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Yanick Rice Lamb

Editor, publisher and professor Yanick Rice Lamb was born on September 27, 1957 in Akron, Ohio to William R. Rice and Carmelie Jordan. Lamb graduated from Buchtel High School in Akron in 1976. She went on to receive her B.A. degree in journalism from Ohio State University in 1980.

Upon graduation, Lamb was hired as a copy editor at the Toledo Blade, where she was promoted to reporter in 1982. Lamb then worked for the Journal-Constitution in Atlanta, Georgia, as a copy editor until 1984, when she was hired as a layout editor for the New York Times. While employed at the New York Times, Lamb worked in various capacities, including deputy home and living editor, assistant editor of the Connecticut Weekly, and metropolitan copy editor. Then, in 1992, she became a senior editor for Child Magazine, serving two years. She was then hired as an editor-at-large at Essence Magazine in 1994. From 1995 until 2000, Lamb served as editor-in-chief, editorial director, and vice president at Black Entertainment Television. At BET, she was responsible for editorial management of BET Weekend, for which she was founding editor, as well as BET Publishing Group’s Heart & Soul. Lamb worked at Vanguarde Media, Incorporated, as editor-in-chief from 2000 to 2001. She was then hired as a journalism lecturer at Howard University in 2001, and was later promoted to associate professor. After receiving her M.B.A. degree from Howard University in 2005, she became the associate publisher and editorial director of Heart & Soul, where she served until 2011. In 2010, Lamb co-founded Fully-Connected.com, a website that connects people from Atlanta to Accra through interactive journalism and social networking. She also co-founded FierceforBlackWomen.com in 2013. Lamb continued to teach at Howard University, serving as chair of the Department of Media, Journalism and Film since 2013.

Lamb has co-authored three books: 1996’s The Spirit of African Design, 2004’s Born to Win: The Authorized Biography of Althea Gibson, and 2005’s Rise and Fly: Tall Tales and Mostly True Rules of Bid Whist. She has also received numerous awards, including the Folio: Editorial Excellence Award and the McDonald's Black History Maker of Today Award in Journalism. Lamb was also honored at the NABJ Salute to Excellence Awards; and she has served twice as president of the New York Association of Black Journalists. In addition, the Association of Health Care Journalists selected Lamb as a Health Performance Fellow in 2010; and, in 2013, she became the John A. Hartford/MetLife Foundation Journalism in Aging & Health Fellow.

Yanick Rice Lamb was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 23, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.275

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/23/2013

Last Name

Rice-Lamb

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Buchtel High School

The Ohio State University

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Yanick

Birth City, State, Country

Akron

HM ID

RIC18

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Lamu, Kenya

Favorite Quote

Dream big

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/27/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp

Short Description

Magazine editor Yanick Rice-Lamb (1957 - ) , founding editor of BET Weekend, is the co-author of three books: The Spirit of African Design, Born to Win: The Authorized Biography of Althea Gibson, and Rise and Fly: Tall Tales and Mostly True Rules of Bid Whist.

Employment

Toledo Blade

Journal-Constitution

New York Times

Child Magazine

Essence Magazine

BET

Vanguarde Media, Inc.

Howard University

Heart and Soul Magazine

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Yanick Rice-Lamb narrates her photographs

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Slating of Yanick Rice-Lamb's interview

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Yanick Rice-Lamb lists her favorites

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her mother's family background and life in Haiti pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her mother's family background and life in Haiti pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Yanick Rice-Lamb describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Yanick Rice-Lamb describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her father's educational background and teaching career

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Yanick Rice-Lamb describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Yanick Rice-Lamb describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about growing up in a Haitian household in a diverse neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her family's religious background

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Yanick Rice-Lamb briefly talks about going to Catholic schools

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her family's living near the Akron Zoo in Akron, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Yanick Rice-Lamb describes her childhood interests, favorite subjects and teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 16 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about how her interest in writing was influenced by the comic strip Brenda Starr and others

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about some black journalists that served as role models in the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her high school achievements and experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Yanick Rice-Lamb describes her experiences at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her mentors at Ohio State University and newspapers she worked for as a student

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Yanick Rice-Lamb describes her first internship and expectations for black students at Ohio State University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Yanick Rice-Lamb recounts her experiences as an intern at the 'Reader's Digest' and 'The Times Union'

