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Eric Deggans

Journalist Eric Deggans was born on November 6, 1965 in Washington, D.C. He was raised in Gary, Indiana and graduated from Andrean High School. In the 1980s, while attending Indiana University, Deggans worked as a professional drummer and toured with Motown recording artist The Voyage Band. He received his B.A. degree in political science and journalism from Indiana University in 1990.

Deggans first held municipal reporting positions at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Press newspapers in Pennsylvania. He then served as the music critic for the Asbury Park Press newspaper in Neptune, New Jersey. In 1995, Deggans joined the Tampa Bay Times, then called the St. Petersburg Times, as its pop music critic. From 1997 to 2004, he worked as a TV critic for the Times, and, from 2004 to 2005, he sat on the paper’s editorial board and wrote bylined opinion columns. Deggans then returned to the Tampa Bay Times news desk, first as a media writer in 2005, then as the TV critic in 2006. In 2010, he made national headlines when he interviewed former USDA official Shirley Sherrod at the National Association of Black Journalists’ summer convention in San Diego, California. Deggans left the Tampa Bay Times in 2013 to take a job as NPR's first full-time TV critic.

Deggans published his first book, Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation, in 2012. He also contributed to the Poynter Institute’s The New Ethics of Journalism, which was published in August 2013. Deggans’ writing has appeared in The New York Times online, Salon magazine, CNN.com, The Washington Post, Village Voice, VIBE magazine, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Sun-Times, The Seattle Times, Emmy magazine, Newsmax magazine, and Rolling Stone Online, among others. Deggans also taught at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, Loyola University, California State University, Indiana University, the University of Tampa, and Eckerd College, and has guest hosted CNN’s media analysis show Reliable Sources.

Deggans served as chair of the Media Monitoring Committee for the National Association of Black Journalists, and sat on the board of directors for the national Television Critics Association and the Mid-Florida Society of Professional Journalists. In addition, he served on the board of educators, journalists and media experts who select the George Foster Peabody Awards for excellence in electronic media.

Deggans was named as one of Ebony magazine's "Power 150" in 2009. In 2013, he was awarded the Florida Press Club’s first-ever Diversity Award, and the National Association of Black Journalists’ Arts & Entertainment Task Force Legacy Award. Deggans also received reporting and writing awards from the Society for Features Journalism, American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Florida Society of News Editors.

Eric Deggans was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 12, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.197

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/12/2014

Last Name

Deggans

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Charles

Occupation
Schools

Frederick Douglass Elementary School

Hebrew Academy of Northwest Indiana

Andrean High School

Indiana University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Eric

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

DEG02

State

District of Columbia

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

11/6/1965

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

St. Petersburg

Country

United States

Short Description

Journalist Eric Deggans (1965 - ) , NPR's first full-time TV critic, worked at the Tampa Bay Times for eighteen years as an entertainment critic and columnist. He also authored Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation.

Employment

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh Press

Asbury Park Press

Tampa Bay Times

NPR

Milton Coleman

Newspaper editor Milton R. Coleman was born on November 29, 1946 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Coleman grew up in the Hillside Terrace public housing project in Milwaukee. He attended Fourth Street Elementary School and then graduated from Lincoln Junior and Senior High School. Coleman received his B.F.A. degree in music history and literature from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In 1971, he was named a Southern Education Foundation Fellow. In 1974, Coleman was awarded a fellowship to attend the Michele Clark Summer Program for Minority Journalists at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Coleman began his career in journalism as a reporter for the Milwaukee Courier. He then worked as a reporter and editor for several minority-oriented news outlets, including the African World newspaper in Greensboro, North Carolina; the All-African News Service; WHUR-FM in Washington, D.C.; and the Community News Service of New York. Coleman also worked at a major metropolitan newspaper, the Minneapolis Star, before joining the The Washington Post in 1976 as a reporter on the metropolitan desk where he covered politics and government in Montgomery County, Maryland and the District of Columbia. In 1980, he was promoted to the city editor. Coleman then moved to the national news staff in 1983 where he covered minorities and immigration, the 1984 Presidential campaign, state and local governments, and the U.S. Congress. In 1986, he was hired as the assistant managing editor for the metropolitan news where he directed the newspapers local coverage. In July of 1996, Coleman was promoted to deputy managing editor of The Washington Post.

Coleman is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, and the Inter-American Press Association. He served as a member of the nominating committee for the Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism and as the chairman of the Seldon Ring Award for Investigative Reporting Judging Committee. In April of 2010, Coleman was elected as the president of the American Society of News Editors; and, in October of 2011, he was elected as the president of Inter-American Press Association. In 2012, Coleman was selected as the inaugural University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Foundation Alumni Fellow.

Milton R. Coleman was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 22, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.125

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/23/2013

Last Name

Coleman

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Richard

Occupation
Schools

Columbia University

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Lincoln High School

Golda Meir Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Milton

Birth City, State, Country

Milwaukee

HM ID

COL23

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Wisconsin

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/29/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Newspaper editor Milton Coleman (1946 - ) was the managing editor of The Washington Post. He also served as president of the American Society of News Editors and the Inter-American Press Association.

Employment

Milwaukee Courier

Student Organization for Black Unity

All African News Service

Community News Service

Minneapolis Star

Washington Post

African World

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Milton Coleman's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Milton Coleman lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Milton Coleman remembers his maternal grandfather, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Milton Coleman remembers his maternal grandfather, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Milton Coleman describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Milton Coleman describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Milton Coleman describes his likeness to his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Milton Coleman talks about his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Milton Coleman recalls moving to the Hillside Terrace housing projects in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Milton Coleman describes the Hillside Terrace housing project in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Milton Coleman describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Milton Coleman describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Milton Coleman talks about his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Milton Coleman talks about the history of the Great Migration, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Milton Coleman talks about the history of Great Migration, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Milton Coleman remembers his experiences in primary and secondary school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Milton Coleman recalls the basketball team at Lincoln Junior-Senior High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Milton Coleman recalls his primary school mentors

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Milton Coleman describes his early encounters with media and editing

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Milton Coleman talks about the talents of his brother, Jerome.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Milton Coleman describes his interest in sports when he was young, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Milton Coleman describes his interest in sports when he was young, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Milton Coleman recalls secondary teachers and individuals that inspired him, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Milton Coleman recalls secondary teachers and individuals that inspired him, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Milton Coleman recalls secondary teachers and individuals that inspired him, pt. 3

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Milton Coleman talks about his involvement in organizations as a high school student

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Milton Coleman recalls his honors and awards in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Milton Coleman recalls enrolling at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Milton Coleman talks about Professor Edith Borroff

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Milton Coleman remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Milton Coleman recalls changing his focus to African American ethnomusicology

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Milton Coleman describes his involvement with the black student movement

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Milton Coleman recalls his introduction to journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Milton Coleman remembers writing for Negro Digest

