Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

David Hardy, Leader of "Daily News 4," Dies

Send by email
Monday, January 17, 2011

"Only Major American Newspaper Convicted of Racism"

As ABC Turned Screws, Carole Simpson Turned to Johnnie Cochran

Black Alumni at Columbia J-School Raise $100G for Scholarships

Texas Monthly, Innocence Project Team to Free Inmate

Toledo Jews Divided Over Rick Sanchez Visit

Friend Says Kay Mills Wrote, Lived in the Spirit of King

Press Freedom Groups Hail Fall of Tunisian Dictator

Israeli "Humiliation" of Foreign Journalists Protested

Short Takes

David Hardy, rear, led four black journalists at the New York Daily News who won a landmark jury verdict against the newspaper on April 15, 1987.  Others are Causewell Vaughan, second from left; Steven W. Duncan, center, with glasses; and Joan Shepard, next to Duncan. Their lawyers included Susan Singer, center, Daniel Alterman, left, and Pia Gallegos, right. (Credit: Black Enterprise)

"Only Major American Newspaper Convicted of Racism"

David W. Hardy, the leader of the successful racial discrimination lawsuit filed by four black journalists at the New York Daily News in the late 1980s, died on Friday after a heart attack, family members and friends told Journal-isms.

Hardy, 68, was stricken while working part time in customer service for the Vamoose Bus Co. in New York, a job he held as he worked on a book about his lifelong struggles with racism.

"The trial was considered a landmark because it was the first race discrimination suit brought by editorial employees of a large newspaper to go before a jury," Alex S. Jones wrote for the New York Times on June 11, 1987, reporting that the News, then owned by the Tribune Co., had reached an out-of-court settlement with the four.

David W. Hardy"People with knowledge of the accord who asked not to be identified said The News had agreed to a financial package of $3.1 million and an affirmative-action effort to be monitored by the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission," Jones wrote.

Les Payne, then an editor and columnist at Newsday and a co-founder of the National Association of Black Journalists, testified for the plaintiffs. He used stronger words.

"The New York Daily [News] stands as the only major American newspaper convicted of racism in a court of law. The tabloid earned this distinction not as the lone practitioner of white-job reservation but rather because it was the only race-drunk newspaper arrogant enough to submit to a breathalyzer by a jury at trial," Payne wrote on his blog in 2009.

". . . When David Hardy challenged the promotion policy of the News, its Chicago-based Tribune owners sought to crush the reporter and his three co-plaintiffs. . . . It was a pitched, courtroom battle between David and Goliath."

The four charged that they were paid less, given worse assignments and promoted less frequently than white colleagues because of race discrimination, and they charged that the newspaper illegally retaliated against them for filing their civil rights complaints or other reasons. In addition to Hardy, a reporter, the plaintiffs were Causewell Vaughan, a copy editor; Steven W. Duncan, an assistant news editor; and Joan Shepard, Manhattan cultural affairs editor. Only Vaughan survives.

In 1999, Hardy told Pamela Newkirk, author of "Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media":

"If black people like Fannie Lou Hamer and Muhammad Ali had the moral courage to risk life and limb, and eschew material gain, to stand for the principles of racial equality, then we had a moral obligation to carry on our struggle. After all, we only stood to lose a job."

Newkirk wrote, "Hardy, perhaps more than the other plaintiffs, was perfectly groomed for the epic battle with the News. Hardy joined the News as a reporter in 1967 after working as a sports reporter for the Plainfield Courier in New Jersey," his hometown paper. "He attended some of the early meetings of black journalists who, in 1968, began discussing the formation of the National Association of Black Journalists and in 1969 left the News to become a reporter for the Washington Post, the industry leader in the number of black staff reporters."

According to the family obituary, "As a young reporter for the Courier-News (and the only black on the paper) he was thrust into covering the racial violence that erupted in Plainfield in July 1967.

"It was in the midst of the Plainfield violence that Hardy came to witness the killing of a white police officer, James Gleason, who was beaten to death by a raging black mob after he shot a 22-year black man in the street. Hardy's eye-witness account of how Gleason was killed received wide distribution on the Associated Press wires and he subsequently appeared as a guest panelist on CBS-TV's 'Face the Nation' program when New Jersey Governor Richard Hughes was grilled about the events in Newark and Plainfield.

