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Published: Saturday, 4/19/2008

Former Blade writer, editor is honored for contributions to Kent State, journalism


Daily Kent Stater Editor Bryan Wroten, from left, and TV2 News Director Kaitlyn Lionti speak with Allan Block and John Robinson Block at the opening of Franklin Hall at Kent State. Daily Kent Stater Editor Bryan Wroten, from left, and TV2 News Director Kaitlyn Lionti speak with Allan Block and John Robinson Block at the opening of Franklin Hall at Kent State.
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KENT, Ohio - Marge McNab Block was a leader as a Kent State University journalism student in the 1930s, and yesterday her roles there and in her profession were recognized during the grand opening of Franklin Hall, a renovated 1926 structure that brings together the university's print and broadcast programs.

Inside the converged newsroom - it serves the Daily Kent Stater plus radio and television journalists - a room that will be used for interviews and conference space has been named in Mrs. Block's honor. A plaque on the door will tell about her, and a framed photo of Mrs. Block will hang just outside the room, said Sharon Marquis of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Renovation of the historic structure began in 2005 and included gutting the interior and building anew. An addition was constructed to house a television studio and control room.

The school of journalism and mass communication moved into the building in August.

Jeff Fruit, director of the school, noted during the grand opening that Mrs. Block along with Helen Dix in the 1930s led the first edition of the Kent Stater to be written entirely by women.

Her sons, Allan Block and John Robinson Block, attended the grand opening. Allan Block is chairman of Block Communications Inc., parent company of The Blade. John Robinson Block is co-publisher and editor-in-chief of The Blade.

Mrs. Block received a bachelor of arts in journalism in 1939 from Kent State. While still in school, she was a reporter on the Maumee Valley News. She also was a staff writer in the Kent bureau of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Mrs. Block (1946 photo) Mrs. Block (1946 photo)
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She was hired by the former Toledo Times in 1943. She became a reporter for The Blade in 1945 and covered police and city hall beats.

As a Blade feature writer, the world was her beat as she covered national political conventions in the United States, the coronation of Elizabeth II in England, and the people and places of the continent.

In 1948, she married Paul Block, Jr., the late publisher of The Blade. Mrs. Block was named director of features and women's news of The Blade in 1954 and expanded coverage to include matters of interest to modern women.

Mrs. Block died Sept. 30, 1960.

- Mark Zaborney



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