John D. "Jack" Shelley was born in Boone, Iowa, on March 8, 1912. He graduated
from Boone High School in 1929, and earned a Bachelor of Journalism Degree from
the University of Missouri at Columbia in 1935.
In 1935, after a short stay with the Iowa Herald in Clinton, Iowa, Shelley went
to work for WHO Radio in Des Moines, Iowa. He was assistant news director for
five years, then became news director for both radio and television until he
left in 1965. From 1944-45, Shelley was a war correspondent in Europe and the
Pacific covering the Second World War. He interviewed hundreds of combat
soldiers in both theaters. Shelley recorded one of the first broadcast
interviews with crew members of the airplanes that dropped the atomic bombs on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. He was aboard the battleship U.S. Missouri in
Tokyo Bay to cover the Allies' acceptance of the unconditional Japanese
surrender, and was one of 20 reporters chosen to cover the atomic bomb tests at
Yucca Flats, Nevada in 1953. The tape recorder Shelley took along to record the
event was one of the few to withstand the shock of the blast.
In 1965 Mr. Shelley joined Iowa State University as an Associate Professor of
Journalism. He served as a Professor from 1969 until his retirement in May 1982.
Iowa State University honored him for his academic contributions with an
Outstanding Teacher award in 1982. That same year he was also honored with a
Faculty Citation from the Iowa State University Alumni Association.
Jack Shelley helped found the Iowa Broadcast News Association, an organization
that in 1971 honored him by establishing the Jack Shelley Award. He is a past
president of the international Radio-Television News Directors Association,
which he helped found, and of the Associated Press Radio and Television
Association. He was president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council in 1981
and a member of a committee appointed by the Iowa Supreme Court to advise it on
the use of cameras and tape recorders in court trials. In 1980 he received the
Broadcaster of the Year award from the Iowa Broadcasters Association.