"In the fall of 1967 Dave testified before the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (commonly known as the Kerner Commission), a blue-ribbon panel appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to examine the root causes of the racial outbreaks in America 's urban centers during the summer of 1967. In its final report, issued in early 1968, the Commission cited Dave’s on-the-scene observations in making its unprecedented analysis, which determined that white racism was the root cause of the racial uprisings that stunned the nation and drew worldwide attention."

Hardy returned to the News in 1972, and he "recalled returning to a place where blacks were racially taunted by white supervisors who failed to recognize their abilities."

After the trial, "the Daily News' management was overhauled and about 10 black journalists joined the paper during the change," Wayne Dawkins reported in his "Black Journalists: The NABJ Story," quoting then-editor Gil Spencer.

In 1993, Mortimer B. Zuckerman, owner of U.S. News & World Report, bought the paper and eliminated 34 percent of the editorial, circulation and advertising jobs covered by the Newspaper Guild. Hardy was among the 38 percent of workers over age 40 who were let go, Dawkins wrote in his follow-up book, "Rugged Waters: Black Journalists Swim the Mainstream." 

His achievements at the News included a series on convicted ex-New Jersey state senator David Friedland, who while working as a federal informant faked his death in Bahamas to avoid jail and became the subject of an international manhunt by the FBI for more than two years, the family obituary said.

Among his employers after leaving the Daily News was the Dorf Feature Service of the Star-Ledger in Newark.

Funeral services are scheduled for Thursday at 11 a.m. at Rose of Sharon Community Church, 825 W. 7th St., Plainfield, N.J. 07063. Telephone: (908) 561-9070

Johnnie Cochran Jr. putting on a pair of gloves during O.J. Simpson's criminal trial in 1995. Six years later, responding to the contract offer made to Carole Simpson, he told ABC News President David Westin, "this development is shocking." (Pool photo by Vince Bucci)

As ABC Turned Screws, Simpson Turned to Johnnie Cochran

Carole SimpsonABC News executives brought so much pressure on veteran anchor Carole Simpson to leave the network that she enlisted the aid of the late, fear-inducing defense lawyer Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. to fight back, Simpson discloses in her new memoir.

"They tried to make me so unhappy that I would quit," Simpson writes in "News Lady."

"No, I would not make it that easy for them. . . . . I decided that since ABC had raised my discomfort level, I would raise its discomfort to a higher level. I called super lawyer Johnnie Cochran. Before he passed away, just his name struck fear in the hearts of anyone on the opposing side. I knew what his involvement would mean to the company. I didn't know Johnnie Cochran, but he knew me from television and was a big fan.

"I was never interested in suing ABC News, but Cochran — after he heard my stories — thought I had grounds," Simpson writes, discussing negotiations with the network in 2001. "Top executives were playing hardball with me and I was going to play hardball back. Johnnie said he would send a letter to ABC News suggesting they not 'mess' with me. . . .

"The letter apparently sent parent company Disney and ABC News into a panic. I heard that Disney wanted no legal problems with Cochran and me and told the News Division to 'fix this.' "

Cochran died of a brain tumor in 2005 at age 67. He had become a legal superstar after helping to clear O.J. Simpson during a sensational murder trial in which Cochran uttered the famous "if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit." However, the family said when he died that "he and his family were most proud of the work he did on behalf of those in the community." For example, Cochran helped develop the NFL's Rooney rule, which requires teams to consider candidates of color when hiring head coaches, general managers and filling high-level administrative positions.

After Cochran's letter to then-ABC News President David Westin, Simpson writes, "my agent went into negotiations with ABC over the provisions of the contract. They made a better offer and we reached agreement. I decided to sign it and make the most of the silly little assignment I was given as ABC's Ambassador to Schools."

Simpson anchored her last "World News Tonight Sunday" on Oct. 19, 2003, and worked as ABC's schools ambassador until budget cuts killed the program in 2005. She wrote that she traveled to 31 cities and probably reached close to 5,000 students discussing the importance of a free press, the First Amendment and keeping up with the news.

Media writer Howard Kurtz noted this month in the Daily Beast that, "Simpson is bringing out the book through the self-publishing firm AuthorHouse. She says she began sending her proposal to literary agents before leaving ABC. 'All of them turned me down over a three-year period and said things like, "it wasn't sexy enough," "I could get sued and publishers are fearful of that," and similar rejections . . . I think there was concern about the people and institutions I criticized.' So she decided to do it herself."

Simpson has produced an eye-opening account of the everyday expressions of sexism and racism in the television news business, recounting the graphically offensive statements made to her by colleagues over the years, most times without identifying the perpetrators by name.

