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Randall Pinkston

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Information about Randall Pinkston

Profile image of Randall Pinkston

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Broadcast journalist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Pie (Lemon Meringue)
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Saint Martin
Favorite Quote:
Learn The Lesson And Find The Blessing.

Birthplace

Born:
3/3/1950
Birth Location:
Holly Bluff, Mississippi

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Broadcast journalist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Pie (Lemon Meringue)
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Saint Martin
Favorite Quote:
Learn The Lesson And Find The Blessing.

Birthplace

Born:
3/3/1950
Birth Location:
Holly Bluff
See how Randall Pinkston is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Broadcast journalist Randall Pinkston was born on March 3, 1950 in Yazoo County, Mississippi. His mother’s aunt, a retired domestic worker, and her husband, a construction worker, raised Pinkston as their son in Jackson, Mississippi.  As a child, Pinkston was fascinated by radio broadcast news. After graduating from Lanier High School in 1968, Pinkston attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where he joined the campus radio station, WESU-FM. Pinkston left Wesleyan University after the death of his grand-uncle and completed his undergraduate studies at Millsaps College, where he received his B.A. degree in history in 1973.  While attending college, Pinkston worked part-time at WJDX-FM and AM, and, in 1971, was hired as Saturday night anchor and producer for WLBT-TV in Jackson.

In August of 1973, after attending the Michelle Clark Fellowship Program for Minority Journalists at Columbia University, Pinkston was promoted to WLBT’s 6:00 PM newscast, the first African American to anchor the #1 newscast at Mississippi’s #1 television station. In 1974, he accepted a position with Post-Newsweek Station WJXT-TV, a CBS affiliate in Jacksonville, Florida, as the urban affairs director and producer. In 1976, Pinkston transferred to Post-Newsweek’s WFSB-TV in Hartford, Connecticut, where he held posts as anchor, reporter and producer of public affairs programs.

While working in Hartford, he earned his J.D. degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1980. That same year, Pinkston was hired as a correspondent with WCBS-TV, where he worked until 1990 when he was appointed as a CBS News White House correspondent. Pinkston reported on stories of national and international significance from the Persian Gulf War to the nomination of Justice Clarence Thomas. In 1994, he moved to the CBS New York news bureau and served as a correspondent for CBS Evening News as well as a contributor, reporter and correspondent for other CBS news broadcasts, including CBS Reports, CBS 48 Hours, and CBS Sunday Morning.  In 2013, Pinkston ended a thirty-three year career with CBS. His final report included an interview with Myrlie Evers Williams on Medgar Evers’ efforts to open broadcasting to minorities. 

After CBS, Pinkston worked as an adjunct professor at the City University of New York School of Journalism and The University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism, and as a freelance journalist for Al Jazeera America.

Pinkston’s work was first recognized by the Great New York Safety Council for his reporting on underage drunk driving and its influence in the shaping of New York state law on underage drinking and driving. He is the recipient of a national Emmy award and an Edward R. Murrow Award for his work on CBS Reports’ “Legacy of Shame,” and two other national Emmy awards for reporting on the death of Princess Diana and the TWA Flight 800 disaster. He has also received a Community Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for a report on the aids crisis among African Americans.

Pinkston lives with his wife, Patricia McLain, in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Randall Pinkston was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 16, 2014.