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Milton Coleman recalls his introduction to Hoyt W. Fuller

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Milton Coleman talks about his graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Milton Coleman remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Milton Coleman recalls directing the Soul Shack program in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Milton Coleman describes his role at the Milwaukee Courier

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Milton Coleman remembers moving to North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Milton Coleman talks about the Student Organization for Black Unity

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Milton Coleman remembers moving to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Milton Coleman describes his reasons for founding the All African News Service

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Milton Coleman talks about his early challenges at the All African News Service

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Milton Coleman recalls the reporters and writers at the All African News Service

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Milton Coleman talks about the emergence of black organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Milton Coleman remembers joining the staff of WHUR Radio in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Milton Coleman remembers the Michele Clark Summer Program for Minority Journalists

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Milton Coleman describes his experiences at Columbia University

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Milton Coleman describes his transition to the Minneapolis Star

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Milton Coleman recalls his experiences at the Minneapolis Star

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Milton Coleman describes his decision to join the staff of the Washington Post

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Milton Coleman recalls his start at The Washington Post

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Milton Coleman remembers Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Milton Coleman remembers Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Milton Coleman talks about gun violence

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Milton Coleman remembers his promotion to city editor of The Washington Post

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Milton Coleman remembers covering the black community for The Washington Post

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Milton Coleman remembers Janet Cooke's article about a child heroin addict, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Milton Coleman remembers Janet Cooke's article about a child heroin addict, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Milton Coleman recalls his doubts about Janet Cooke's reporting, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Milton Coleman recalls his doubts about Janet Cooke's reporting, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Milton Coleman describes the aftermath of the Janet Cooke scandal

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Milton Coleman talks about the importance of journalistic integrity

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Milton Coleman recalls the impact of the Janet Cooke scandal on his career

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

8$7

DATitle
Milton Coleman talks about his early challenges at the All African News Service
Milton Coleman describes his decision to join the staff of the Washington Post
Transcript
So you just couldn't get the papers to pay their bills on time--now, this is probably, no matter what kind of service you had, it probably would be an issue in the black (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$ (Simultaneous) Yeah. And because of--I mean, that was the beginning of the thing--of the black--of the black press. You know, the black press had been at its high point in the '60s [1960s]. And then as is so frequently the case, once white folks start doing it, the black folks go out of business, you know. And it was always clear to me from my days at the Courier [Milwaukee Courier] that so much of the advertising in the black press at that time was not consumer driven. Then the advertising came primarily out of the public relations budget of the supermarkets. But they weren't really trying to get black folks to buy their cabbage and coleslaw. They were just trying to look good. And even to this day, a lot of advertising toward ethnic publications is not consumer driven. You know, it's public relations driven. And the black press had really been good until white folks started covering the Civil Rights Movement, 'cause up until that time, if you wanted to read about what was happening in the South, you had to read the Chicago Defender and the Afro-American Newspapers; the Atlanta Daily World, you know. The black press told you about the lynchings. The white press did not. And so I was part of the generation, probably on the tail end of the generation of people who came out of the black press into mainline newspapers, you know.$$I've been told not just in journalism, but in many other fields, doors for opportunity, you know, popped up after the '68 [1968] riots.$$ Oh, yeah.$$And (unclear) mean black people who had not even--didn't even dream about being in a riot were able to get a job, you know, in so many fields. They were the first African American--I interviewed the, you know, the first African American to do this or do that, anything you can think of almost.$$ Yeah.$$You know, so. They were actually recruiting people to be a part of like, Newsweek or Time or whatever.$$ If you read the Kerner Commission report on the chapter on the news media, it paints a whole picture of what life was like for black folks in the media at that time. I mean, Carl Rowan was the only black syndicated columnist. The only one, you know. And there were hardly any editors or--because, you know, essentially, white guys cover the Civil Rights Movement, and that was their springboard to higher positions in the news media, you know.$ (Simultaneous) Right. And I, and I wrote a, I wrote a series on Minneapolis finances that became part of my packet that I sent out looking for a job. And so I started looking for a job after I'd been--I had already been turned down by the Dayton Daily News, and turned down by The Philadelphia Inquirer a year earlier. And so I get this letter from the woman who's in charge of recruiting for The Washington Post newsroom, because I had applied for another job in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]. I put Maynard [Robert C. Maynard] down as a reference, and Maynard had given this woman the clips, and she wanted me to come and interview at The Post. And so I had three interviews set up. One at The Washington Post, thanks to Maynard; one at The Philadelphia Inquirer, and one at the Washington bureau Newsweek. I had these three interviews. And so I come down and do these--all the interviews, and I get back to Minneapolis [Minnesota], so Faye [Coleman's wife, Faye Edwards Coleman] says, "Well, what's the story?" I said, "Well, I have two interviews--I have two job offers. I have one from The Philadelphia Inquirer, and one from The Washington Post." She said, "Which one's the better offer?" I said, "Well, actually The Philadelphia Inquirer has the better offer." She said, "Why?" I said, "Well, if I go to The Washington Post, I'll be covering government and politics in Montgomery County of Maryland. If I go to The Philadelphia Inquirer, I'll be covering the governor." She said, "Where's the governor?" I said, "In Harrisburg [Pennsylvania]." She said, "I hope you have fun." I decided to come to Washington [D.C.] (laughter). But it was a good offer in both places, but she was not about to go to Harrisburg. Wise woman that she was, 'cause Three Mile Island occurred a year or so later. And so that's how I wound up coming to The Post. And I--while I was in Minneapolis, I was mentored by, not only by Maynard, but by Joel Dreyfuss, who later became all kinds of things including the managing editor of theroot.com. But Joel was--I would write stories and send clips of those stories to Joel, and Joel would critique them in a no holds barred way, and Maynard and Austin Scott, who at the time was with The Washington Post, but had been with the Associated Press. And Joel taught me to always be concerned about who your editor is and to try to get an editor who would not only tell you why your story is no good, but would help you understand how to make it better. And I learned that from Joel, and I learned how to write better from Joel, 'cause Joel was--Joel at the time was at The Washington Post, and he was on the style staff and, in fact, when I came down for interviews, I stayed in Joel's apartment in Washington, 'cause I had my interviews in Philadelphia--in Harrisburg on, like, a Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. And my interviews at The Post were, like, on Monday and Tuesday. So I came down to Washington and stayed in Joel's apartment. He was away. And Joel, himself, had been the center of controversy, because he had trapped--he had been on the job as a Los Angeles [California] correspondent for The Post, and had been denied that job in a very public way, 'cause Ben Bradlee wrote a memo to Joel saying that, "Joel, you're a good reporter. Everybody wants a good reporter in Los Angeles, but nobody wants a pain in the ass," and all of that had become public. And so when I came down here, I told Joel. I said, you know, "Joel, if I'm offered a job at The Post, I'm not so sure I'd take it." And Joel said, "Why?" And I said, "Well, because of what went down between you and Bradlee." And Joel said, "You'd be a fool if you do that. What happened between me and Bradlee is between me and Bradlee." And Joel said very prophetically, "You might be able to do things at The Washington Post that I could never do." So with that advice from Joel and the sage advice of my wife (laughter), I came to The Washington Post.