She says sexism was more of a problem than racism, asserting that black men and white men relate to each other with "guy talk" in ways that mean black men have a leg up on black women in the business.

Although the book could use another run through a copy editor, it showcases Simpson's storytelling abilities and will provide any journalism student with an unvarnished look at how the television news business really operates. There are valuable lessons, too, in balancing family and career.

Westin gave a party for Simpson after they agreed on her post-broadcasting role, she writes. There, Simpson broke into the 1970s-era Gloria Gaynor song, "I Will Survive."

She sang, "At first I was afraid, I was petrified, thinking I couldn't live without ABC on my side . . .

"I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong, and I grew strong. I learned how to carry on. . . .

"I've got all my life to live and I've got all my love to give and I'll survive. I will survive."

Simpson continued, "Before Westin left the gathering he leaned over to me and said, 'You'll do just about anything, won't you?' "

Black Alumni of Columbia J-School Raise $100G

Phyllis T. GarlandThe Black Alumni Network of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism has raised more than $100,000 to create and endow a scholarship fund named for the late Phyllis T. Garland, the first woman and first African American faculty member to receive tenure at the school.

That "not only means that the fund will be endowed, creating a scholarship that will be awarded annually in perpetuity, but it also means that we are the first endowed fund to receive Kluge Matching Scholarship Challenge funds!" Wayne Dawkins wrote in the Jan. 15 issue of his Black Alumni Network newsletter.

Garland died in 2006. She was also New York editor of Ebony magazine and an editor and reporter at the Pittsburgh Courier, where her mother also worked.

In 2007, John Kluge, a 1937 Columbia College graduate, designated a $20 million portion of a $400 million gift to support endowed scholarships at the Journalism School.

Luther P. Jackson Jr.

The gift is to be used to "match" the amount given or pledged by June 30, 2013, toward a named endowed scholarship.

Under the Journalism School’s Kluge Scholarship Challenge, a match will apply to all gifts of at least $100,000 for scholarship funds to support students studying at the school.

"The matching funds [matched 1:1 to what we raised for the BA Network/Phyllis T. Garland Fund] will create the BA Network/Luther P. Jackson Jr. ’51 Fund," the story continued. "We are thrilled to be able to double the amount of scholarship aid that will be named in honor of the Black Alumni Network and two distinguished faculty members."

Jackson, who taught at the school for 24 years, died in 2008 at age 83. He was the first African American professor at the school and one of the first black journalists at the old Newark (N.J.) Evening News and at the Washington Post.

Helping to lead the fund drive was A'Lelia Bundles, the great-great-granddaaughter and biographer of entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker.

"As a Columbia trustee and as one of Phyl Garland's advisees, I worked with Wayne Dawkins, the J-School development office team and other alumni to raise the funds needed to fully endow the Black Alumni Network/Phyllis Garland Scholarship by making personal appeals through letters, emails and calls," she told Journal-isms by e-mail. "I was motivated to complete the endowment in part because Phyl's guidance on my masters project about Madam C. J. Walker and A'Lelia Walker had a major impact on my life's work. It was Phyl who insisted that I write about the Walker women in 1975 at a time when there seemed to be little interest in their lives. She validated the importance of their story for me. My 30 year career as a network television producer and executive was rewarding in many ways, but it's the books I write now that are my true passion.

"Some background: I'm a big believer in alumni involvement, especially for alumni of color who traditionally may not feel as connected to their colleges and universities. My point is not rah-rah school spirit so much as getting involved to influence the agenda and helping students with scholarships and mentoring. I've been fortunate to have received distinguished alumni awards from all three of my schools (Columbia, Harvard and Radcliffe) because of my volunteer activities. I've been the beneficiary of the inspiration of great professors and lasting friendships and have had the opportunity to make a difference.

"Part of my mission with each of these institutions has been to engage more alumni of color and to make the case that their involvement makes a difference to future generations. Through this particular effort, I saw many alumni, who never had contributed, make small gifts of $10 and $25 and larger gifts of $500 to $1000. Others who have always contributed, doubled and tripled the size of their usual contributions."

Texas Monthly, Innocence Project Team to Free Inmate

Anthony Graves"When Anthony Graves was arrested for capital murder, he thought it was a practical joke. A surveillance camera in the Brenham, Texas, police station captured Graves shaking his head and smiling," Lauren Kirchner wrote for the Darts and Laurels section of the January/February issue of Columbia Journalism Review. " 'This is a big mistake,' he said. 'Somebody’s messing with me, right?'