See how Randall Pinkston is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Randall Pinkston's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Randall Pinkston lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Randall Pinkston talks about being placed in the custody of his grandaunt and uncle
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Randall Pinkston describes his grandaunt's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Randall Pinkston describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Randall Pinkston describes living in Jackson, Mississippi with his grandaunt and uncle
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Randall Pinkston talks about relocating to Holly Bluff, Mississippi with his biological mother and great-grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Randall Pinkston describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Yazoo County and Jackson, Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Randall Pinkston describes the origin of his interest in broadcasting
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Randall Pinkston describes the lessons he learned from his grandaunt
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Randall Pinkston describes lessons he learned from his granduncle
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Randall Pinkston talks about the George Washington Carver Branch Library in Jackson, Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Randall Pinkston describes his family's meals and diet
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Randall Pinkston remembers his great-grandmother's cooking
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Randall Pinkston talks about his grandaunt's medicinal gardens and homeopathic medicinal recipes
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Randall Pinkston remembers his great-grandmother curing an earache for his biological mother
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Randall Pinkston describes his experience at Hall Elementary School in Yazoo County, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Randall Pinkston describes establishing a love for reading
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Randall Pinkston remembers joining Mount Helm Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Randall Pinkston remembers an influential Sunday school teacher
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Randall Pinkston lists his elementary schools
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Randall Pinkston remembers Emmet Till's death in 1955
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Randall Pinkston remembers racist confrontations at the zoo and on his paper route
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Randall Pinkston talks about his participation in the March Against Fear in 1966
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Randall Pinkston describes his experience at William H. Lanier High School in Jackson, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Randall Pinkston talks about his participation in high school enrichment programs at Tougaloo College and Jackson State University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Randall Pinkston talks briefly about Freedom Summer of 1964
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Randall Pinkston describes his college application process
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Randall Pinkston describes his first job in radio at WJDX-FM and in broadcast journalism at WLBT-TV
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vernon Smith talks about the death of his granduncle in 1969
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Randall Pinkston describes fighting the Draft Board and avoiding the Vietnam War
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Randall Pinkston describes working simultaneously in radio and television as a full-time student
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Randall Pinkston talks about Medgar Evers' appearance on WLBT-TV in 1963
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Randall Pinkston talks about United Church of Christ v. Federal Communications Commission, 1966 and becoming an anchor for the 6 o'clock news
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Randall Pinkston talks about William Dilday, the first African American named general manager of a network affiliate television station
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Randall Pinkston talks about graduating from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi in 1973
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Randall Pinkston talks about his experience in the Michele Clark Fellowship Program for Minority Journalists
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Randall Pinkston talks about leaving WLBT-TV channel 3
  • Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Randall Pinkston talks about an offer to join WJXT-TV Post-Newsweek Station in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Randall Pinkston describes the effect of the 1996 Telecommunications Reform Act
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Randall Pinkston talks briefly about African American journalist Bob Teague
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Randall Pinkston describes what he learned as an anchor at WLBT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Randall Pinkston describes his relationship with Jim Snyder at WJXT-TV, a Post-Newsweek Station in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Randall Pinkston remembers advice he received from Max Robinson, the nation's first African American broadcast network news anchor
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Randall Pinkston remembers the charter meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Randall Pinkston talks about the news team at Channel 9 in Washington, D.C. and Channel 9's sale by Post-Newsweek Stations
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Randall Pinkston explains why he decided to go to law school and describes the history of Church Street in Jackson, Mississippi
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Randall Pinkston remembers turning down an early job opportunity at a Nashville, Tennessee television station
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Randall Pinkston talks about joining WSFB-TV in Hartford, Connecticut in 1976 and being admitted into law school at the University of Connecticut School of Law
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Randall Pinkston describes making an attempt to buy channel 61 in Hartford, Connecticut, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Randall Pinkston describes how he got a job with CBS channel 2 in New York City
  • Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Randall Pinkston describes making an attempt to buy channel 61 in Hartford, Connecticut, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Randall Pinkston talks about turning down an opportunity at WSFB-TV in Hartford, Connecticut and his friendship with reporter Adrianne Baughns-Wallace
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Randall Pinkston talks purchasing a home from Adrianne Baughns-Wallace in Queens, New York
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Randall Pinkston lists journalists of color in American broadcast networks in 1980
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Randall Pinkston talks briefly about his college advisor, Daulton Lewis
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Randall Pinkston describes his experiences with former mayor Edward Irving "Ed" Koch of New York City
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Randall Pinkston talks about the death of artist Michael Stewart in police custody in 1983 and contemporary police misconduct
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Randall Pinkston talks about becoming New Jersey correspondent for WCBS-TV Channel 2, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Randall Pinkston talks about his coverage of HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson's presidential campaigns in 1984 and 1988
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Randall Pinkston talks about becoming New Jersey correspondent for WCBS-TV channel 2, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Randall Pinkston remembers the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Randall Pinkston explains how he became a White House correspondent in 1990, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Randall Pinkston explains how he became a White House correspondent in 1990, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Randall Pinkston describes his experience as a White House correspondent, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Randall Pinkston describes his experience as a White House correspondent, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Randall Pinkston describes traveling in the White House press pool
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Randall Pinkston describes his coverage of President George H.W. Bush falling ill and collapsing at a banquet in 1992, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Randall Pinkston describes his coverage of President George H.W. Bush falling ill and collapsing at a banquet in 1992, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Randall Pinkston critiques the George H.W. Bush Administration's handling of the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Randall Pinkston talks about general assignment and 'CBS Sunday Morning' reporting and celebrity profiles
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Randall Pinkston describes interviewing HistoryMaker James Cameron, founder of America's Black Holocaust Museum, about surviving a lynching attempt, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Randall Pinkston describes interviewing HistoryMaker James Cameron, founder of America's Black Holocaust Museum, about surviving a lynching attempt, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Randall Pinkston describes his coverage of the Unabomber bombings occurring between 1978 and 1995, and capturing Ted Kaczynski's photograph
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Randall Pinkston talks about his coverage of the September 11th terrorist attacks in 2001
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Randall Pinkston talks about foreign assignments, including his coverage of the search for Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora, Afghanistan caves, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Randall Pinkston talks about foreign assignments, including his coverage of the search for Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora, Afghanistan caves, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Randall Pinkston remembers the execution of four western journalists in Kabul, Afghanistan
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Randall Pinkston describes his living accommodations on assignment in Afghanistan
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Randall Pinkston talks about the potential dangers he faced on assignment in the Middle East
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Randall Pinkston talks about layoffs, internal issues within broadcast networks, and collaboration between media partners
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Randall Pinkston talks about inaccurate and irresponsible reporting in regards to Shia-Sunni relations
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Randall Pinkston talks about deaths and injuries of CBS news correspondents in the early 2000s
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Randall Pinkston describes a change in management at CBS that led to his demotion from the network to CBS Newspath
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Randall Pinkston describes leaving CBS
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Randall Pinkston talks about lucky moments in his career
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Randall Pinkston considers writing a book
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Randall Pinkston reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Randall Pinkston considers the condition of African Americans in contemporary America
  • Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Randall Pinkston lists people who had a significant influence on him early in his life, including the first black person he'd met with a home library