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Art Fennell

Broadcast journalist Art Fennell was born and raised in Bennettsville, South Carolina. One of twelve children, he graduated from South Carolina State University with a communications degree.

Fennell began his broadcasting career as a radio announcer in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He went on to work in on-air positions at The South Carolina Educational Television Network; WBTW-TV in Florence, South Carolina; WCBD-TV in Charleston, South Carolina; WSAV-TV in Savannah, Georgia and WAVY-TV in Portsmouth, Virginia. Fennell then moved to WCAU NBC-10 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he served in various roles, including as anchor, reporter, host and producer. He was subsequently named principal anchor and managing editor for CN8 News on the Comcast Network based in Philadelphia, and hosted the nightly 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts. From 2006 to 2014, CN8-TV aired “Art Fennell Reports,” where Fennell was executive producer and anchor.

Fennell has also served on special assignments for TV-ONE and led the network’s live national coverage of “The Michael Jackson Memorial” from Los Angeles, “The Democratic National Convention” from Denver, “Election Night 2008” from Chicago, and the historic “Inauguration of President Barack Obama” from Washington, DC. In addition, he taught as an adjunct communications professor at Delaware State University.

Fennell served as president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) from 1995 to 1997. He also served on the boards of UNITY: Journalists of Color and the NABJ, as well as president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, and founding president of the Hampton Roads Black Media Professionals. In 2001, he founded The Arthur Fennell Foundation, which is committed to raising funds and awareness to assist community based organizations dealing with disease, education and prevention in diverse, under-served populations.

Throughout his career, Fennell has been honored with more than seventy-five awards, including the prestigious Vanguard Award presented by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. He also received the 2009 “Journalist of The Year Award” for his work in the Philadelphia region and the 2006 Emmy Award for “Outstanding News Anchor” in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Art Fennell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 12, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.173

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/12/2014

Last Name

Fennell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Blenheim High School

South Carolina State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Arthur

Birth City, State, Country

Bennettsville

HM ID

FEN01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa, The Caribbean, West Coast, South

Favorite Quote

I Hope The Good News Is Yours.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

1/10/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Art Fennell (1961 - ) was a principal anchor and managing editor for CN8 News, and served as executive producer and anchor of CN8-TV’s 'Art Fennell Reports' from 2006 to 2014. He was president of the National Association of Black Journalists from 1995 to 1997.

Employment

Comcast NBC Universal

WCAU

WAVY

WSAV

WCBD

WBTW

SC ETV

Fennell Media

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Art Fennell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Art Fennell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Art Fennell describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Art Fennell describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Art Fennell talks about his maternal grandparents' life in South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Art Fennell describes his maternal grandparents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Art Fennell talks about his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Art Fennell describes his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Art Fennell describes his paternal grandfather's occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Art Fennell talks about his father's education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Art Fennell remembers his family's ghost stories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Art Fennell talks about how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Art Fennell describes his father's occupations

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Art Fennell describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Art Fennell lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Art Fennell describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Art Fennell remembers the tornado that destroyed his home, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Art Fennell remembers the tornado that destroyed his home, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Art Fennell describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Art Fennell remembers Blenheim High School in Blenheim, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Art Fennell remembers the ginger ale factory in Blenheim, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Art Fennell remembers the integration of Blenheim High School in Blenheim, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Art Fennell describes his early interests

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Art Fennell recalls his decision to attend South Carolina State College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Art Fennell recalls his start in the broadcasting industry

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Art Fennell remembers working at WDIX Radio in Orangeburg, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Art Fennell talks about Max Robinson

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Art Fennell recalls the newscasters of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Art Fennell talks about his influential professors

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Art Fennell remembers studying under Eloise Usher Belcher

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Art Fennell recalls his start as a photographer

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Art Fennell talks about the civil rights history of Orangeburg, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Art Fennell remembers his training at SCE-TV in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Art Fennell describes the lack of African American politicians in South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Art Fennell remembers Armstrong Williams

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Art Fennell describes his experiences at WBTW-TV in Florence, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Art Fennell remembers anchoring at WSAV-TV in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Art Fennell remembers moving to WAVY-TV in Portsmouth, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Art Fennell talks about the Hampton Roads Black Media Professionals

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Art Fennell recalls founding the Hampton Roads Black Media Professionals

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Art Fennell talks about being recognized in public