"It was a mistake, but it wasn’t a joke. Graves, then twenty-six, didn’t know he was about to begin an eighteen-year fight to clear his name of a gruesome crime he did not commit. He would spend most of those years in solitary confinement on death row.

"Graves was charged with the brutal murder of six members of the Davis family in Somerville, a small city northwest of Houston. Robert Carter, the absent father of the youngest victim, four-year-old Jason Davis, became the first suspect when he showed up to the family’s funeral with burns on his face and a shaky alibi. But from the investigation’s outset, the police worked from the assumption that Carter couldn’t have committed the horrific murders alone, because multiple weapons had been employed: the victims were attacked with a knife, a hammer, and a gun before the house was set on fire.

"When his interrogators pressured him to name an accomplice, Carter, to deflect attention from his wife, also a suspect at the time, offered the name of someone he barely knew: his wife’s cousin, Anthony Graves. Though there was no evidence connecting him to the crimes other than Carter’s accusation, Graves was convicted and sentenced to death.

"Carter was executed in May 2000. His last statement from the gurney was a declaration that Graves was innocent. 'It was me and me alone…. I lied on him in court,' Carter said, just minutes before being dosed with a lethal injection. Graves remained on death row, his case unexamined.

Nicole Cásarez"Graves gained a powerful ally in 2002, when Nicole Cásarez, a journalism professor at Houston’s University of St. Thomas, began investigating his case with her students as part of an Innocence Network project. . . . .

"The Houston Chronicle and other papers wrote periodic updates on Graves’s case through the years, but it took a Texas Monthly senior editor, Pamela Colloff, to do justice to Graves’s story. Colloff began speaking with Cásarez in the spring of 2010, and for months, Cásarez made thousands of pages of court documents — and Graves himself — available to Colloff as she worked to wrangle the convoluted record into a coherent narrative. The story that came out of that work, in the October 2010 issue, 'Innocence Lost,' is a gripping, utterly unsentimental, can’t-put-it-down read, with the detail and depth that months of research and weeks of writing allowed.

". . . This LAUREL goes to Nicole Cásarez, who investigated this story over eight years, and to Pamela Colloff, who deftly translated the facts into a compelling narrative for a wider audience."

Toledo Jews Divided Over Rick Sanchez Visit

Rick Sanchez"Last month, former CNN correspondent Rick Sanchez made the Top Ten list — of infamy, not popularity," Alan Abrams wrote Thursday for the Cleveland Jewish News.

"His inflammatory remarks about Jews and their influence in the media were rated as Number 7 on the compilation of the 2010 Top Ten Anti-Semitic Slurs widely disseminated by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. This followed the firing of Sanchez as a CNN correspondent after he made the comments in a radio interview.

"That’s why the news that Sanchez would be highlighting two fundraising events organized by Adelante, a Latino social service agency in Toledo, raised eyebrows and some concerns within the city’s Jewish community. The events are being held Jan. 18, the day after the city pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King and diversity.

"Adelante’s executive director Julia Torres Barden said last week she is 'not ready' to publicize either event, a private luncheon with Latinos and a public forum in conjunction with the Toledo Leadership organization to address the high dropout rate among school age Latinos. Only one person interviewed for this article had heard about the events.

" 'I am sort of disappointed that they are doing this,' says Howard Friedman, professor emeritus of the College of Law at the University of Toledo and author of the popular Internet blog Religion Clause. 'Sanchez seems to be an unfortunate role model to hold up to the community.

"'Non-profits are having a difficult time fundraising, so they often turn to bringing in a controversial speaker hoping people will respond by attending,' Friedman adds. 'The best response would be for people not to attend. If they lost money on it, maybe they’d think twice next time.' "

Friend Says Kay Mills Wrote, Lived in the Spirit of King

Kay Mills (Credit: Courtesy Dawn Garcia)"As we prepare to celebrate Martin Luther King Day, we reflect on a time when minorities and women struggled for equality in the United States," Sandra Fish wrote Saturday for Politics Daily.

"King was the motivation and the spirit behind the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, but many others did their part in the continuing efforts to bring about equality for all in America.

"Kay Mills was one of those people. She was a friend of mine, and of hundreds of other women journalists for whom she helped blaze a trail. She died Thursday of a heart attack at age 69 in Santa Monica.

