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Pamela Newkirk

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Information about Pamela Newkirk

Profile image of Pamela Newkirk

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Journalism Professor
Author

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Lobster
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Costa Rica
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
11/13/1957
Birth Location:
New York, New York

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Journalism Professor
Author

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Lobster
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Costa Rica
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
11/13/1957
Birth Location:
New York
See how Pamela Newkirk is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Journalist, professor and author Pamela Newkirk was born in New York City to Louis and Gloria Newkirk. Growing up, her father collected African American memorabilia which inspired her enduring interest in black history and culture. Newkirk attended New York University where she received her B.A. degree in journalism. She later earned her master's degree in journalism and her Ph.D. degree in comparative and international education from Columbia University.

In 1984, after writing for numerous African American newspapers, Newkirk began her first position as a daily reporter for the Knickerbocker News in Albany, New York. There, she worked her way up from a suburban beat reporter to the New York State Legislature. In 1987, she was hired as a Capitol Hill correspondent for Gannett News Service in Washington, D.C. Among her assignments was covering the 1988 Democratic National Convention. In 1990, Newkirk was one of the reporters who traveled to South Africa with Reverend Jesse Jackson where she witnessed Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. Her articles from South Africa for The New York Post earned her the International Reporting Award from the New York Association of Black Journalists. In 1992, her New York Newsday reporting team was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Spot News. A year later, Newkirk joined the journalism faculty at New York University where she later became director of undergraduate studies.

In 2000, Newkirk published her first book, Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media, which won the National Press Club Award for Media Criticism. The book was adopted in journalism schools across the country and Newkirk lectured widely on racial portrayals and media diversity. Her articles on race and African American culture have been published in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Nation, Artnews, The Media Studies Journal, and The Washington Post.

In 2004, her second book, A Love No Less: Two Centuries of African American Love Letters, was published by Doubleday. Newkirk's 2009 book, Letters from Black America, a collection of more than two hundred letters written by African Americans over the course of three centuries, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Her fourth book, Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga, was published by Harper Collins in 2015.

Newkirk is married to Michael Nairne and they have two daughters, Marjani and Mykel.

Pamela Newkirk was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 3, 2012.

See how Pamela Newkirk is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Pamela Newkirk's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Pamela Newkirk lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her maternal grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Pamela Newkirk describes the way her mother talked about Harlem
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her mother's aspirations and occupations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her paternal grandfather and great-grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her paternal grandmother and her father's siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Pamela Newkirk shares some stories from her father's childhood in the Bronx, New York
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her father's successful siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her father's antique business
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Pamela Newkirk describes how her parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her parents' marriage at the age of eighteen and their divorce
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Pamela Newkirk describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Pamela Newkirk remembers the 1964 New York World's Fair
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Pamela Newkirk describes her parents' personalities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Pamela Newkirk describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Pamela Newkirk talks about performing at the Apollo Theatre with her childhood singing group, the Baby Dolls
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Pamela Newkirk recalls music groups she saw perform at the Apollo Theatre
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Pamela Newkirk describes what it was like to perform at the Apollo Theatre
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Pamela Newkirk remembers the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John F. Kennedy
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Pamela Newkirk talks about how following the news and politics as a child shaped her interest in writing and journalism
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her exposure to African American literature bookstores while growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Pamela Newkirk describes her father's collection of black memorabilia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her favorite subjects in grade school and her extracurricular activities in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Pamela Newkirk talks about being bussed to school in the 1970s and the integration of Sheepshead Bay High School in Brooklyn, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Pamela Newkirk talks about racist gangs in Sheepshead Bay, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Pamela Newkirk talks about graduating from Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Pamela Newkirk describes her mother's neighborhood in Brooklyn
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her favorite teachers and mentors in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Pamela Newkirk describes the path she took to attend New York University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Pamela Newkirk talks about living in Los Angeles for a year
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Pamela Newkirk talks about when she decided to be a journalist
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her favorite poet, Nikki Giovanni, and her politics
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Pamela Newkirk talks about moving back to New York from California and joining Percy Sutton's mayoral campaign in 1976
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Pamela Newkirk describes her experiences attending New York University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Pamela Newkirk talks about newspapers and newspaper editors that aided her development as a reporter
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Pamela Newkirk describes how she met her husband
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Pamela Newkirk talks about moving to Albany, New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Pamela Newkirk talks about some of her reporting in Albany, New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Pamela Newkirk talks about moving to Washington, D.C. to work for Gannett News Service in 1988
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Pamela Newkirk talks about former Governor of New York, Mario Cuomo
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Pamela Newkirk talks about covering the 1988 Democratic National Convention
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Pamela Newkirk talks about Reverend Al Sharpton and the Tawana Brawley case
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Pamela Newkirk talks about taking a job at the New York Post in 1989
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Pamela Newkirk talks about the changes at the New York Post and going to South Africa
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Pamela Newkirk describes Nelson Mandela's release from prison, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Pamela Newkirk describes Nelson Mandela's release, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Pamela Newkirk describes the days immediately before Nelson Mandela's release, and the police presence during the release
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Pamela Newkirk describes what she learned about South African culture
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Pamela Newkirk talks about the effects of withdrawing U.S. dollars and the British pound from South Africa
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Pamela Newkirk talks about leaving the New York Post for New York Newsday in 1991
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her major stories at the New York Newsday
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Pamela Newkirk describes the Crown Heights riots
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Pamela Newkirk discusses rioting and racial unrest in early 1990s New York
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Pamela Newkirk talks about the 1992 subway crash in New York City
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Pamela Newkirk talks about becoming an adjunct professor at New York Unviersity while at New York Newsday
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her teaching career at New York University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Pamela Newkirk talks about writing for the Nation while teaching at New York University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her first book
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Pamela Newkirk talks about the challenges of being a black reporter in the mainstream media
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Pamela Newkirk talks about a chapter from her book on the New York Daily News discrimination lawsuit of 1987
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Pamela Newkirk talks about interviewing Bryant Gumbel for her first book
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Pamela Newkirk talks about the reception her first book received
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Pamela Newkirk comments on the dilemmas black reporters in mainstream media face, as described in her first book
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Pamela Newkirk talks about how her book is being used in university classrooms
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Pamela Newkirk talks about the Presidential Scholars Program at New York University, and becoming director of New York University Ghana
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Pamela Newkirk shares some of the highlights of working at New York University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Pamela Newkirk talks about becoming a full professor at New York University and her book Letters from Black America
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Pamela Newkirk talks about the reception of her book, Letters from Black America
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Pamela Newkirk talks about how Derrick Bell came to write the introduction for her first book
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her next book on Ota Benga
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Pamela Newkirk talks about the misinformation surrounding Ota Benga's story
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Pamela Newkirk talks about the historical perception of race in New York
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Pamela Newkirk describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community today
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Pamela Newkirk reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Pamela Newkirk talks about what she would have done differently in life
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her family, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Pamela Newkirk talks about her family, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Pamela Newkirk talks about how she would like to be remembered