Mary C. Curtis

Newspaper editor and news correspondent Mary C. Curtis was born on September 4, 1953 in Baltimore, Maryland. She was the youngest of five children born to Thomas Curtis and Evelyn Curtis. After graduating from Seton High School in Baltimore, Maryland in 1971, she enrolled at Fordham University in New York City and graduated form there in 1975 with her B.A. degree in communications. In 2006, Curtis was awarded a Nieman Fellowship from Harvard University.

From 1985 through 1994, Curtis served in a variety of editing positions at The New York Times, including as editor of “Home, Education, Life” and “The Living Arts,” a section in the National Edition that she helped to develop. She also served as the Features editor for the Arts and Entertainment section at The Sun in Baltimore. In addition, Curtis held positions as a reporter and as an editor with The Associated Press in New York, Hartford, Connecticut and with the Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. She also contributed news articles to TheRoot.com, theGrio.com, National Public Radio Creative Loafing , and served as a national correspondent for AOL’s PoliticsDaily.com. In 2011, she joined the The Washington Post as a contributor for the blog, “She the People.” She covered the 2012 Democratic National Convention for The Charlotte Observer.

Curtis is a member the National Association of Black Journalists. Curtis received the Carmage Walls Prize in 2005 for commentary in a competition sponsored by the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association. She is the recipient of several Green Eyeshade Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). The North Carolina Associated Press recognized Curtis with the Thomas Wolfe Award for her writing “My Rebel Journey,” an examination of Civil War heritage groups. She received the Clarion Award from the Association for Women in Communications in 2010 and 2012. Curtis was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Region IV National Association of Black Journalists in 2004.

Curtis and her husband, Martin F. Olsen, live in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Mary C. Curtis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 8, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.156

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/8/2013

Last Name

Curtis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

C.

Schools

Harvard University

Fordham University

The Seton Keough High School

St. Pius V Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Mary

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

CUR05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Tropez

Favorite Quote

To whom much is given, much is required.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

9/4/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Charlotte

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Newspaper editor, newspaper correspondent, and newspaper columnist Mary C. Curtis (1953 - ) former reporter for The Baltimore Sun and editor at The New York Times, was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Region IV NABJ.

Employment

Washington Post

Creative Loafing Atlanta

Fox Charlotte

AOL

Grio, The

CNN

Charlotte Observer

New York Times

Baltimore Sun

Arizona Daily Star

Associated Press (AP)

Traveler's Insurance, Co.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:40,5:2977,63:3333,68:6181,126:33248,362:33536,527:33968,534:34472,542:36056,571:42850,624:43186,629:44950,659:50662,775:51082,781:58390,928:68547,1019:72490,1072:73190,1083:75360,1128:91020,1404:92220,1431:92700,1438:93580,1455:93900,1460:94220,1465:94540,1470:96220,1504:96780,1512:99260,1548:119904,1909:121679,1950:122389,1961:122673,1966:123099,1974:133252,2205:139871,2232:159570,2565:175006,2868:179077,3005:182941,3111:183355,3121:190462,3355:205550,3566:205922,3572:208619,3630:214523,3667:215910,3687:216494,3697:218684,3749:220436,3822:221093,3836:221750,3850:222261,3858:222626,3864:228393,4063:228685,4092:232627,4162:238628,4191:239167,4202:239552,4208:246174,4308:247329,4389:259042,4587:261014,4634:270545,4698:270940,4704:271256,4709:272836,4729:280847,4854:284059,4923:285884,4957:291604,5015:303965,5229:312470,5342$0,0:14222,224:19040,339:19436,346:23396,437:29616,498:30327,523:39096,665:46020,738:46980,784:47540,792:54442,929:54988,938:58853,984:60313,1020:61919,1065:62503,1119:79770,1441:80288,1452:80732,1460:81028,1465:81768,1481:85394,1567:86726,1605:87466,1634:87762,1639:88576,1655:88946,1661:94451,1685:94877,1695:95232,1726:100880,1786:101430,1792:109720,1875:116804,2006:118421,2025:119268,2047:119730,2054:120346,2093:120885,2101:132435,2390:140634,2463:141162,2473:142086,2495:142812,2508:143274,2518:144462,2539:145980,2571:147696,2635:148818,2659:152870,2694:163830,2893:164950,2925:179287,3157:179563,3162:181150,3195:181564,3202:181978,3208:182530,3217:183013,3226:183979,3242:184807,3253:195334,3348:195778,3355:202612,3481:213170,3612:213716,3620:215432,3645:218474,3701:228546,3853:228818,3858:229226,3865:230518,3903:230994,3911:231470,3920:232014,3930:234870,3995:235550,4007:238950,4087:243900,4136:245580,4181:258382,4408:259042,4419:259570,4428:266416,4554:277600,4702
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Mary C. Curtis

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Mary C. Curtis lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Mary C. Curtis describes her mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Mary C. Curtis talks about her maternal great-grandmother, who was born into slavery

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Mary C. Curtis recalls her mother's upbringing in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Mary C. Curtis continues to describe her mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Mary C. Curtis describes her father's family background and her father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Mary C. Curtis describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Mary C. Curtis describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Mary C. Curtis lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Mary C. Curtis describes being the youngest of five children

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Mary C. Curtis recalls her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Mary C. Curtis describes her neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Mary C. Curtis describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Mary C. Curtis remembers being on the television show 'Romper Room'

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Mary C. Curtis describes her elementary school, St. Pius the Fifth, run by the Oblate nuns

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Mary C. Curtis recounts how books influenced her as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Mary C. Curtis describes her impressions of her family's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Mary C. Curtis shares her love of the Arts and how the Arts have shaped her life and career

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Mary C. Curtis talks about Seton High School, an integrated Catholic high school in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Mary C. Curtis discusses her experiences at Seton High School in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Mary C. Curtis remembers attending her fortieth high school class reunion

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Mary C. Curtis shares her memories attending Fordham University in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Mary C. Curtis recalls meeting her husband at Fordham University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Mary C. Curtis talks about her favorite professors and guest speakers at Fordham University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Mary C. Curtis reflects on her family's upward mobility

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Mary C. Curtis discusses the journalists she admired in the 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Mary C. Curtis describes working with the Associated Press after graduation from Fordham University, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Mary C. Curtis describes how she was treated as a young black female reporter in the 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Mary C. Curtis describes taking a break from journalism during the years of 1977-1981

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Mary C. Curtis recalls attending the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education in 1981

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Mary C. Curtis talks about her experience in Tucson, Arizona from 1981-1983