". . . She lived her life in the spirit of Rev. King — and in the spirit of those lesser known leaders of the movement. In 1991, she left the newsroom to write books and freelance, covering the issues of equality that were near and dear to her heart.

" 'This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer,' paid tribute to one of the unsung heroines of the civil rights movement. Hamer helped organize the Mississippi Freedom Summer and attended the 1964 Democratic National Convention as vice-chairwoman of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, a challenge to her state's all-white delegation.

"As an Alicia Patterson journalism fellow in 1995, Kay worked on the project 'Faces of Head Start,' which later became part of her book 'Something Better for My Children: The History and People of Head Start.' And in 'Changing Channels: The Civil Rights Case That Transformed Television,' she recounted the successful challenge to a Jackson, Miss., TV station's license for its failure to cover the civil rights movement.

" 'Kay was fearless,' wrote Pat Sullivan, a longtime friend of Kay's and a Washington Post staff writer, in an e-mail. 'She left a steady job because she believed there was an audience for serious nonfiction about women and civil rights figures, and she proved that to be true. She dug and dug, finding the untold anecdote, the unheralded pioneer and the unexamined trends in our common history. She then told those tales so that the rest of us could understand why it mattered.

" 'Her work took her to Montana Indian reservations, Mississippi sharecropper huts and inner-city Head Start programs in Los Angeles, not to mention the days spent in the National Archives warehouses in Washington, D.C., ' Sullivan wrote."

Press Freedom Groups Hail Fall of Tunisian Dictator

"The Committee to Protect Journalists is heartened by news reports that three jailed Tunisian journalists have been freed as the repressive regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has fallen. CPJ calls on the new interim Tunisian government to release one other journalist believed to be still in custody," CPJ said on Friday.

"Bloggers Azyz Amamy and Slim Amamou, arrested on January 7, were reported released from Mornaguia Prison on Thursday shortly after Ben Ali made his final speech to the nation. During the speech, Ben Ali belatedly acknowledged his government's repression, saying that censorship of conventional and online media would come to an immediate end. Instead, his long regime ended."

Secretary-general Jean-François Julliard of Reporters Without Borders said, "President Zine el-Abidine [Ben] Ali was an all-powerful dictator for 23 years, tolerating no criticism and never hesitating to jail his detractors. His departure must now lead to a complete break with the years of repression."

Israeli "Humiliation" of Foreign Journalists Protested

"The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the humiliating treatment of several journalists by security personnel assigned to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. CPJ calls on the prime minister to ensure that similar episodes are avoided in the future," the press freedom group said on Friday.

". . . On Tuesday, journalists arrived at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem to cover an annual meeting of the Israeli prime minister with representatives of the foreign press, according to a statement released by Al-Jazeera. Al-Jazeera's Jerusalem bureau received the invitation several days in advance and, as required, sent the names of reporters and crew members who would be transmitting live coverage of the conference. Al-Jazeera has been taking part in the event for seven years, according to the station.

"Al-Jazeera said its crew, consisting of multiple reporters and two cameramen, arrived early after taking into consideration the complications of security inspections. Despite being one of the first teams at the hotel, Al-Jazeera staffers were stopped and made to wait for two and a half hours while other foreign journalists were allowed to enter. Al-Jazeera said its journalists had to undergo a humiliating physical examination. Najwa Simri, Al-Jazeera news producer, endured a 'thorough, painstaking and physical security screening even though Simri had told the guard that she is pregnant,' Al-Jazeera's statement said. The station said a female guard ordered Simri to remove her bra; when Simri refused, she was informed that she would be denied entry. Simri then had to wait 15 minutes until her clothes were returned so she could leave.

"Other journalists, including a Wall Street Journal reporter, were strip-searched and forced to take off their pants, according to a statement released by the Foreign Press Association in Israel, or FPA. Walid Al-Omary, Al-Jazeera's bureau chief, had to undergo a similar, humiliating inspection, according to Al-Jazeera. Several members of the press corps walked out of the event."

Short Takes

Follow Richard Prince on Twitter

Facebook users: Sign up for the "Richard Prince's Journal-isms" fan page.

Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site BugMeNot.com provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

Send tips, comments and concerns to Richard Prince.

To be notified of new columns, contact journal-isms-subscribe@yahoogroups.com and tell us who you are.

Special thanks to The McCormick Foundation for its generous support of the Journal-isms column.