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her experiences as a general assignment reporter at 'The Toledo Blade'

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Yanick Rice-Lamb recounts her first day as a reporter for 'The Toledo Blade'

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about 'The Toledo Blade' staff and her mentors in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about being hired at 'The Atlanta Journal Constitution'

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her experiences in Atlanta, Georgia during her time at 'The Atlanta Journal Constitution' in the early 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her experiences at 'The New York Times' and her professional mentors

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about transitioning from newspaper journalism to magazine journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Yanick Rice-Lamb describes her most memorable project at 'The New York Times'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about the mentors she had while working at 'The New York Times,' as well as difficult situations she faced at the paper

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Yanick Rice-Lamb discusses her work with 'Child' magazine and the differences between publishing a newspaper and a magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Yanick Rice-Lamb describes memorable stories she worked on at 'Child' magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her transition from 'Child' magazine to 'Essence,' and on to 'BET Weekend' in the mid-1990s

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about developing the 'BET Weekend' magazine and her philosophy for magazine production

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about criticism Black Entertainment Television has faced over its programming content

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Yanick Rice-Lamb describes innovative television and print content BET has tried to produce

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her transition from 'BET Weekend' to teaching at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her work with 'Heart and Soul' magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about memorable stories from 'BET Weekend' and 'Heart and Soul' magazines

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Yanick Rice-Lamb mentions milestones of her career from 1998 to 2011, including writing her first book

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about writing Born to Win, a biography of Althea Gibson, with Fran Gray

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks Althea Gibson's life and career

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about writing and promoting her book Rise and Fly

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her Aunt Rose, a relative who influenced her and whom Rice-Lamb wrote about

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about working on her coffee table book, The Spirit of African Design

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about articles she has written on teaching media and the history of newspaper supplements

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her coverage of the 2012 Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her professional association memberships

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her personal philosophy on teaching and journalism

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Yanick Rice-Lamb reflects upon her career and legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about her family and how she would like to be remembered

