Maynard Forum

Gwen Ifill: 1955 to 2016

Gwen Ifill, a pioneering African-American journalist whose career evolved from an internship in a newspaper city room to the pinnacle of national political journalism, died Monday from endometrial cancer in Washington at age 61.

We at the Maynard Institute mourn her loss. She was a generous mentor, particularly to young people, and a great friend of the Institute.

Ms. Ifill was co-anchor of “The PBS NewsHour” and moderator of the PBS “Washington Week” program. She moderated a Democratic primary debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in February, before illness forced her to take a leave of absence from PBS.

From her early newspaper days in Boston and Baltimore, Ms. Ifill was a pioneer, often the only African American woman covering local political beats. The New York City native moved to the Washington Post and New York Times before transitioning her energies to broadcast media with jobs at NBC and PBS.

Gwen Ifill, who overcame barriers as a black female journalist, dies at 61 - The Washington Post

Gwen Ifill, Award-Winning Political Reporter and Author, Dies at 61 - The New York Times

Remembering Gwen Ifill - PBS

Postscript: Gwen Ifill - The New Yorker

The Life and Example of Gwen Ifill - The New York Times

 
  

Gwen Ifill: An Appreciation

By Dorothy Gilliam

Dorothy Butler Gilliam is a founding member of the Maynard Institute board of directors. She is a pioneering African-American journalist and a retired columnist for the Washington Post.

I was moved to wracking sobs when I learned of Gwen Ifill’s death today.  We interacted on so many occasions – she was my friend, former colleague at The Washington Post, my fellow worshipper at Metropolitan AME Church where she used proceeds from her book to help restore the historic edifice in downtown Washington.  She was a generous person with brains and heart who made an unparalleled impact on the world of journalism for all women but especially for African American women.

A few years ago, I joined in a roast of Gwen at the National Press Club.    I recalled meeting Gwen when she came to The Post in l984.  I shared that as the first African American woman hired as a reporter at the newspaper I had battle scars as well as triumphs from inside and outside the newsroom.  But Gwen was part of the new young generation—working on the national staff, covering presidential politics—Gwen was Baaad!  I joked that she was smart enough to leave the newspaper before her morning paper was delivered by drones and eventually to land in television.  I recalled it was many years later before I learned that Gwen and I had something in common—we were both PK’s—Preacher’s Kids—daughters of ministers in the AME Church.  Our fathers’ ministries often required us to live in different cities—hard times for the kids because that meant new schools, neighborhoods, playmates.  We had to learn survival skills early. I joked that she still shuddered each April when she remembered when ministers like her father learned whether they and their families would have to move to a new city or could remain where they were for another year.  I was flattered that in response to my toast she called me a role model.

Gwen was the consummate professional who played the news straight in all her work.  But occasionally on the PBS Newshour she could give a guest a quick, slightly incredulous look that to me said, “Oh no, you didn’t go there!”  I loved the joy that emanated from Gwen despite the pressures of her work.  I loved Gwen Ifill—one of the most successful female journalist in journalism history.


 
  

OV correspondents win SPJ community journalism award

Four Oakland Voices correspondents were awarded the prestigious Society of Professional Journalists’ NorCal community journalism award for radio/audio for a series of articles about East Oakland artists. The program, called The Sights and Sounds of East Oakland, was produced in collaboration with KALW public radio station.

Angela Scott won for a piece about Eastside Arts Alliance’s program to train young graffiti artists; Sabah Williams won for a story about Yaelisa, a Flamenco dancer, and her East Oakland studio; Aqueila Lewis won for a piece that used her talent as a performance artist to tell the story of her grandmother’s displacement from East Oakland and Bill Joyce won for his story about  Laila Espinoza and her project to create art outdoors — a mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe depicted as a mermaid at a tennis court.

The correspondents worked with KALW journalists and editors to create their radio stories, including Hannah Kingsley-Ma, Liza Veale, Jeremy Dalmas and Holly McDede.

The stories  can be heard here: http://kalw.org/term/sights-sounds-east-oakland#stream/0. The stories also ran in print versions published on the Oakland Voices website oaklandvoices.us.

Oakland Voices is a community journalism program that trains community residents to find and tell the stories of their neighborhoods, which are posted on the Oakland Voices website oaklandvoices.us. The program is largely funded by The California Endowment and is affiliated with the Maynard Institute of Journalism Education and the East Bay Times.

 
  

Meet Our New Voices Correspondents

Oakland Voices is a community journalism program that gives East Oakland residents basic journalism skills and training to tell the stories of their communities from their perspectives. The stories are posted on the Oakland Voices website oaklandvoices.us and sometimes run in the East Bay Times. This is the fifth year of the program and we’ve just chosen our next group of community correspondents. In addition to the training, they will hear veteran journalists talk about their careers, they will cover a range of stories about the organizations and individuals that make up their communities - from small businesses to non-profit community organizations to local heroes. This group has the opportunity to cover local candidates and issues in the November election. In addition, they will organize two forums on issues of interest to their community. But most of all they will uncover stories that are generally ignored or unseen. - Brenda Payton, Oakland Voices Coordinator

Voices is supported by a grant from The California Endowment.