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Art Fennell remembers joining WCAU-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Art Fennell talks about the change in network affiliation at WCAU-TV

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Art Fennell describes his experiences as a talk show host

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Art Fennell recalls becoming president of the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Art Fennell remembers hosting President Bill Clinton at the NABJ national convention

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Art Fennell recalls President Bill Clinton's arrival at the NABJ national convention

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Art Fennell talks about the speakers at the NABJ national convention

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Art Fennell recalls the founding of the NABJ Media Institute

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Art Fennell talks about his time at WCAU-TV

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Art Fennell remembers founding a media consulting company

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Art Fennell remembers his awards and accolades

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Art Fennell remembers developing 'Art Fennell Reports'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Art Fennell recalls his special assignments with TV One

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Art Fennell remembers the election of President Barack Obama

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Art Fennell talks about 'Murder in Memphis: Timeline to an Assassination'

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Art Fennell recalls the acquisition of NBC Universal by the Comcast Corporation

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Art Fennell remembers the cancellation of 'Art Fennell Reports'

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Art Fennell describes his plans for the future

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Art Fennell talks about his interest in photography

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Art Fennell reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Art Fennell talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Art Fennell describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Art Fennell reflects upon his professional legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Art Fennell describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Art Fennell remembers the tornado that destroyed his home, pt. 1
Art Fennell remembers joining WCAU-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Transcript
The most vivid childhood memory came in April of 1969 I think it was. It may have been '68 [1968] or--I think it was '68 [1968] or '69 [1969]. We had just gotten off the school bus coming home from school. And the weather was ominous, and it was just starting to rain very lightly. And me and my brother Dennis [Dennis Fennell] were the only ones on the bus. My other brothers--they had done an experiment. And I won't digress too far with this, away from the story, but they were doing an experiment back then in, in, in Bennettsville [South Carolina] and Blenheim [South Carolina], another small town, where they wanted to test integrating the schools. But for that year, they were asking for volunteers from families, to volunteer children to see if this would work in rural South Carolina. So my next two brothers, Jeffrey [Jeffrey Fennell] and Tommy Lee [Tommy Fennell], were volunteered by my parents [Sarah McLeod Fennell and James Fennell], because they were bigger and older, and they could probably deal with it better than Dennis and myself, who were much younger. So we were still in the segregated school. We were coming home from, from, from school this day, Dennis and I. We get off the bus, and we're walking down the dirt road. And it was this--clouds were getting a little dark. And as we got to the house, my mother was taking in the clothes, 'cause it was obviously just starting to rain. And she said, "Children, help me with these clothes to get 'em off the clothesline, because bad weather is coming." And as we were taking in those clothes, the winds began to pick up more and more and more. And, and it, it became fun for me and my brother because this was an adventure. But I remember going out on probably the last trip to the clothesline. And I looked across the cotton field, and I saw a tornado coming. It was as clear as day, and it was happening now, and it was coming right for us. And so we gathered the last bit of clothes, and we rushed into the house. And as we closed the door, because the winds were very strong, it took all three of us by the way to push and close that door from the force of the wind. But we did close it. And it stayed closed for about five to ten seconds before it exploded open, because at this point the tornado was right on top of us, and we couldn't close that door again. Windows began to explode, and air was all through the house. The tornado was on top of us. And so my mother grabbed me and my brother. And on a, a small little sofa--and I have a picture of us on this small sofa, and it was in the corner of the room by the stove--and she huddled us together like a mother hen gathering her biddies. And she said, "Pray children pray." And we started praying while that tornado sat down upon us. It destroyed our whole house. When it was over, there was nothing left in the house. The roof was gone. All of the other furnishings in the house were gone. The wall behind us was still there, but on the other side of the wall was nothing. But that sofa with myself, my brother, and my mother was still intact with us on it. And I remember looking up at as small boy, and I could see the sky. And I looked around, and we were in a daze, but we were unharmed, not a scratch. So I knew right then about the miracle of God. Because we were there praying and--you know, small children, you know, we were praying. But I was peeping, 'cause I wanted to see this phenomenon happening around us. But we were un- we were unhurt. And so that was--that was a very vivid moment for me, for everyone. The community--once the story had passed, people were rushing to our aid to see if we were okay, if anyone had been harmed, and to see how they could help, 'cause that's what communities do in those types of times.$$That's quite a story.$$Yeah.$$I mean--did you close your eyes while it was going? Did you (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Some of the time. I have to admit I was peeping. I remember peeping. But we had an old iron stove that was no more than five feet away from where I was. That was where we put the, the wood in and you know to warm the house. And I saw that old iron stove with the, the tin pipe that went up to the chimney started to bounce and rock as it was sitting there. It bounced like this, 'cause I was praying and peeping. And then I saw that stove lift off. I've never seen that stove again. It was five feet from me.$$Yeah, that's--$$So, yeah, I think after I saw that, I, I started praying harder than ever because I, I didn't wanna follow the direction of where that, that--where that stove had gone.$Nineteen ninety [1990] now, how, how did the op- opportunity come to--come to--come, come about to come to WCAU-TV in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]?$$Well, I, I was doing the news one night and I got a phone call. And it was from a gentleman named Paul Gluck, who had been visiting his mother who lived in the Hampton Roads [Virginia] area. Paul Gluck I didn't know from a can of paint, but he was the news director in Philadelphia. And he said, "I've watched you; I, I like what I see; when is your contract over in Virginia [WAVY-TV, Portsmouth, Virginia]?" It just so happens that my contract was coming to an end in the next couple of months, and I told him. And so he said, "I'd like to bring you to Philadelphia to take a look around and to see what we do here, and to see if it's something that you and I can come to terms with." And so I do, came to Philadelphia and, and loved it. This was big time TV. This was a completely different animal than anything that I had been accustomed to up until that point. But at least for me by then I'd already worked in several other TV markets. I was used to moving around. I was used to starting from scratch, and so that experience helped me to, to get acclimated in Philadelphia early. I was brought on as the, the five o'clock evening news anchor. I was young, but didn't carry myself in a young way. It became clear that I knew my way around a story in the field, and I knew my way around the anchor desk in the studio, 'cause I'd--by that point I was seasoned. And I wasn't intimidated, but yet, again, I didn't present myself in an arrogant type of way. One thing about Philadelphia that I learned very early, and it's--was true then, and it's true now. In this town, if people like you they will let you know. And if they don't like you, they will let you know. And if they don't like you, you are not long for this city. I'm fortunate that they like me, and so I was able to survive. And as they say, the rest is history. I've had a very good tenure here.