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Mary C. Curtis describes being a black female journalist in the 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Mary C. Curtis shares some memories of living and working in Tucson, Arizona

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Mary C. Curtis describes moving back to the East Coast and working at The Baltimore Sun in 1983

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Mary C. Curtis talks about joining the National Association of Black Journalists in 1984

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Mary C. Curtis talks about diversity and the benefits of being involved with the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Mary C. Curtis talks about the importance of diversity of views in news stories

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Mary C. Curtis talks about her work at the Baltimore Sun

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Mary C. Curtis describes her transition to the New York Times

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Mary C. Curtis describes moving to Charlotte, North Carolina to work for the Charlotte Observer

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Mary C. Curtis talks about her son, Zane, and the move to Charlotte, North Carolina from New York

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Mary C. Curtis describes the vibrancy of Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Mary C. Curtis talks about her Neiman Foundation Fellowship at Harvard University in 2005, part 1

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Mary C. Curtis talks about her Neiman Foundation Fellowship at Harvard University in 2005, part 2

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Mary C. Curtis talks about her Neiman Foundation Fellowship at Harvard University in 2005, part 3

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Mary C. Curtis describes her return to Charlotte, North Carolina after her 2006 year at Harvard University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Mary C. Curtis talks about her 2004 Thomas Wolfe award-winning article

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Mary C. Curtis talks about the aftermath of her Thomas-Wolfe award winning article in 2004

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Mary C. Curtis talks about her coverage of the 2007-2008 primary elections

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Mary C. Curtis recalls covering the 2008 elections and interviewing President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Mary C. Curtis talks about being laid off at the Charlotte Observer in 2008 and her journalism work since then

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Mary C. Curtis talks about how she covers conservative news stories

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Mary C. Curtis talks about her journalistic philosophy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Mary C. Curtis talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Mary C. Curtis talks about interviewing Franklin McCain of North Carolina

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Mary C. Curtis describes her different journalist affiliations

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Mary C. Curtis describes the arts events she covered

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Mary C. Curtis talks about her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Mary C. Curtis talks about her family and her son, Zane

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Mary C. Curtis talks about the future

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Mary C. Curtis talks about being on 'Jeopardy'

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Mary C. Curtis describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Mary C. Curtis narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

2$4

DATitle
Mary C. Curtis talks about diversity and the benefits of being involved with the National Association of Black Journalists
Mary C. Curtis talks about her coverage of the 2007-2008 primary elections
Transcript
Now, this is something I hear from a lot of black journalists, that they really feel, there's a particular kind of loneliness working at a white newspaper, basically, where you just don't have the--they feel, you know, it takes a lot of stamina to, you know, to stay, you know, withstand it, I guess, and you know, that's what I--that's what people keep saying, that it's a lot of pressure (unclear) (simultaneous)-$$Well, I'm not sure I'd use the word stamina as much as, you know, you are, you're doing your job, but say, if you're talking about news judgment or how a story is played or you wanna make sure that when you have people of color in the paper, that you--I'm in features. So most of the minorities you would see on the pages are in Metro or news, when they're doing something or is the face of welfare or poor people or--I mean not always. But it's usually news. And to me, I love features because it humanizes people. And you have the universal experiences. We all garden, we all cook, we all go to church. We have these experiences we share, so it's especially important that minorities are represented in stories in the food section, in the feature section, in the faith section, you know, all of these--in the entertainment section, and all of these sections. So you see people doing the same things you do. When you have a home story that is about a minority family in a home, these kinds of things. So you're always trying to make sure that happens, to make sure if you do a feature story, say, on romance, on couples, that there's diversity, and not just diversity of race, but of income level, of geography, so you're not just picking people from some part of the city, certain neighborhoods, of age. So if you have a romance story, maybe older people, and so you're mindful of that. But when you're making that, you're making that case every day in the newsroom, and you are doing your job and trying to make people understand that this is just not an extra to be put in a story, but it makes the story more complete and more accurate. So it's good journalism, and sometimes that's pressure because people are under deadline pressure. People, of course, relate more to people like themselves, so when you are alone in the newspaper or in any media organization, you're it or there's a few of you. So it is, I would say it's not stamina, but it's every day, it's--it takes energy. It takes energy, and I do think, you know, people kid about the parties at NABJ [National Association of Black Journalists], but part of it is the relaxation of being there and of knowing, when you say--it's, you're talking in a shorthand because when you say, I was trying to convince my editor, and they say, oh, I know, you know (laughter). So it's a meeting, you don't have to explain yourself. You don't have to be anyone but yourself. And I think there's a certain comfort level in that. It's the people, the way, reason people belong to any club. And I think a misnomer when people say, well, we, there's no national organization of white journalists. Well, first of all there're people of every color that belong to NABJ [National Association of Black Journalists]. White people do belong to it, Hispanic people, it's, if you believe in the mission of diversity. So it's not an exclusive organization. It's an inclusive organization, just like NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] or any of those organizations. It is inclusive. It's about the message, and it's just nice knowing you're with people that, people who, that particular message is important to those people. And so, yeah, I think it is relaxing, and when, that very last night before you come back, there usually is a dance. And there's music and people are dancing, and it is a release of sorts. And I think there's nothing wrong with that. You know, you've worked hard, you're--you know, even at NABJ [National Association of Black Journalists], you're wearing your business clothes. You never know who you're gonna run into, that give you a future job. You're going to the job fairs. So it's about business and it's about skills development, but it's also about being with folks, you know, who--I like to say it is a shorthand. And it's about catching up with people that you haven't seen for a while because the nature of the business is that you travel to different places. You get a job here or there. So it's saying, oh, my goodness, you know. I haven't seen you. You're working in Detroit [Michigan] now, that kind of thing. So I, it's work and it's therapy (laughter). We all need that, so I agree, I agree. It's, you know, I've never--I don't think that newspapers or media organizations are any more discriminatory or whatever as any part of society. But I do think sometimes we have to emphasize that they are, indeed, a part of society. So it's not as though the people who work there--I do think sometimes journalists think, we don't have those problems because we're more open minded than that. Well, the people are human beings. When you go into the door of whatever organization, you don't drop society's roles. You don't drop any prejudices at the door because you're a journalist. You hope to, and you work at it, but we all bring something to it. So that's a part of it.$And Ed Sanders was just--and later, they made him the principal of the school, a white school that--and he hired the first black teacher there, B.B. Delaine, I think, who was the son of the Reverend Delaine of the Clarendon County case in South Carolina that was part of the 'Brown v. Board of Education' [1954]. So there's so much Civil Rights history here. But it's, you're right, you know. It, sometimes it takes a lot, but if you just say, "I'm gonna do what I have to do." So he taught me something, but I was--so that was in the '[Charlotte] Observer' too, and then when the South Carolina primaries happened in 2000--started going in 2007, I went to the debate in South Carolina, the first Democratic debate. And I saw on the stage, [President] Barack Obama and [Senator] Hillary Clinton and [Senator] John Edwards and [Governor] Bill Richardson and all these folks, [Senator] Joe Biden, I thought, you know, this is gonna be something. This is gonna be something. So I really hadn't been that involved in politics, but, you know, sometimes you see a story and you gotta grab a hold of it. And you go to that debate and then you go to the Republican debate, and you have to, you need a cheat sheet because they all look the same, you know, well, you know who [Mayor Rudy] Giuliani and [Senator John] McCain and [Governor Mitt] Romney are, but, and you realize how different it's gonna be, and this is gonna be historic. So I just got a hold of that story, tried to make it mine, got the paper's first two interviews with [President] Barack Obama, the only interview with [Senator] Hillary Clinton, followed [Governor] Mike Huckabee around South Carolina, just tried to tell that story, and that--tried to tell that story, tried to tell it.$$Now, this is a campaign that North Carolina's favorite son, [Senator] John Edwards, kind of went down and the--he had issues with his marriage and all that got in the press and-$$Yeah, although, not at the beginning there. I mean in 2000--the 2008 campaign, remember that famous debate in Myrtle Beach [South Carolina] where [Senator] Hillary Clinton and [President] Barack Obama were going at each other, and their supporters were in front with dueling cards. And [Senator] John Edwards was sort of the peacemaker.$$Oh, sure, John Edwards was-$$So calm.$$--a favorite of a lot of people, you know-$$Yeah, and then there were some people who thought, "Well, this isn't gonna be the time for a woman or a minority, that the Democrat--he would be the white guy Democrat that people come back to" because, remember that was the year after [President George W.] Bush where it was such a prime year for a Democrat. So, that's why a lot of people got frustrated when what came out, came out because if he had gotten it, of course, it would have come out, and that would have totally ruined it for it. But, yeah, it was obviously, another great time to be a journalist. Even though North Carolina's primary was late, it actually counted. But I initially covered the--South Carolina is one of the first in the South. So I got to go down there and write columns off of the appearances, see [Presdient] Bill Clinton just hang out and go out around South Carolina with the Republicans and Democrats, watch a Baptist minister bless [Governor] Mike Huckabee and, you know, all of that. It was, I really liked to see the--my piece, my column started to be on the intersection of all of these things, to look at it, and to see the culture piece in the campaigns because what are debates, but political theater? So when you're in a Republican debate and they're talking about torture and all of them are, you know, Romney's, I'm pro-Guantanamo, let's expand it, and, you know, you have [Representative] Tom Tancredo talk about, you know, Jack Ry[an], you know, "Send in the guy from '24'" and [Senator] John McCain says, "You know, we shouldn't torture because it's not about who they are. It's about who we are." And no one applauds, and you realize the only guy against it on the stage is the guy who's been tortured. So that's the story. You know, so it's finding that piece of, looking at it and saying, wow, you know. To watch Oprah [Winfrey] appearing with [President Barack] Obama in South Carolina in a stadium. It was just covering the scene. And I went on to Denver, not for the '[Charlotte] Observer', actually. They didn't send me to the Democratic National Convention. But I got a chance to go and I went and covered for Neiman [Foundation], wouldn't have missed it, went on my own time. That's when the papers were cutting back. I was starting to see the writing on the wall. So, although, you know, it was a great experience.

