WEIRTON - Emily Horvat has been accepted as a member of the Class of 2013 of the Weirton Hall of Fame in the category of professions.
Although Horvat was not the first female reporter at The Weirton Daily Times, she is considered to be the longest-serving. She was a reporter with the Daily Times, without a degree or previous experience, from 1955 until 1995 and continues to provide the local newspaper with the occasional contribution.
During her career, Horvat was a reporter, photographer, reviewer for concerts and shows, sports writer, entertainment editor and the editor of the Pennsylvania Focus, a weekly newspaper still produced by the local publishing company.
On her first day, she had the duty of covering three accidents each resulting in a fatality. From then on, she covered the news on the local, county, state and national levels. While at the Daily Times, she was a correspondent for United Press International, Associated Press and wire services for local a television station. She also volunteered as a photographer for the Weirton Police Department and the West Virginia State Police in Hancock County.
Horvat was offered jobs and positions in Pittsburgh, Wheeling and Washington, D.C. which she declined because she felt her husband's position at Weirton Steel as manager of the production planning department was more important.
Some of Horvat's most memorable experiences include covering the story of the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy, which she said was particularly difficult as she had interviewed him when he visited Weirton to dedicate the bust of his late brother at the Millsop Community Center in 1966. She also covered the racial tension and riots during the 1960s.
Between the 1970s and 1990s, Horvat began reviewing concerts and shows in the area and many of her reviews were picked up by many of the entertainers' publicists who used them in their advertisements. She later moved on to cover local and regional sports, such as Pittsburgh Penguin games, horse racing, stock car and even NASCAR, which brought to her a lifetime of stories to share with her family.
Throughout her career, Horvat was also presented with a number of awards: Excellence Award from the Knights of Columbus in 1979 for high standards of newspaper reporting; West Virginia State Medallion from then State Treasurer A.J. Manchin in 1986 as a token of esteem for her efforts toward building a better state and nation and the Elks Distinguished Citizenship Award for outstanding and meritorious service to humanity in 2010..
She was the first woman to receive the Italian Heritage Award by the Order of Sons of Italy Antonio Meucci Lodge in 1988. The award is presented an individual for dedication to their fellow man and unquestionable pride in their Italian heritage
Horvat also was made an honorary American Indian in 1988 in recognition of research and writing weekly columns stating Christopher Columbus' discovery of America was the beginning of the decline of the American Indian culture and lifestyle.
Among the people she credits with mentoring her as a journalist are Roger Mudd, a U.S. television journalist and broadcaster, most recently as the primary anchor for The History Channel; the late Earle Wittpenn, an editor of The Weirton Daily Times; the late Paul Glover, a publisher and editor for The Weirton Daily Times and the late John A. Jones, the editor of the Weirton Steel News Bulletin.
Last, but not least, among those Horvat credits with inspiring her throughout her career is her late husband, Mike Horvat, who was her greatest and biggest supporter. He would drive her to many assignments when the weather was very bad and went with her when she was awakened in the early hours of the morning for fast-breaking news stories, and was there in the background making sure that she was OK.
"I couldn't have done it without him," she said.
The fifth-annual Weirton Hall of Fame induction ceremony is set to take place at 2 p.m. today at the Knights of Columbus.