Jim Vance

Broadcast journalist Jim Vance was born on January 10, 1942 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. In 1964, Vance earned his B.S. degree in secondary education from Cheyney State College (now Cheyney University) in Cheyney, Pennsylvania.

Upon graduation, Vance worked as a teacher in the Philadelphia Public Schools, and was then hired as a print journalist for The Philadelphia Independent. During this time he also worked weekends at the radio station WHAT-AM. In 1968, Vance moved to WKBS-TV in Philadelphia, where he served as a reporter and interviewed Muhammad Ali. The following year, Vance joined WRC-TV NBC 4 in Washington, D.C., where he has worked for over forty-five years.

At WRC-TV, Vance worked as co-anchor with Glenn Rinker between 1972 and 1976, and then as a co-anchor with Sue Simmons from 1976 to 1980. Vance and Simmons were one of the first African American co-anchors of a major market newscast. Since 1989, Vance has co-anchored with Doreen Gentzler and they are the longest-running anchor team in Washington, D.C.

Vance has earned numerous awards and honors, including seventeen Emmys and membership in the Silver Circle of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences. He holds the Ted Yates Award for outstanding community service and has been honored as “Washingtonian of the Year.” Vance was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in 2007, and on May 2, 2008, he was inducted into the National Alumni Hall of Fame of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. He has also appeared in the documentaries, Without Bias and The Nine Lives of Marion Barry; and the feature film State of Play.

Vance lived in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Kath McCampbell Vance. They have three children and one grandson.

Jim Vance was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 19, 2014.

Vance passed away on July 22, 2017 at age 75.

Accession Number

A2014.133

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/19/2014

Last Name

Vance

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

Ardmore Avenue Elementary School

Lower Merion High School

Ardmore Junior High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Jim

Birth City, State, Country

Bryn Mawr

HM ID

VAN07

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Martin and Durango, Colorado

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

1/10/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Macaroni and Cheese

Death Date

7/22/2017

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Jim Vance (1942 - 2017 ) anchored WRC-TV Channel 4 in Washington, D.C. for forty-five years. He was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in 2007.