Reginald Stuart

Newspaper correspondent and corporate recruiter Reginald Stuart was born on November 26, 1948 in Nashville Tennessee. He was raised by his parents with his older siblings, William H. Stuart, Jr., and Cassandra Stuart Woods. While attending Pearl High School, in Nashville, he worked as a disc jockey and had his own radio show. In 1965, he graduated from Pearl High and, three years later, earned his B.S. degree in sociology from Tennessee State University. After working a short time for The Nashville Tennessean as a general assignment reporter and for WSIX-TV-AM-FM, the local ABC affiliate, Stuart received his M.S. degree in journalism from Columbia University in the City of New York in 1971.

In 1974, Stuart became a business and finance reporter for The New York Times. During his 13 years there, he also worked as national correspondent bureau chief in Detroit, Michigan, Atlanta, Georgia, and Miami, Florida. He covered the 1979 federal government bailout of the Chrysler Corporation. Stuart released a book based on the stories, Bailout: The Story Behind America’s Billion Dollar Gamble on the “New” Chrysler Corporation. In Atlanta, Stuart reported on police investigations of a series of unsolved cases of missing and murdered children. He continued to write articles on the federal government’s deregulation of major industries throughout the 1980s.

In 1987, Stuart left the Times and joined Knight Ridder Newspapers, Inc., as the Washington-based national affairs correspondent for the Philadelphia Daily News. There, he covered the 1988 presidential election and 1990 Census. Stuart’s 1994 Emerge Magazine article about Kemba Smith, a young woman sent to prison for 24.5 years based on new federal mandatory sentencing laws regarding illegal drugs, was credited with generating the popular and political support that persuaded then President Bill Clinton to commute her prison sentence to time served. Afterward, he moved to the Knight Ridder Washington News Bureau news desk as an assistant editor, a post he held through 1996. In 1997, he was hired as Knight Ridder’s corporate recruiter, finding individuals for newsroom and business positions, and coordinating Knight Ridder’s early career talent development programs, including the Knight Ridder Scholars Program and Native American Internship Program.

Stuart was elected national president of the Society of Professional Journalists in 1994. He received the Ida B. Wells Award for promoting diversity in journalism, the Leadership in Diversity Award from the Asian American Journalists Association and the Wells Memorial Key from the Society of Professional Journalists. Stuart is married to Daryl Thomas Stuart with whom he has three children, Reginald II, Nicholas and Andrea.

Reginald Stuart was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on 08/29/2012.

Accession Number

A2012.231

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/29/2012

Last Name

Stuart

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Ford Green Elementary School

Washington Junior High School

Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School

Tennessee State University

Columbia University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Reginald

Birth City, State, Country

Nashville

HM ID

STU03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

He Was A Pretty Good Fella, But He Could Have Been Better.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/26/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cobbler (Peach), Greens (Turnip), Macaroni, Cheese, Bread (Rolls), Barbecue Pork

Short Description

Newspaper correspondent and corporate recruiter Reginald Stuart (1948 - ) , earned his M.S. degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York City, and wrote Bailout: The Story Behind America’s Billion Dollar Gamble on the “New” Chrysler Corporation, a book about the government’s 1979 financial bailout of the Chrysler Corporation.

