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Karen DeWitt

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Information about Karen DeWitt

Profile image of Karen DeWitt

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Reporter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Bindaetteok, Sushi
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Sag Harbor, New York, Portugal, Italy, the Mediterranean
Favorite Quote:
First decide what you need to do, then do what you need to do.

Birthplace

Born:
4/18/1944
Birth Location:
Washington, Pennsylvania

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Reporter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Bindaetteok, Sushi
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Sag Harbor, New York, Portugal, Italy, the Mediterranean
Favorite Quote:
First decide what you need to do, then do what you need to do.

Birthplace

Born:
4/18/1944
Birth Location:
Washington
See how Karen DeWitt is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Newspaper journalist and communications executive Karen DeWitt was born in Washington, Pennsylvania on April 18, 1944. DeWitt graduated from Miami University with her B.A. degree in english and philosophy. From 1966 to 1968, she enrolled in the U.S. Peace Corps. DeWitt began her journalism career in 1977 when she was hired by the Washington Post as a staff writer for its style section. That same year, the New York Times hired DeWitt as its national correspondent for its Washington D.C. bureau, where she served until 1981. In 1982, she was hired as a columnist for USA Today. While at USA Today DeWitt served as a foreign correspondent, White House correspondent and national editor. After six years, she was rehired as the national correspondent for the Washington Post. Then in 1997, DeWitt was hired as a senior producer for the critically acclaimed ABC News television magazine Nightline. After four years with ABC News, in 2001, she launched her own media and communications consultation company.

In 2003, DeWitt served as the communications consultant for several municipalities and non-profits, like the Washington D.C. Water and Sewer authority. She also served as editor and columnist for the Washington Examiner a year after being named director of communications for The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a civil and human rights coalition. In 2011, DeWitt was named communications manager for the prisoners’ rights advocacy group The Sentencing Project.

Throughout her career, DeWitt has amassed notable honors, including a 1999 award for best feature from the New York Association of Black Journalists for coordinating a Nightline show that featured the recorded recollections of former slaves. DeWitt also garnered a journalism award from the University of the District of Columbia and a research fellowship from the Japan Society.

Karen DeWitt was interviewed byThe HistoryMakers on June 16, 2012.