DASession

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DATape

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DATitle
Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about developing the 'BET Weekend' magazine and her philosophy for magazine production
Yanick Rice-Lamb talks about articles she has written on teaching media and the history of newspaper supplements
Transcript
Well, tell us about BET's [Black Entertainment Television] magazine. (Unclear)--$$That was fun. That was probably one of my most enjoyable jobs. I, I like starting things, and I had always wanted to start a magazine since I was in college, so it gave me the opportunity to start a magazine with someone else's money (laughter). But I figured whoever did the prototype, if they liked it, that, that person would get the job, so I wasn't gonna let go of the prototype, you know, developed it--you know, the different ideas I had-- Bob Johnson in, in particular, and I've worked with Debra Lee. They were particularly interested in my Style background at the 'New York Times' and some of the things I did there, and just kind of the diversity of doing news and Style and Entertainment and bringing that together. So I kind of help develop the concept for the magazine, and it was--it took off; it was a hit. Readers really loved it. The papers liked carrying it. We traveled around the different newspapers to negotiate them picking up the newspaper and inserting it in their magazine. We had to pay--I mean their newspaper--we had to pay for that of course, but just like building something from the ground up, coming up with a concept, hiring a staff, finding the writers, setting up, you know, photo shoots, and thinking about paper and--you know, just all the different things that go into it. And it was kind of a way of pulling in everything I had done, you know, from the copy editing, reporting, from the design and layout, and all of that in, in one place, and then reacting to news or thinking long term about how we were gonna do things too so. And we--our circulation grew in three years from eight--800,000 to 1.3 million, so we were the second largest publication behind 'Ebony.'$$What, what's your philosophy in, in terms of layout of a magazine, you know, in terms of what, what, what should the--should be the--what, what the cover should be like and what the--$$One, one of the things--because we were working with the newspaper initially, they were kind of content with doing something on news print. But we felt that--you know, thinking about how African Americans do things, we like top shelf this and that. We wanted to have magazine quality publication, so we wanted to make sure that we went after some of the people who were popular or pioneering at the time, whether it was Toni Morrison or Dr. Ben Carson, or whether it was Denzel Washington or you know, an Olympian at the time. So we wanted to be topical, we wanted to try to be as fresh as--you know, first if possible with the information. We wanted to use some of the best photographers, the best writers, have a really nice design for the time--you know, make it interesting, telling people something they didn't already know. And that was my criteria when people pitched stories to me. It's like I read a lot of things. I keep up with things. Tell me something I don't already know. You know, tell me a new angle on this, a new twist on this. So we wanted to--we wanted to give the audience something they hadn't been getting so. And I think that's why people were receptive to it, because they were seeing stories that they weren't seeing in other places, that they weren't seeing in their newspapers so. Some people said it was a breath of fresh air when they picked up their newspaper and they pulled out 'BET Weekend.'$Okay, now the, the book 'Teaching Converged Media through News Coverage of the 2--2--2008 Presidential Election.' Now this is--I think it's the first election that was won where--$$Obama [President Barack Obama].$$--where the media was used in the campaign, social media.$$Yes.$$Yeah.$$This--so this was a--this was a journal article that we did. We had one of the largest news teams covering the election, with students. 'Cause we had almost the entire department. We--there were students who were excused from their classes for the 2008 election, and, and then again for the inauguration. And we had them at precincts all over the region also--all over Washington, D.C., all over northern Virginia, all over Maryland, the out--the surrounding counties of, of Maryland, and so they were there. We had 'em in shifts all day long, from the--from when the polls opened til the time that they closed. So they were doing that, and they were, you know, monitoring like the traffic and how often people are voting, any problems, special stories, taking pictures, shooting video, all of that. So they, they did a really wonderful job with that, so we kind of documented some of that in that article--$$Now (unclear)--$$--then we did it again for the inauguration.$$Was this like a priority for the School of Communications at Howard [Howard University, Washington, D.C.] to make sure that we document the history of this first inauguration of (unclear)--$$It was--$$--(Simultaneous)--$$--it was a priority. I mean, it was--the, the university was very engaged, I mean political science obviously. It was a--it was a major story, and one of the things that we--we encourage our students to get off campus. And being here right here in Washington, it was--you know, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to have them, you know, cover history, and they were excited about doing it. And then we had a lot of professionals, and some of our adjuncts had come in too, so we commandeered all of the computer labs on this floor, and we had, you know, just a big operation all day long. And, and so the student who wrote the lead story declaring him the winner, she was actually--she had it online actually ahead of some major news organizations too. But they, they were everywhere. They were at, like I said, all over the precincts, at the White House, on U Street. And, and also, the ones who went home to vote, they were sending back stories and pictures from there. So we had one, when he gave his victory speech--his acceptance speech, we had a student there who sent a picture of--through her cell phone, and we put it online immediately. And she was sending information from there. We had students who were where Biden [Vice President Joe Biden] went to vote in, in Delaware, so they were all over the country and as `well as a big team here. So it was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun, and the students got a lot out of it. Then we did it again for when he ran for re-election.$$--(Simultaneous)--$$And we've done it for a lot of--a lot of different elections, not just those, for local elections as well.$$Okay, okay, students have credentials and stuff when they go out?$$Yeah, they had credentials and, and they've, they've covered things. They've gone out of the country. They've gone to Haiti. They've gone to--they've done, you know, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. So wherever it's a story--anniversary of the sit-in movements in Greensboro, North Carolina. Some of them go abroad and do different things, so wherever there's a--you know, and the hurricanes that were on the East Coast, they were doing--some of them went up to New York and New Jersey to do stories there.$$Okay, this is an art--article too I guess, 'Supplementing the news, an Industry Based De--Description of Magazine Supplements.'$$Yes, that's a journal article. I was always--when I started doing 'BET [Black Entertainment Television] Weekend,' people kept telling me about 'Tuesday,' which was basically doing what we were doing except much earlier. And so I was always fascinated by that history, so I was looking--and then as a result of 'BET Weekend,' a number of other supplements started. People started local ones as well as national ones, so I was looking--I was interested in looking at the history of that. So that's what that article was.$$And what, what are the other memorable ones other than 'Tuesday.'$$There was one called 'Suburban Styles' that was--I think Annette was doing as a partnership. And there was--I'm trying to remember the names of all of them. Oh, the 'Atlanta Daily World' started one of the first ones that they were doing--they were circulating. They owned a number of--they owned a number of other smaller papers, and they were in partnership with a num--they had a distribution arrangement with a number of papers in the South where they were printing their papers for them and distributing them. So they had kind of a sepia tone insert that they were putting in some of the newspapers there. So that was kind of the first one that I discovered, and--so that's, that's one that stood out too.