Employment

Nashville Tennessean

WSIX TV

New York Times

Knight Ridder Newspapers

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reginald Stuart's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reginald Stuart lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reginald Stuart describes his maternal family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reginald Stuart describes his maternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reginald Stuart talks about his mother, Maxie Allen

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reginald Stuart describes his paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reginald Stuart talks about his parents and St. Luke CME church

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reginald Stuart describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reginald Stuart talks about his siblings and the proximity of his extended family

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reginald Stuart describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reginald Stuart describes his childhood home

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Reginald Stuart describes the sounds of growing up in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reginald Stuart talks about his father's Scrabble talent

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reginald Stuart remembers listening to music at Club Baron in Nashville, Tennessee, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reginald Stuart remembers listening to music at Club Baron in Nashville, Tennessee, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reginald Stuart describes the sights and smells of growing up in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reginald Stuart recalls creating a neighborhood newspaper as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reginald Stuart describes his elementary school memories

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reginald Stuart describes his neighborhood newspaper, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reginald Stuart describes his neighborhood newspaper, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reginald Stuart talks about his epilepsy

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reginald Stuart describes attending Washington Junior High School and Pearl High School in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reginald Stuart recalls Civil Rights activism in Nashville, Tennessee during the early 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reginald Stuart remembers the integration of Nashville, Tennessee in 1965

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reginald Stuart describes his activities at Pearl High School in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reginald Stuart talks about attending Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reginald Stuart describes managing The Fabulous Nu-Tones during college

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reginald Stuart talks about being a disc jockey during college

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reginald Stuart remembers WAC radio

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reginald Stuart talks about regional differences in musical tastes

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reginald Stuart talks about majoring in sociology at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reginald Stuart describes his professors at Tennessee State University in Nashaville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reginald Stuart talks about being hired at the Nashville Tennessean in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reginald Stuart talks about John Seigenthaler

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reginald Stuart talks about his job search after graduating from Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reginald Stuart describes working at the Nashville Tennessean

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reginald Stuart talks about how the journalism profession has changed since he started

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reginald Stuart talks about working for WSIX, the ABC news affiliate in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reginald Stuart describes the stories he covered for ABC TV

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reginald Stuart talks about the signal problem with WSIX TV

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reginald Stuart describes his decision to attend Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reginald Stuart describes covering the 1970 election while at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reginald Stuart recalls turning down a job offer from Walter Cronkite

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reginald Stuart talks about the stories he covered in Nashville, Tennessee in the early 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reginald Stuart recalls being hired by The New York Times in 1974, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reginald Stuart recalls being hired by The New York Times in 1974, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reginald Stuart talks about becoming the business writer at The New York Times

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reginald Stuart talks about covering the 1970s energy crisis

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reginald Stuart talks about being the New York Times Bureau Chief in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reginald Stuart talks about covering Chrysler's Lee Iacocca as the New York Times Bureau Chief in Detroit

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reginald Stuart talks about covering the Haitian immigrant crisis as the New York Times Miami Bureau Chief

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reginald Stuart talks about covering Wayne Williams, an alleged serial killer of children in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Reginald Stuart talks about covering Wayne Williams, an alleged serial killer of children in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Reginald Stuart describes leaving The New York Times in 1987

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reginald Stuart describes covering the 1988 Presidential campaign for the Philadelphia Daily News

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reginald Stuart describes the 1988 Democratic Presidential debate

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reginald Stuart talks about working for Knight Ridder Newspapers

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reginald Stuart describes the Knight Ridders Scholars and other programs

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reginald Stuart describes writing about Kemba Smith for Emerge magazine

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Reginald Stuart talks about mandatory sentencing drug laws

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Reginald Stuart describes Kemba Smith's story

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Reginald Stuart talks about the public's reaction to his story "Kemba's Nightmare"

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Reginald Stuart talks about following up on his story "Kemba's Nightmare"

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Reginald Stuart talks about the social impact of his story "Kemba's Nightmare"

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Reginald Stuart talks about his awards

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Reginald Stuart talks about being a corporate recruiter for McClatchy

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Reginald Stuart describes the guests at the National Press Club luncheon, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Reginald Stuart describes the guests at the National Press Club luncheon, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Reginald Stuart talks about his involvement with the Society for Professional Journalists

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Reginald Stuart talks about The National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Reginald Stuart reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Reginald Stuart describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Reginald Stuart talks about his family

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Reginald Stuart reflects upon his career

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Reginald Stuart describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Reginald Stuart narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

8$3

DATitle
Reginald Stuart describes working at the Nashville Tennessean
Reginald Stuart talks about covering the 1970s energy crisis
Transcript
I had a wonderful time with that newspaper [Nashville Tennessean]. I knew nothing about what I was doing. It was so obvious that I hadn't worked on the college paper, I hadn't worked on anything that even resembled a newspaper. And they took me in and they kept me because I had spark and energy and I wasn't afraid of anything. I was too dumb to be afraid of anything. And they said okay if he's got those ingredients, we can teach him how to be a journalist. And so the first couple of weeks I was writing--I had little stories they'd give me and I'd go out and write 'em and bring 'em in. And one day my city editor, a guy named Herman Eskew [ph.], called me up to his desk and he said I have a question for you. I said yeah. I'm, you know. He says do you read this newspaper? I said I read it every morning, I love it. He said well how do the stories you write differ from the ones you see in the paper? So it's a learning moment, right, I said there's a trick question going in here somewhere. So I picked the paper up and I started reading it and I said well, I said first of all, I said your sentences are shorter than mine. I said your paragraphs are shorter than mine. He said yeah, anything else? I said yeah, you have quotes in the, in the paper. He said do you think you can do the same thing for your stories that you see in the paper? I'd been writing news columns position for three weeks and they'd had it. I had like three sentences in a paragraph, right. Like 50 words per sentence, no quotes. It was driving them crazy. But I had stories, I had stories. I had stories come out of the wazzoo, cause I was just out there really trying to get stuff. That was the first problem. The second problem was I did not know what beats were. And on newspapers, all assignments are like beats. Like in schools you have first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade, right, that was your beat, you teach this grade. In the news business, you have courts, cops, city council, mayor's office, Health Department, school board, and so on. I didn't know that. I came to work every morning and would just start calling people trying to find out what's going on. And so the best idea that came out of those phone calls, I'd go to the editor and say I got a story idea. Well this went on for about eight months and finally they called me in again and said listen, do you know everybody in this newsroom want you fired? I said no, why? He says because you're going across everybody's god damn beats. I said beats, what's a beat? So, so he, he didn't call me dumb as a box of rocks at that point, but he, he had a serious conversation. He says you have to understand how newsrooms work. Every--what does so-and-so do? I said well they go to the courthouse every day. What does so-and-so do? He goes to the [unclear]. These are called beats and you're trampling over their beats. You gotta find your own beat, all right, or they gone run you out of here. So what did I do? I found my own beat in Nashville, transportation and aviation. We had maybe 30 flights a day, a small airport. We don't have any big transportation problems, just traffic jams that everybody has, small town traffic jams. But I turned that beat into a very productive beat and they were impressed. Fortunately, American Alliance had a strike. So I was at the airport covering the strike, no air service at National, right. Good story. Fortunately, I talked to the Traffic Parking Commission members and they were about to change parking rates. And about to introduce one-way streets, heaven forbid. So I got to write all these stories and lo and behold, I'm in the paper you know two or three times a week. I'm not on anybody's beat. I'm writing stories. They have short paragraphs, they have quotes, I'm getting there. And that was my, my ride at Tennessean and it was a great ride.$And I'll tell you the, the funniest story. A whole lot of stories, but it was a funny story, is a--it was a crook story. In the early '70s [1970s], we had this--the convoluted energy crisis, and, and they were keeping gasoline and oil offshore, and that allowed the fuel shortages for power plants to run amok. And so coal prices went up because coal mines was still using coal. There were a lot of, there were a lot of get rich quick coal companies that came up overnight. And what they would do is they were just getting into work on strip mining and, and, and traditional mining, deep mining, you wanna mine on the ground [unclear]. Strip mining is gone on the side of the mountain, rake of the vegetation forestation over time and you get the surface coal. It's, it's a lower BTU [British thermal unit] content, it's cheaper. And so a couple of guys down in my old home state of Tennessee, right, got slick. And so what they would do is they would, would do something called layer loading. Layer loading is where you go out and dig up some dirt, right, put it in the bottom of the railcar and then top it off with some of this coal we just strip mined. Now the way you inspect coal in those days, right, you'd bring the railcar up to a utility yard, right. And they put a probe in the top of the car in different spots. The probe went down about, you know, eight, nine inches. And so it would always show coal, right. You accept the railcar and it's your, you just paid a thousand dollars for it, right. Then when you take the car to the next stop and you dump the car, you got a railcar full of dirt. And so these guys were, were getting away with about--ripping off about fifteen, twenty utilities around the country, sending layer loaded coal, rail coal cars. And so I wrote about that and, and that became one of the most hilarious stories, crook stories you could find of that time.