See how Karen DeWitt is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Karen DeWitt's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Karen DeWitt lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Karen DeWitt talks about her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Karen DeWitt talks about her grandmother's move to Washington, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Karen DeWitt talks about her maternal grandfather's college education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Karen DeWitt describes her mother's upbringing in Washington, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Karen DeWitt describes her mother's education and how her parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Karen DeWitt talks about her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Karen DeWitt shares some stories about her father's childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Karen DeWitt talks about how her mother left college to get married
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Karen DeWitt talks about Wilberforce University in the 1940s
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Karen DeWitt talks describes how her parents met, and her paternal grandmother's reaction to their marriage
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Karen DeWitt talks about her parents' move to Dayton, Ohio during World War II
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Karen DeWitt talks about her parents' occupations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Karen DeWitt talks about growing up in public housing in Dayton, Ohio
  • Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Karen DeWitt describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Karen DeWitt talks about her siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Karen DeWitt describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Karen DeWitt talks about taking classes at the Dayton Art Institute as a youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Karen DeWitt talks about her activities as a youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Karen DeWitt talks about starting school, her chores, and the first time she ate real spaghetti
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Karen DeWitt recalls each time she was disciplined by her parents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Karen DeWitt talks about elementary school and her favorite activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Karen DeWitt talks about her experiences in school and her African American teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Karen DeWitt discusses the racial make-up of various high schools in Dayton, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Karen DeWitt talks about the publications that she read while growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Karen DeWitt describes how her family members confronted race issues
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Karen DeWitt talks about her awareness of racism as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Karen DeWitt recalls attending Catholic school and going to summer camp
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Karen DeWitt talks about converting to Catholicism as a teenager
  • Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Karen DeWitt talks about literature she was exposed to during her childhood and teenage years
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Karen DeWitt talks about Catholic school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Karen DeWitt remembers her teachers, social activities, and jobs in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Karen DeWitt recalls being exposed to Paul Laurence Dunbar's poetry
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Karen DeWitt describes one of her earliest stories and being senior class president in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Karen DeWitt talks about the African American population at her high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Karen DeWitt talks about family trips
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Karen DeWitt talks about her parents' influence on her college decision
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Karen DeWitt describes Miami University's strict rules
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Karen DeWitt describes becoming more aware of discrimination while attending Miami University in Oxford, Ohio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Karen DeWitt describes an incident at the Pittsburgh Courier that left a lasting impression on her
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Karen DeWitt talks about the Civil Rights Movement during her summer at the Pittsburgh Courier
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Karen DeWitt talks about her coworkers at the Pittsburgh Courier
  • Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Karen DeWitt talks about being in Washington, D.C. during the March on Washington
  • Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Karen DeWitt remembers her father's death in 1964
  • Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Karen DeWitt talks about her Peace Corps training in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Karen DeWitt talks about the Peace Corps and her experiences in their Advanced Training Program
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Karen DeWitt remembers her favorite teachers and courses at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Karen DeWitt talks about graduating from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Karen DeWitt describes serving in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Karen DeWitt shares a story from her time in Ethiopia, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Karen DeWitt shares a story from her time in Ethiopia, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Karen DeWitt talks about her former students from Ethiopia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Karen DeWitt talks about Ethiopian society
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Karen DeWitt comments on learning of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death while in Ethiopia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Karen DeWitt talks about getting a job at the New York Post
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Karen DeWitt talks about her fondness for Arabic culture
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Karen DeWitt talks about meeting Robert Maynard and marrying Jesse W. Lewis
  • Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Karen DeWitt talks about living in the Middle East from 1969 to 1973
  • Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Karen DeWitt talks about the getting hired at the National Journal in 1973
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Karen DeWitt talks about losing her job at the National Journal in 1974
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Karen DeWitt talks about covering the energy crisis of 1973
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Karen DeWitt describes getting hired by the Washington Post
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Karen DeWitt talks about her first piece for the Washington Post
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Karen DeWitt talks about leaving the Washington Post for the New York Times
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Karen DeWitt talks about quitting her job at the New York Times
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Karen DeWitt describes why she was unhappy at the New York Times
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Karen DeWitt talks about working remotely in Washington, D.C. for the New York Times
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Karen DeWitt talks about freelancing and becoming a columnist for USA Today after quitting the New York Times
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Karen DeWitt talks about her TV show on BET, "Karen's Kitchen"
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Karen DeWitt talks about writing for USA Today
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Karen DeWitt talks about covering the Reagans for USA Today
  • Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Karen DeWitt talks about taking leaves of absence from USA Today to teach
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Karen DeWitt talks about being a Japan Society Fellow while at the New York Times
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Karen DeWitt talks about teaching at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Karen DeWitt talks about going back to work at the New York Times in 1990
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Karen DeWitt describes the competitive atmosphere at the New York Times
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Karen DeWitt talks about leaving the New York Times to work for ABC News' "Nightline"
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Karen DeWitt describes working as a senior producer for ABC News' "Nightline"
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Karen DeWitt talks about a piece entitled "Found Voices" that she produced for ABC News' "Nightline" pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Karen DeWitt talks about a piece entitled "Found Voices" that she produced for ABC News' "Nightline" pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Karen DeWitt describes her responsibilities as a senior producer for ABC News' "Nightline"
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Karen DeWitt talks about working for the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority and "The Examiner" newspaper
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Karen DeWitt talks about working for the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Karen DeWitt describes "The Examiner" newspaper
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Karen DeWitt talks about her contributions to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Karen DeWitt talks about learning from her young coworkers at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Karen DeWitt talks about working for Sheriff Michael A. Jackson and the Jack B. Johnson scandal
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Karen DeWitt talks about the Sentencing Project and the U.S. prison system
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Karen DeWitt comments on race and ethnicity in the United States
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Karen DeWitt describes what fuels her writing and stories that interest her
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Karen DeWitt describes some of her ideas for future writing projects
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Karen DeWitt talks about the need to change the way social services operate, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Karen DeWitt talks about the need to change the way social services operate, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Karen DeWitt reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Karen DeWitt talks about what she might do differently
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Karen DeWitt talks about her family and friends
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Karen DeWitt talks about how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Karen DeWitt narrates her photographs