Employment

Philadelphia Public Schools

The Philadelphia Independent

WHAT-AM

WKBS-TV

WRC-TV NBC 4

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jim Vance's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jim Vance lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jim Vance describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jim Vance talks about his relationship with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jim Vance talks about his upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jim Vance describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jim Vance talks about his maternal grandfather's family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jim Vance talks about his maternal family's lore

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jim Vance remembers his mother's emphasis on etiquette

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jim Vance remembers his maternal grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jim Vance describes the Main Line community near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jim Vance talks about the relationship between his maternal and paternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jim Vance describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jim Vance remembers his paternal grandfather, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jim Vance remembers his paternal grandfather, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jim Vance talks about his father's career as a plumber

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jim Vance talks about his father's U.S. Army service in World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jim Vance remembers his father's aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jim Vance reflects upon his upbringing

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jim Vance talks about his parents' marriage

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jim Vance remembers his family's expectations, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jim Vance describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jim Vance describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jim Vance remembers his community in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jim Vance remembers his community in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jim Vance remembers his early experiences of religion, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jim Vance remembers his early experiences of religion, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jim Vance describes his schooling in Ardmore, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jim Vance talks about his skin condition

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jim Vance remembers his early interest in journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jim Vance remembers his family's expectations, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jim Vance remembers an encounter with law enforcement

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jim Vance talks about his decision to attend college

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jim Vance recalls his start at Cheyney State College in Cheyney, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jim Vance talks about the development of his racial identity

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jim Vance recalls lessons from Coach James Stevenson, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jim Vance recalls lessons from Coach James Stevenson, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jim Vance reflects upon his experiences at Cheyney State College, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jim Vance remembers playing football at Cheyney State College

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jim Vance reflects upon his experiences at Cheyney State College, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

3$6

DATitle
Jim Vance remembers his family's expectations, pt. 1
Jim Vance remembers playing football at Cheyney State College
Transcript
I really loved my childhood. I loved being Little Jimmy [HistoryMaker Jim Vance], which is what they called me, for all of those years, because except for my mother [Eleanor Littlejohn Vance] and my [maternal] grandfather [Joseph Littlejohn], everybody else seemed to be really happy that I was around and treated me--and for a long--for a good number of years, I was the only male grandchild, and as such I was spoiled as much as you know, a kid in that level of life could be spoiled. Other side of that is, though, my man, expectations were really high. And I remember there were goodly periods of time where I was mad at those people. I adore them now, but I was angry. The last thing I was--I'll give you an example. For years (gesture) that, any time of day, all day, where an aunt or an uncle, and they were always around, they would (gesture) somebody would do that to me. The deal was, "Hold your head up boy. Do not lower your eyes because you do that you don't see the world." Number one, I remember their saying, all you see is your feet and the ground, you can't learn anything that way. Number two, you never give anybody any sense that you're defeated or dejected or whatever the case may be. Number three, you never, ever show any kind of weakness at all, you know, stand up and keep your head up. I used to hate 'em (laughter). I wanted to punch them when they did that to me. But after a while, you don't do this anymore because it's important you know to--"Okay, whatever you want." That was important to them that I meet, greet, meet, deal with the world and life with a sense of self in pride and whatever else the case may be, and I give them so much credit for that. Now it also had a downside. I was--B's were not good in grades. But whatever ball I was playing you expected to start. The job that I would go to you expected to do this job well. You asked me earlier about a favorite expression or something like that and I really have so many which is why I said, no. One of them among them, and my grandfather--good enough ain't never. He meant that, he lived by that good enough ain't never good enough, or is never acceptable as far as he was concerned. And so those kinds of expectations and demands put a lot of pressure on a kid and 'cause I didn't always feel up to it. Of course, when I grew up, you know I couldn't thank them more for raising the bar, but the bar was always held very, very high, and I was expected to (cough) meet it.$(Simultaneous) So did you play football for Cheyney [Cheyney State College; Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Cheyney, Pennsylvania] (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, played football.$$Okay. What position did you play? I never asked you before, but should have asked.$$See how old you really are, I was a split end.$$Yeah, I know--$$Remember--what's his name, I can't remember his name at Army [United States Military Academy, West Point, New York] who was the first notable split end, call 'em wide receivers now, except we rarely went that far out normally, but it was you know just off the end. But those were the days of both ways. So if you started, you played sixty minutes of ball because, oh god, at Cheyney, because we didn't have scholarships or anything else, we had minimal number on the team. And when I say minimal, I mean we might have twenty-eight, twenty-nine guys, thirty guys. But if you started--and, oh, you were in the game, third quarter come and so you're here on offense and you don't make the first down, you just turn around and now you're a defensive man (laughter), because that's the way it goes. Bradley [Ed Bradley] and I used to always tell the story and some of the other guys of how--he was a center on the team and then middle linebacker when we turn it around. And in the first quarter--I'm sorry, I'm laughing at this 'cause it's just--you had to be there. First quarter Bradley, he's what, 255 [pounds] then kind of big for that time. "Army gang," you know the center calls the huddle, you know, and you huddle in, and he's enthusiastic, "Army gang!" And then the second quarter, "Army gang," third quarter comes, Bradley's like, "Over here, guys." And by the fourth quarter, "(Unclear) (makes sounds)," and that's all, you know, he doesn't even call it anymore, and we're all feeling the same way. And because, on each quarter, with the other teams who are at forty-five, fifty, fifty-five guys, what they put out, we're looking like, just filled with dirt and mud. Here come these new, brand new fresh uniforms, every quarter, we turn around and it's like, oh, my god, and it's a war for sixty minutes, but there's nobody on those teams that ain't my boy, 'cause when you're playing like that, and you know, they're being paid--not paid, but they're getting at least food, meal tickets. And when you're out there, just 'cause, you know, you like playing ball, the guys that are also with you like that who stay to the end of the season, 'cause a lot of times a lot of guys would come they'd stay until homecoming so they could get their picture taken and their parents and their girlfriends come see them, then they'd be off the team and they're gone. We ended most seasons--I remember my first--we ended our season with nineteen guys. We didn't have two full--eleven guys for us. You play with guys like that you're with them for all, for life.$$Okay.$$You don't lose their (unclear). Another thing for example that Cheyney gave to me.