Maureen Bunyan

Television news anchor Maureen Bunyan was born in 1945 on the island of Aruba to Arthur and Wilhelmina Bunyan. Her parents had moved from Guyana to Aruba in the 1930s, looking for better work opportunities. The family immigrated to the United States when Bunyan was just eleven years old, after her father accepted a job with a company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Arthur Bunyan always stressed the importance of education to his children and at one point all members of the family were enrolled in local schools, each studying for an undergraduate degree. Bunyan herself received her B.A. degree in English and education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Still in college, she worked as a free-lance writer for the Milwaukee Journal.

Bunyan went on to attend the Columbia University School of Journalism in 1970. After school, she worked in broadcasting with Boston’s WGBH-TV and later New York’s WCBS-TV. In 1973, Bunyan became the lead news anchor and reporter at WTOP-TV (now WUSA-TV), the CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C. After working on the Eyewitness News Team, she became a co-anchor with Gordon Peterson and remained in this position until she resigned in 1995. Bunyan returned to school to receive her M.A. degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 1980. As a lead news anchor, Bunyan covered major local, national, and international stories, traveling to Central and South America, the Caribbean, Asia and Africa. Bunyan established a reputation as a clear-thinking, clear-spoken, fair-minded and dependable newsperson. From 1997-1999, Bunyan served as the chief correspondent for PBS’ Religions and Ethics Newsweekly.

In 1999, Bunyan joined WJLA-TV ABC 7 News in Washington D.C. as a primary anchor. Five years later, she was reunited with co-anchor Gordon Peterson for the 6:00pm EST news. During her career, Bunyan also served as a frequent substitute host for Talk of the Nation on National Public Radio and The Derek McGinty Show on WAMU Radio. Bunyan was one of the founding members of the National Association of Black Journalists in 1975, as well as the International Women’s Media Foundation in 1990. She has won a number of awards including Journalist of the Year in 1992, the Immigrant Achievement Award from the American Immigration Law Foundation in 2002, as well as receiving a number of local Emmys for her captivating work.

Maureen Bunyan was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 29, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.230

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/29/2012

Last Name

Bunyan

Maker Category
Schools

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Maureen

HM ID

BUN03

Favorite Season

Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

Patagonia, Chile

Favorite Quote

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

2/27/1945

Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

Aruba

Favorite Food

Nuts (Cashew)

Short Description

Television news anchor Maureen Bunyan (1945 - ) worked with WUSA-TV and WJLA-TV ABC News in Washington D.C. She is a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists, as well as the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Employment

WJLA TV

Religion & Ethics Newsweekly

WUSA TV (WTOP TV)

WCBS TV

Milwaukee Journal

WGBH TV

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Maureen Bunyan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Maureen Bunyan lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Maureen Bunyan describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Maureen Bunyan describes the socio-economic history of Guiana and her family's civic participation

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Maureen Bunyan describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Maureen Bunyan describes the racial diversity of Guiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Maureen Bunyan describes her father's growing up in Guiana, his interrupted education, and her family's move to Aruba and then to the United States

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Maureen Bunyan talks about his father's education in Wisconsin

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Maureen Bunyan describes how her parents met in Guiana

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Maureen Bunyan talks about her parents' personalities, their influence on her, her mother's death, and her family's life in Wisconsin

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Maureen Bunyan talks about her sisters and her family's life in Aruba

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Maureen Bunyan describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Maureen Bunyan describes the cultural diversity of Aruba, where she was born and spent her early childhood years

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Maureen Bunyan talks about her family's move from Aruba to the United States in the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Maureen Bunyan describes her family's adjustment to life in the United Stated in the 1950s, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Maureen Bunyan describes her family's adjustment to life in the United Stated in the 1950s, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Maureen Bunyan talks about her father as her role model

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Maureen Bunyan describes her family's life in Aruba

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Maureen Bunyan describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Aruba

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Maureen Bunyan talks about attending school and church in Aruba, and her father purchasing one of the earliest imported cars in the 1940s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Maureen Bunyan contrasts her experience in school in Aruba with her experience in Wisconsin, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Maureen Bunyan contrasts her experience in school in Aruba with her education in Wisconsin, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Maureen Bunyan talks about her family's move to the U.S. in 1956, and having to adjust to the differences in climate and culture

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Maureen Bunyan talks about the supportive community in Muskego, Wisconsin during the time of her mother's death

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Maureen Bunyan talks about her involvement in her school newspaper and her introduction to public speaking

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Maureen Bunyan talks about her mother's struggle with breast cancer, and her family's financial hardship

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Maureen Bunyan talks about her family's emotional distress during her mother's struggle with breast cancer and upon her death

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Maureen Bunyan talks about being prone to depression, and managing it with exercise and music

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Maureen Bunyan talks about her father's spiritual quest following her mother's death, and his joining the Baha'i faith

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Maureen Bunyan describes the Baha'i faith and her own views on faith

