Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Distinguished Alumni

Dawson Nail

Dawson "Tack" Nail - 1980

Dawson “Tack” Nail, who received his Bachelor of Science degree from Southwestern in 1950, has been in Washington since 1955, when he accepted a rewrite desk position with Broadcasting Magazine.  By the time he left that job in 1964 to become managing editor and a minority owner of Television Digest, Inc., he had established himself as an expert in the regulation of television and had been promoted to senior editor.  TW Digest publishes four newsletters- Television Digest with Consumer Electronics, Public Broadcasting Report, Satellite Week and Video Week- the annual 2,400-page Television Fact book, CATV Atlas and various special supplements. 

Subscribers include high-ranking executives’ at most commercial television stations across the United States and at the networks, trade associations, station representative firms, program producers, lawyers, engineers, communications professors, researchers, congressmen, courts, and regulatory officials. 

Nail, whose nickname has been “Tack” since his childhood days at the Masonic Home orphanage in Guthrie, is serving as vice-chairman for broadcasting of the national Society of Professional Journalists-Sigma Delta Chi Freedom of Information Committee, and he holds the same office in the Washington chapter of Broadcast Pioneers.  A former president of the Washington professional chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, he is a director of the National Broadcasters Club and an active member of the National Press Club.  He is a long-time advocate of total First Amendment rights for broadcast journalism and was once a guest questioner on an hour-long “Meet the Press” television program dealing with CBS’ freedom of information conflict with the House Commerce Committee over the program “The selling of the Pentagon.” 

More recently, Nail was one of 15 journalists chosen to attend a three-week seminar at the University of California, San Diego, on “Freedom of Speech, the Press and the Electronic Media.”  The sponsor was the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The journalist has lectured at many major universities- among them Temple, San Francisco State, American, John Hopkins, Howard, San Diego State, Oklahoma State and the University of California at Los Angeles.  He conducted a three-week seminar on broadcast regulation at Bowling Green, Ohio, University. 

In 1978, Nail was elected along with national television newsmen Walter Cronkite and Mike Wallace as “Broadcasting Preceptors” by San Francisco State University.  He was recognized primarily for his reporting on First Amendment issues.  That same year he was the keynoter for San Francisco State’s annual Broadcast Industry Conference. 

In addition to the baccalaureate degree from Southwestern, Nail holds a Master of Arts degree in business journalism, which he received in 1955 from Oklahoma State University.  He and his wife, Joan, are the parents of six children.