By PAUL J. SPETRINI
NORTH KINGSTOWNâ€”Longtime community news photographer Ray Clayton, who passed away last December following an award-winning career with Southern Rhode Island Newspapers (SRIN), was inducted posthumously into the Rhode Island Press Associationâ€™s Journalism Hall of Fame. The event occured May 4 during the organizationâ€™s annual banquet at the Quonset â€śOâ€ť Club in North Kingstown.
Clayton, who worked for SRIN for nearly 40 years as a fulltime photographer and freelanced for the Standard-Times up until his death. He was one of three members of the class of 2012, joining East Bay Newspapers sports writer/photographer Manuel C. â€śMannyâ€ť Correira and Charles Dow, a former reporter for the Providence Journal and the co-founder and first editor of the Wall Street Journal.
During his career, Clayton was named Rhode Islandâ€™s Photographer of the Year on multiple occasions and was selected as the New England Photographer of the Year in 1998 by the New England Newspaper & Press Association.
Clayton was inducted by former Standard-Times editor Rudi Hempe and a plaque bearing his likeness, which was accepted at the banquet by his wife Marlene, an Standard employee for more than 20 years, will be hung up in the University of Rhode Islandâ€™s journalism department.
Claytonâ€™s induction was the highlight of a night where SRIN took home four awards in the annual RIPA editorial contest.
Sports reporter Eric Rueb finished second in the Sports Story category for his feature on the North Kingstown High School football teamâ€™s struggle to compete in Division I and earned an honorable mention in the Unique/Most Unexpected Story category for his coverage of WPRI televisionâ€™s staging of highlights during a womenâ€™s golf tournament. NK alum Samantha Morrell was featured.
Standard-Times freelancer Martha Smith, meanwhile, finished third in the Profile/Personality Story category for her July 2011 feature on Cranston-Murphy Funeral Home director and embalmer Andrew Correia.
Rounding out the awards for SRIN was a third-place finish by East Greenwich Pendulum editor James Bessette for his sports front page design of the Chariho High School football teamâ€™s Division II championship victory last December.