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Maureen Bunyan describes her experience with discrimination at Eau Claire State College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Maureen Bunyan talks about her stay with a German family in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and the small number of minority students at Eau Claire College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Maureen Bunyan talks about dropping out of Eau Claire State College, moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Maureen Bunyan talks about running away from home in 1964, and traveling to Europe

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Maureen Bunyan describes her experience in Germany and returning home after spending several months in Europe in 1964

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Maureen Bunyan talks about her exposure to the Civil Rights Movement in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the mid-1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Maureen Bunyan talks about the open housing movement in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and her interest in journalism

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Maureen Bunyan talks about her internship and freelance assignments at the 'Milwaukee Journal'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Maureen Bunyan talks about black reporters in Milwaukee in the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Maureen Bunyan reflects upon the socio-political scene in America in the late 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Maureen Bunyan reflects upon her role as a journalist during the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Maureen Bunyan talks about attending the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism's Summer Program for Minorities and Women in 1970

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Maureen Bunyan talks about her experience at WITI television station in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

6$6

DATitle
Maureen Bunyan describes her family's adjustment to life in the United Stated in the 1950s, pt. 2
Maureen Bunyan reflects upon her role as a journalist during the 1960s
Transcript
So I grew up being very accustomed to people stopping and looking at me (laughs) and asking questions too and so as a young girl I think I must have been 12, 11 or 12 I remember asking my father [Arthur Hughborn Mendes Bunyan], "Why do people stop and look at us and why do they ask us where we're from and how we got here?" And my father said, "Well we're different than they are and they're a little bit shocked to see us because we're different." And I told my father, "I think it is very rude of people to stop and stare and ask us where we came from and ask us things like did we wear shoes in the Caribbean." And they didn't know of course where Guiana was. They didn't know where Aruba was. So two things happened; one was at that time in American popular culture Harry Belafonte was becoming an icon and his calypso music. So my father would tell people when they asked where we were from. My father would say, "You know Harry Belafonte?" "Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah." "That's where we're from." Now we weren't from Jamaica which (laughs) was Harry Belafonte's home. So for years and years people use to think we were from Jamaica because we would say we're from where Harry Belafonte is from. And then my father told me and my sisters [Kathleen and Pamela Bunyan] you have to stop expecting people to figure you out. You have to help them figure you out. So when they ask you where you're from, you tell them and before they ask you where you're from and who you are, you tell them. And so I grew up with, as a young woman, with a map of the United States and South America and the Caribbean. My father made me take the map everywhere, and I had to recite a little statement when people would ask, "Oh, who are you?" I'd open the map, "My name is Maureen Bunyan. I was born on the island of Aruba but my family is from Guiana. Aruba is a small island in the Caribbean off the coast of Venezuela. It is a Dutch island, although people speak Dutch they also speak Spanish. They speak a dialect called Papiamento but my family speaks English because my parents are from Guiana. Guiana, I'd point to the map, is a small (laughs) country on the northeast coast of South America and though it's part of South America, it's not part of Latin America because Guiana is a British colony. So people speak English and blah, blah, blah and Wisconsin is up here. So I think that my parents [Wilhelmina Hill and Arthur Hughborn Mendes Bunyan] and I and my sisters gave a whole geography lesson to hundreds of people in southeastern Wisconsin. And--$$You know I was going to say that with a map I, I--$$Oh yeah.$$--there was a study once that showed that most American high school seniors could not identify Florida which actually sticks out--$$Yeah.$$--on the map.$$Yeah.$$And I would imagine that a lot of people in Wisconsin, high school students didn't--$$In the 1950s (laughs).$$In Wisconsin [unclear].$$(laughs) You're right, you're right. And I also learned that it was my responsibility to present myself to people and not to anticipate what people think of me but to explain and to show people who I was. And I think that has helped me over the years because in, in traveling and certainly in my work in, in journalism and in broadcasting and public speaking, I'm, I'm a conservative person physically. I'm a conservative person intellectually but I believe that you have, in order to communicate with other people who have to show them and tell them who you are. You can't expect them to read your mind, and that was a big gift from my father to me. And I think it also helped me to be more assertive and to be more self-confident.$Can you remember the, I guess, one of the early times when you consciously knew that being in the position of being a journalist, you could actually feed a story the way you wanted to or you could tell people what you wanted them to know about a certain issue?$$Yes, first, working, being in Milwaukee [Wisconsin] and being aware of the Civil Rights Movement there, but also watching to the TV networks' coverage of the Vietnam War, not so much the Civil Rights Movement because the Civil Rights Movement was covered, of course. Dan Rather and a lot of reporters were in the South covering the Civil Rights Movement. But I was, I was very aware of the power of the images of people and what, the way in which the broadcast media especially, but newspapers too, were able to explain to America what was happening. One of my, my best mentor at the 'Milwaukee Journal' was a reporter named Frank Aukofer. Frank--his name is A-U-K-O-F-E-R. Frank was a white reporter, and he covered the Civil Rights Movement in Milwaukee as well as in the South. And he used to tell me about going--he went to Selma [Alabama] and all these places. And he would tell me about these things. And he told me about how he had to work, as a white reporter, to understand what was happening to black Americans. So, and I'm still friends with him (laughter). He lives here--as a matter of fact, he was, lived in Washington [District of Columbia] for a long time. And so I realized, I said you have to, it takes effort to understand what's happening to other people, takes effort to find out what's happening to yourself, but great effort and energy to be a journalist and to be able to observe and put yourself also in the shoes of the people you're observing 'cause you have to do both. You can't just stand back and say, oh, they did this, they did that. And especially, when you're reporting on volatile social issues, whether it's a war, you know, a civil war, a cultural movement, and this took a lot of energy, a lot of insight, and a lot of work. But it's--the result and the satisfaction were so important because you were having, you're making a big contribution to your society, to your culture. And I thought that was a very important thing to be able to do. And then watching also the Vietnam War coverage and seeing, you know, the horrible things that were going on, that we were doing and then hearing my friends, my black friends in Milwaukee who had come back from Vietnam, and, you know, the whole thing we were all going through. Mohammed Ali said he wasn't gonna go (laughter) to fight to kill, you know, brown people who hadn't done anything wrong to him, and all that was part of what was going on in this country. So there was--we, it was really a moment of awakening for many, many people on all sides of the racial barriers in our country. And the thing too that helped me a lot was, I got to travel, I made some small trips to Selma and I went to Tuscaloosa [Alabama] and some of these other places in, I think it was '66 [1966], '67 [1967] when the drive to get people to register to vote was going on. So I also learned how important it was, how important it was to participate in the civic life of this country, and I thought this was important to report too. So I was both observing and taking part in this thing at the same time. But in the late '60s [1960s] is when I really thought, to be a good journalist is something to be admired and to work for because not only are you a craftsperson, but you can effect change in your own society. And that's when I really got hooked on journalism.