Cheryl Burton

Broadcast journalist Cheryl Burton was born on December 25, 1962 in Chicago, Illinois to Hattie and Simpson Burton. She graduated from Chicago's Lindblom Technical High School in 1980, and then received her B.S. degree in psychology and biology from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1984.

Burton was first seen on television on Romper Room and as a contestant on Star Search. She then hosted an hour long cable television show entitled Simply Elegant and worked as a special education teacher for two years. In 1989, she was hired at WGN-TV in Chicago, Illinois, where she co-anchored “MBR: The Minority Business Report,” a nationally syndicated weekly series. In 1990, Burton moved to Peoria, Illinois, and worked as a reporter at WMBD-TV. From 1990 to 1992, she served as an anchor for KWCH-DT in Wichita, Kansas, where she also hosted the talk show Viewpoint. Burton then joined Chicago’s WLS-TV ABC 7 as a weekend co-anchor and reporter in November of 1992. In 2003, she was promoted to 5 p.m. weekday co-anchor and 10 p.m. contributing anchor for WLS-TV’s newscasts.

Burton has received numerous honors for her work, including three Chicago Association of Black Journalists awards; the 1997 Phenomenal Woman Award from the Expo for Today's Black Woman; a 1998 Kizzy Image and Achievement Award; the 2004 and 2005 Thurgood Marshall Awards; the Vernon Jarrett Par Excellence Award in Journalism; the coveted 2008 National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Salute to Excellence International Award; 2009’s Proctor and Gamble Pioneer Award for community service; and several Emmy Awards. She was also the first recipient of the 2005 "Sisters in the Spirit" Award, given by Chicago area gospel singers to persons who exemplify a faith-based life, and was the first alumnus to be inducted into the Robert Lindblom High School’s hall of fame in 2007.

Burton is a volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club of America and serves as a motivational speaker for the Chicago Public Schools. She serves on the boards of the Life with Lupus Guild, the Multicultural Dance Center and City Year. In addition, Burton is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Chicago Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Cheryl Burton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 20, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.152

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/20/2014

Last Name

Burton

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Annette

Organizations
Schools

Jane A. Neil Elementary School

Arthur J. Dixon Elementary School

Robert Lindblom Math & Science Academy High School

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Cheryl

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BUR25

Favorite Season

Holiday Season

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Africa

Favorite Quote

God Is Good

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/25/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Thanksgiving Dinner

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Cheryl Burton (1962 - ) is the 5 p.m. weekday co-anchor and 10 p.m. contributing anchor for Chicago’s WLS-TV ABC 7 newscasts.