 

Comments

David W. Hardy

 
What is left out of the appreciations for David Hardy is how close David followed the Metro Seven's attack on newsroom racism at The Washington Post is early 1972 when David was still working there. We talked almost nightly and through the ...weekends about the entire process, partcularly filing a discrimination complaint with the EEOC. We were expecting The Post newsroom management to balk at making what they would consider radical changes in improving editorial diversity. Our hope was the EEOC would take The Post into federal court if managment refused to negotiate an equitable settlement, but the EEOC -- even after finding The Post to be a discriminatory employer -- disappointed the Metro Seven by deciding against taking legal action when The Post management refused to negotiate. David learned from that weak EEOC response to their own study and was determined not to let The New York Daily News get away with the discriminatory behavior that had gone on for many years! David's strategy was to take The News directly to court.See More

David Hardy

David Hardy wasn't afraid to mix it up with the Powers That Be. During the trial against the Daily News, the defendants tried to diminish David Hardy, paint him as a less than upstanding purpose, in an effort to minimalize the importance of the trial. He was happy to acknowledge he wasn't perfect, but also happy to point out that his imperfections were mutually exclusive from the newspaper's institutionalized bigotry.

He also had a big laugh and a great sense of humor and never lost it, no matter what else was going on. He was a larger-than-life character who will be sorely missed.

Jackie Jones, Jones Coaching, LLC, Washington, DC

 

David Hardy

Thank you Mr. Prince for the information on Dave Hardy.  Even though I knew Dave for many years working at the Star-Ledger, he never talked much of his accomplishments, as was his nature.  He was humble, friendly and simply loved to talk politics, local and national.  He was kind enough to show me some of his work at the News exposing scams in Hudson County, and told a few stories of the Plainfield riots.  And for that I am grateful.  I will miss him.  He was a just a great, great friend.

Dave Hardy (from Roger Witherspoon)

Dave Hardy was a complex guy who worked hard at his professionalism at a time when black journalists weren't wanted in much of the media and all the NYC newspapers had separate and unequal pay scales.

 What pissed him off finally and led to the suit at the end of 1978 was his discovery of a federal investigation and pending indictment of a sitting U.S. Senator Harrison A. Williams of New Jersey. He informed the editors about it and they stole his story and gave it to a white reporter.

 There were editors at the paper - notably  AME Richard Blood -- who openly said a Negro's byline should never lead the paper. Giving stories originated by or covered by blacks to a white writer was not uncommon. 

At the time, there was a black journalists group formed at the News after the four-month strike to negotiate with management about a number of discriminatory policies, including the separate and unequal pay scales for black writers, bonuses, raises, byline thefts, etc. Bob Herbert had been chosen head of the negotiating committee, and preliminary meetings had been held.

 But when David's Harrison Williams story was stolen,  he got really angry, got a lawyer, and announced he was suing nimmediately and not waiting to complete any negotiations.  

He was a talented guy and extremely well connected in New Jersey's Hudson County, then the most politically corrupt county in the state where political corruption is an Olympic sport.  He once wrote an ongoing a series of stories about ethical lapses of a Hudson County judge, which infuriated the judge's son, a lawyer and former college football player.  

The lawyer accosted David on the steps of the court house, yelling "I'm gonna kill you, nigger." David asked him to step into the parking lot in back and the guy refused, yelling "I'm going to beat your nigger ass right here, right now." 

So the lawyer charged up the wide steps of the Jersey City courthouse, shouting all the way.  David decked him, breaking his jaw with the blow and the guy got a concussion when his head hit the steps.  David came back to the office, then in West Orange, wrote a story about the altercation, and went back to reporting on the judge. He was never physically challenged in Hudson County again. And his stories needed no defending. 

Roger w

The Magnificent Carole Simpson

I first met Carole Simpson in the 1960s, when she was a reporter in Chicago for wbbm news radio. There were only a few of us working in mainstream media in the city then. I was the first black reporter for the daily Chicago Tribune. We formed a small journalists group, one that preceded NABJ by several years. We'd meet at Carole's apartment on 55th street in Hyde Park and near the University of Chicago, order pizza and beer and discuss our challenges and dreams. Carole was beautiful, smart, and she and her husband were great hosts. I've run into her on several occasions in the years that followed and she always continued to impress me with her intelligence. professionalism and concern for the young journalists trying to follow in her footsteps. Definitely a class act and a terrific journalist.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.