Marabet  Morales, 21, student, administrative assistant American Indian Model Schools

“It is my hope that I finish community college in May with my Associate’s and transfer to SF State to get my Bachelor’s in Creative Writing. To be honest if I could get a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing, Latin American Studies, and Music, I think I would be the happiest person on earth. I myself acknowledge that writing and music are a constant evolution of life.“

“I would like to write about immigrants from all over Latin America who are educated professionals but are unable to be successful here in the U.S. I would interview people who are close to me and would be willing to venture out to meet more people. For example, my mother is a doctor, yet money, time, and the formal examinations in another language can prove difficult.”




Kat Ferreira, 39, marketing and communications consultant

“When I’m not working, I try to stay active in the community by supporting local nonprofit organizations and neighborhood groups. Most recently, I volunteered for the 2016 Eastlake Music Festival.”

“What is the news media’s ethical responsibility when reporting about perpetrators and victims of sex crimes?  In 2016, two high profile crime stories presented the Bay Area news media with an ethics test and most failed miserably.”

[Read more]

 
  

AAJA demands apology for Fox News report on Chinatown voters

The Asian American Journalists Association has demanded an apology from Fox News after a correspondent with “The O’Reilly Factor” purported to examine views of Chinese Americans on the U.S. presidential election.

Jesse Watters, a Fox News correspondent and self-described “political humorist,” used his “Watters World” segment on the program hosted by Bill O'Reilly to conduct street interviews in New York City’s Chinatown.

In the clip, Watters focused on people who clearly were not native English speakers. He asked one man if he knew karate. Women were asked, “Do I bow to say hello?” Clips of martial arts movies were edited into the five-minute piece.

[Read more]

 
  

ASNE releases newsroom diversity details: numbers show who works where

Diversity percentages from 733 newsrooms across the United States have been released by the American Society of News Editors. For the first time, the numbers provide newsroom diversity details in every state and community.

To see the ASNE’s coverage of the data, please visit:

http://asne.org/blog_home.asp?Display=2168

 
  

Book Review: New York Civil War history highlights journalism scoundrels, heroes

By R.E. Graswich

Two days after the Civil War battle of Antietam, as the bodies of more than 23,000 men lay rotting in the late September sun, a photographer named Alexander Gardner arrived at the Maryland battleground to make photojournalistic history.

Gardner and an assistant worked among the dead for four days, making 70 photographs on glass plates to document the carnage. They transported the plates to New York, where Gardner's partner, Matthew Brady, created albumen prints. Several weeks later, Brady opened a photographic exhibition called "The Dead of Antietam" at his studio on Broadway.

With an eye for financial opportunity that surpassed Gardner's photo-journalistic genius, Brady created a new art form. He sold the horrific images in various formats, from postcards to large prints bound in leather. For the first time in history, he brought the explicit human devastation of war home to the public.

Brady shared no credit with Gardner -- the photographer's name was absent from Brady's prints and displays -- but the exhibition established the power and authority of battlefield photography and photojournalism.

[Read more]

 
  

George Curry: A Black Man Working

George E. Curry, journalist, editor, columnist, activist, educator, mentor and friend, died suddenly over the weekend from heart failure at his home in Maryland. The legendary Chicago Tribune reporter was 69. Among many appreciations of Mr. Curry's legacy is the following tribute by Wilma Jean Randle, a Maynard alumna. She wrote from Dakar, Senegal, where she works as an international media consultant:

I could not believe the news... only because you can't expect something like that... But I know that all is God's will and George Curry did more in the time allotted to him than most of us can hope to do.

He had this way of pushing (getting you) to do things that you didn't even know you had it in you to do.

It is because of George that I got our Twin Cities Black Journalists chapter to start doing the high school journalism mentorship program in St. Paul when I was at the St. Paul Pioneer Press -- and then when I got to Chicago.

[Read more]

 
  

Clinton quotes Maynard in speech to journalists

Hillary Clinton wanted to make an impression upon the reporters, writers and editors at the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists Joint Conference in Washington Friday, Aug. 5.

So she went straight to the source. She opened her speech with a quote from Robert C. Maynard.

“Someone that I had the privilege of knowing, the late, great Bob Maynard, former owner of the Oakland Tribune, once said — and I’ll quote Bob — ‘It is in seeing ourselves whole that we can begin to see ways of working out our differences of understanding our similarities,’ and becoming a more cohesive nation,” Clinton said.

[Read more]

 
  

Treasured journalism interviews now accessible with digital links

In the 1970s, Nancy Hicks Maynard and her husband, Robert Maynard, knew how editors would respond when asked why they didn't hire black reporters: we can't find anyone qualified.

So the Maynards devised a strategic push back. They asked editors for specific examples of journalistic qualifications that were beyond the capabilities of African Americans.

"It gave us an incredible confidence that there was an integrity problem with the attempt to keep black journalists not only out of the business but out of the leadership," Hicks Maynard said.

[Read more]