Employment

Andy Frain

Marshall Fields

Elaine Powers

Figure Salon

Paper Girl

Xerox

ABC/Disney

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Cheryl Burton's interview, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Cheryl Burton's interview, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton describes her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton remembers her paternal great-grandparents in Homewood, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton describes her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton describes her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton talks about her mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton describes her childhood personality and her relationship with her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Cheryl Burton recalls her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Cheryl Burton describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton describes her family's experience of racial discrimination in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton talks about her family's move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton describes growing up in the Chatham community of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton recalls the churches she attended in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton talks about her grade school years in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton recalls her experience in the Girl Scouts

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton describes the activities she participated in as a child and the sacrifices her parents made to make them possible

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton describes her personality and intelligence as a young girl

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton talks about academic excellence in her family

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton recalls working for her sister at the Elaine Powers Figure Salon in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton recalls running away at age twelve so her parents would buy her a scooter

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton describes Lindblom Math & Science Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton talks about her extracurricular and athletic activities at Lindblom High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton talks about graduating from Lindblom High School in Chicago, Illinois in 1980

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton talks about appearing on the TV shows 'Romper Room' and 'Kiddie-a-Go-Go' as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton recalls traveling to Washington, D.C. and to Civil Rights Movement sites with her uncle

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton talks about her experience and her roommates at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Cheryl Burton talks about being a cheerleader for the Chicago Bears while attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Cheryl Burton talks about her decision not to attend medical school

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Cheryl Burton recalls working at Marshall Field's and as an Andy Frain usher in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Cheryl Burton talks about her medical internship at the University of Illinois Chicago Circle Campus

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Cheryl Burton describes being a Chicago Honey Bears cheerleader

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton talks about the Chicago Bears and the Honey Bears cheerleaders

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton describes her schedule while she was a Chicago Honey Bears cheerleader and working at Xerox

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton describes being a Chicago Honey Bears cheerleader when the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl in 1986

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton recounts how she met Jim Rose and how he proposed to her

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton recalls working for Xerox and the 1983 election of Chicago mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton talks about her engagement to Jim Rose and her time on 'Star Search'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton recalls auditioning for 'Charlie's Angels' with Halle Berry

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton relates her mother's recollections of life in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton describes her appearance on 'Star Search,' her audition for 'A Different World,' and the beginning of her broadcast news career

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton recalls losing her job at the 'Minority Business Report' in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton describes working at the Home Shopping Network

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton talks about her ex-husband Jim Rose

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton describes working at WMBD-TV in Peoria, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton describes working at KWCH-DT in Wichita, Kansas, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton describes working at KWCH-DT in Wichita, Kansas, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton talks about 'Baby Your Baby,' her news segment on KWCH-DT in Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton recalls working at KWCH-DT in Wichita, Kansas during the Gulf War

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton talks about getting her job at WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Cheryl Burton recalls her father's death

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton describes working with HistoryMaker Harry Porterfield and others at WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton talks about working at WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois while building a home with her then-husband, Jim Rose

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton describes working for Joe Ahern at WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton talks about producing five news broadcasts a day at WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton talks about covering violence as a reporter for WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton describes her sister's support after her divorce from Jim Rose

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton talks about her divorce from Jim Rose, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton talks about her divorce from Jim Rose, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton describes how she started her annual Christmas toy drive

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton talks about her charitable efforts in South Africa and in the United States

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton talks about her friendship with Oprah Winfrey, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton talks about her friendship with Oprah Winfrey, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton describes Oprah Winfrey's 2006 Legends Ball

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton recalls being assaulted in downtown Chicago, Illinois in 2008

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton considers her most difficult interview

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton talks about how she maintains a positive outlook

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton recounts her carjacking experience

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton describes how broadcast news has changed over the course of her career

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton talks about her awards and her personality

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton talks about the children's book series she hopes to publish

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton reflects upon her life and what she would do differently

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton talks about her independent learning style

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Cheryl Burton recounts her role with The HistoryMakers since hosting 'An Evening with Harry Belafonte' in 2000

