News & History

KARK reporter killed in accident got her start at Henderson

Haven Hughes, a 2022 graduate of Henderson State University, will be remembered as a “great ambassador” for the college and its media program. | Photo courtesy of The Oracle

By JOEL PHELPS | The Arkadelphian

As a freshman, Haven Hughes stepped onto Henderson State University’s campus knowing exactly what she wanted to do after college. She wanted to be a television news reporter, and that’s just what she did. Hughes, who graduated in 2022, landed a position as a reporter for KARK 4 soon after graduating.

Her life and career both were cut short Monday after a motorcycle accident in Little Rock. She was 22.

Saddened by the news, professors at Henderson’s communications department said Hughes, a Bryant native, was a one-of-a-kind student whose passion for the news was evident from day one.

“There’s a handful of [students] that are super memorable, and she was one of them.”

— Paul Glover, professor of communication at Henderson State University

As advisor of the department’s broadcast program, communications professor Paul Glover recalled meeting Hughes and her parents at Reddie Day, when prospective freshmen visit Henderson to get a feel for campus life and the university’s program offerings. “She specifically came to the TV studio and said, ‘This is what I want to do.’” said Glover.

When Hughes was on campus, she was most likely in the KHTV studio — even during the summer months working on her demo for a post-collegiate career. “She became the face of HendersonTV,” said Glover, who described Hughes as an enthusiastic student with an infectious personality. “She was happy to be doing her work, and happy to be living life.”

Michael Ray Taylor, who recently retired as chair of the department, taught Hughes in several news writing courses and advised her senior seminar project. Taylor’s classes focused mainly on the fundamentals of writing news, and under his wing Hughes wrote for the student newspaper, The Oracle. But she was more attracted to being on camera. “She always made it clear that her goal was to work in TV news, and she was focused on that the entire time,” said Taylor. “She achieved that, and I know she was proud of it.”

Taylor added that Hughes was involved in campus activities outside of the media department, as well, and spoke highly of the program to prospective students. “She was a big Reddie,” said Taylor. “She was a good ambassador for us.”

Both Taylor and Glover agreed that Hughes was a special student destined for a successful journalism career. Taylor wrote her a letter of recommendation for the job at KARK, and Glover said he wasn’t at all surprised to see her face on television right out of college. 

“I’ve had so many students, and I love them all,” Glover said, “but there’s a handful that are super memorable, and she was one of them. The world is going to be less lit without her.”