of World War I. Her precise birth date has never been made public, and has not been revealed since her death at her request.[citation needed]

As a native Chattanoogan, she wrote for both papers there before beginning her broadcast career. She was society editor of The Chattanooga Times, the parent newspaper to The New York Times. Her mentors while at that paper included Adolph Ochs (who later started The New York Times) and Roy McDonald.[citation needed]

She hosted a radio show on WAPO where she gave Estes Kefauver the legendary coonskin cap that he later took on the road in his presidential campaign.[citation needed] She moved her show to WDOD, then to WDEF, where she was named public affairs director. She appeared on WDEF-TV on its first day of broadcast in 1954, presenting Drue’s Party Line.

At that time, she was the only woman member (honorary) of the Tennessee National Guard. She traveled by military aircraft to inspect their summer active duty camp and report on their activities. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy appointed her to represent Tennessee on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services.

Later, she came to Nashville to serve as information liaison for Governor Frank G. Clement. She also was a contributor to NBC’s Monitor, ABC’s Flair and CBSAccent and In Person, similar in format to today's National Public Radio news and information shows. She stayed in Nashville to cover the Tennessee General Assembly for WLAC radio and the Tennessee Radio Network. She was the first woman to cover the statehouse full-time and she became the first woman to chair the Capitol Hill Press Corps. In 2001, the Legislature named the Capitol Press Room for her.

Smith was also an active member of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She was their first woman member and first woman president. In 1997, the group named their journalism scholarship in her honor.

She died December 27, 2001 in Nashville, Tennessee.

AwardsEdit

In a 1984 joint resolution, the General Assembly named Drue Smith their 133rd member. She did not have a vote or per diem but formed close working relationships with many prominent lawmakers for more than 30 years. In 1985, the assembly also named Drue Smith their reporter laureate.

In 1989, Whit Adamson, executive director, Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, presented Drue Smith with a lifetime membership to mark her outstanding lifetime service to the broadcasting industry.

Personal lifeEdit

She was married to Roy Blaney Smith September 16, 1934 and the couple were parents to one daughter, Drucilla Smith Fuller.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Drucilla Fuller, "Drue Smith's amazing technicolor dream life," Drue Smith Publications, 125 Lincoln Court, Nashville, TN 37205. published May 2005.
  2. Drue Smith exhibit, 20th Century Collection, Tennessee State Museum, 505 Deaderick St., Nashville, TN 37243