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Paula Madison

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Information about Paula Madison

Profile image of Paula Madison

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Television Executive
Journalist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
White
Favorite Food:
French Fries
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
China, Africa
Favorite Quote:
Mules work hard, race horses work smartly

Birthplace

Born:
8/24/1952
Birth Location:
New York, New York

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Television Executive
Journalist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
White
Favorite Food:
French Fries
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
China, Africa
Favorite Quote:
Mules work hard, race horses work smartly

Birthplace

Born:
8/24/1952
Birth Location:
New York
See how Paula Madison is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Television executive and journalist Paula Williams Madison was born in Harlem, New York in 1952 to Elrick Williams and Nell Lowe Williams. She attended Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx. Initially, Madison wanted to become an educator and spent her summers teaching inner-city youth about African American history. After high school, she received a scholarship to Vassar College and graduated with her B.A. degree in 1974.

Madison then moved to Syracuse, New York, where she became a graduate student at Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications and was hired as a reporter at the Syracuse Herald Journal. Her early career was spent as a newspaper reporter in New York and Texas, and as a television news manager and executive in Dallas, Tulsa, and Houston. Madison then returned to New York City as assistant news director at NBC4, and became the station’s vice president and news director in March of 1996. Shortly after, she took on a second role as senior vice president of diversity for NBC. In 2000, Madison was promoted to president and general manager of KNBC, making her the first African American woman to become a general manager of a top news network. She then stepped down from the diversity leadership role. When NBC purchased Telemundo, a Spanish-language network, Madison assumed responsibility for the newly acquired Telemundo stations in Los Angeles, California. In 2007, Madison was appointed executive vice president and chief diversity officer of NBC Universal. The parent company, GE, named her a company officer and vice president.

Madison has served in many organizations during her career. In addition to being named chairman and CEO of the Los Angeles Sparks, she also became a member of the WNBA Board of Governors. Madison is a board member of Greater Los Angeles United Way, a past chairman of the California Science Center Foundation, vice chair of National Medical Fellowships and the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, and chair of The Nell Williams Family Foundation. In 2013, Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed her a commissioner of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Madison has received many awards, including the Ida B. Wells award from the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) in 1998, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations in 1999, and the First Amendment Service Award from the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation in 2000. In 2005, Madison was named one of the “75 Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America” by Black Enterprise magazine and was included in the Hollywood Reporter’s “Power 100.” In 2010, she received the NABJ Legacy Award, was named to Ebony magazine’s 2013 Power 100 List, and received the Pinnacle Award from the Houston Association of Black Journalists.

Madison and her husband, Roosevelt Madison, live in Los Angeles, California.

Paula Williams Madison was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 19, 2013 and July 21, 2017.

See how Paula Madison is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Paula Madison's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Paula Madison lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Paula Madison describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Paula Madison discusses her mother's Chinese ancestry and her search for her Chinese relatives, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Paula Madison talks about her search for her Chinese relatives, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Paula Madison describes the culture of her Chinese ancestors
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Paula Madison describes her Chinese heritage
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Paula Madison talks about visiting the museum in her ancestral Chinese village and her family's educational philosophy
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Paula Madison talks about well known individuals of Chinese descent
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Paula Madison describes class hierarchy and race mixing in twentieth century Jamaica
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Paula Madison talks about how the marriage of Michael Manley, former Jamaican prime minister, influenced her pride in her race
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Paula Madison describes the origins of Jamaica's Maroon culture, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Paula Madison describes the origins of Jamaica's Maroon culture, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Paula Madison compares Rastafarian religion and Maroon culture
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Paula Madison discusses her mother's upbringing and immigration to the United States in the 1940s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Paula Madison talks about her paternal grandfather's occupation
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Paula Madison discusses her father's background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Paula Madison discusses her father's background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Paula Madison talks about her father's occupation and his influence on her
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Paula Madison talks about her father's relationship with his stepmother
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Paula Madison describes how Jamaican culture influenced her to build wealth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Paula Madison describes how her parents met in Jamaica
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Paula Madison talks about her parents' marriage and separation
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Pala Madison describes growing up with parents who were separated
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Paula Madison talks about her parents' personalities and her childhood memories
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Paula Madison talks about her father
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Paula Madison remembers the year she traveled to Jamaica with her father
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Paula Madison talks about visiting Jamaica with her father
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Paula Madison recalls challenging her father's colonialist mentality, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Paula Madison recalls challenging her father's colonialist mentality, pt.2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Paula Madison describes early childhood memories
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Paula Madison describes how her daughter influenced her natural hairstyle
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Paula Madison shares a few details about her brother Elrick Mortimer Williams, Jr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Paula Madison talks about her brother Howard Courtney Williams
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Paula Madison discusses her schooling and learning to read at an early age
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Paula Madison talks about her mother's protective nature
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Paula Madison describes what type of student she was in grammar school
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Paula Madison discusses how school shaped her leadership abilities
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Paula Madison remembers the assassination of Malcom X
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Paula Madison talks about high school in detail
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Paula Madison discusses how her background shaped her views toward school
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Paula Madison describes experiences with class and race issues pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Paula Madison Paula Madison describes experiences with class and race issues, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Paula Madison discusses how her mother's love of news media shaped her career path