(WSYR-TV) — Walt Shepperd, past president of the Syracuse Press Club and founder of the Media Unit, died on Wednesday, in an announcement on Media Unit’s Facebook page.
Shepperd graduated from Colgate University in 1962, did graduate work at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School, and served as faculty at Colgate University, Syracuse University, Onondaga Community College, and the Syracuse City School District.
Shepperd was also the assistant editor of Chris Powell’s Home Town News from 1965 to 1967 and a founding editor of the Syracuse Gazette. Shepperd also worked at the Syracuse New Time as a columnist and senior editor in 1971.
In 1976, Shepperd founded the Media Unit, a national award winning training program for CNY teens. In 1979, the Media Unit created “Rough Times Live,” which was the longest running weekly television broadcast in the country that was produced completely by teenagers. The Media Unit shut down in 2019 after 43 years.
Shepperd also worked for a season as executive producer of WIXT-Channel 9’s “Alive in Syracuse.” WIXT was NewsChannel 9’s call sign from 1978 to 1982.
Shepperd’s work also appeared in The Post Standard, Urban CNY, The Banner, Newsday, Scholastic Teacher, Finger Lakes Magazine, Metroland, and Survival Prose, among others.