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$6

DAStory

7$5

DATitle
Cheryl Burton describes her mother's background
Cheryl Burton talks about covering violence as a reporter for WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
So talk about your mother [Hattie Burton] and her background and what you know about her family?$$Well, my sister--when I was, you know, discussing that this was gonna take place, she said that, you know, my father's [Simpson Leo Burton's] descendants [sic, ancestors] were field slaves and my mom's descendants were house slaves. So it's very different. On my mother's side, everybody is educated. My grandparents are college educated. My mom and dad, you know, my mom and all of her siblings are college educated, and my mom has master's degrees, but on my father's side, they might go to high school, his parents and their grandparents might have gone to eighth grade. My father, though, and all of his siblings have post-graduate college degrees. My mom, she was born--$$Give her name too.$$Oh, my mom's name, she was born Hattie Eloise Woods, and then she married my dad, and her name became Hattie Eloise Burton, of course. And she was born in 1930 [April 5, 1930], during the [Great] Depression. So she talks a lot about that, you know, being poor in the South. But her parents were entrepreneurs, of course. They had a store in the back of their house because they had to, you know, make a way and make money. They sold candy and cookies and bread. They'd sell a slice of bread, one slice of bread. They'd sell one cookie. They'd sell one cigarette, whatever they could sell, you know, or you know, one gulp in their cup and sell that. But so my mom was educated in a one-room schoolhouse, an actual little, red schoolhouse. There were kindergarten all the way up to twelfth grade in this one-room schoolhouse. And my mom had to walk miles and miles to get to school 'cause they lived in the country. And she said they would stop halfway between and build a fire to stay warm before they could get to school. So I like to think my mom was incredibly intelligent because she was going to school with people who were seniors in high school, and she was just five in kindergarten. And her parents were educated. So they made sure that their children were educated as well. My mom excelled and she skipped so many grades when they finally moved out of the country, my mom went from like kindergarten to third grade when she started school. And they didn't say anything because she was smart, and she got right in there. My mom probably, always wanted to be a teacher. Her sister was a teacher and her other sister was a registered nurse, and my mom taught forty years in the Chicago [Illinois] Public School system. She loved having children. And, actually, though they didn't plan on having five. I think my dad probably wanted one or two, but, you know how that is (laughter), so my mom's pretty cute. So (laughter), but so my mom went to high school, and she excelled very well. She, you know, she learned how to sew. Like I said, she wanted us to sew. We all had our own personalized sewing machines where each one was labeled with our names, and we had to sew an item. If we wanted to spend the night over a friend's house, you had to make some clothes. So that was very big for my mom, and then, of course, she goes to college. I think my mom was a virgin when she met my dad. I really do. I ask her all the time, and she doesn't answer. But I think she was, and they went to prom in a Jeep, and she thought my father was so handsome and so smart 'cause she was raised in the country, you know, and he was that slick, Rosedale [Homewood, Alabama], entrepreneur, you know, I've got visions and dreams. We're gonna move to Chicago. We, you know, we're gonna do things. I got plans. I'm gonna president and so she was very impressed. But he was very nice to her, but a go-getter, you know. He had a great spirit about life, and he was always doing something that would better the lives of his family, no matter what the risk. He would do that. And so they met, and mom's the baby of three girls, by the way.$So you're--you know, it looks like a very steady growth, but are you--and you make everything seem so easy, you know--(simultaneous)--$$No.$$--in some respects. But can you--I know besides that, but what have been some of your low points? And what have been some of your--and I have some things here that I know are high points, but can we talk about low points?$$Some of the, you know, when I was a reporter, I worked the night shifts, from two [o'clock AM] to ten [o'clock AM]. So things happen a lot between that time. And I was a reporter Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, two to ten. And I would go out regularly on stories about child molestations and drive-by shootings and child abuse stories, regularly. And it began to chip away at my spirit. It was very hard to keep going to these homes and ask families for photographs of their loved ones who had been killed in a drive-by shooting or who had been molested by their teacher or who had been hit by a car. That, I have a very compassionate spirit, so I take that with me at home. And it was very hard, and it began chip away at who I was. And, you know, I know Oprah [Winfrey] talks very often about when she worked in Baltimore and that's why she auditioned for the job in Chicago [Illinois] to be this talk show host for 'AM Chicago' because she couldn't do it anymore. And I totally understand what she was saying. And people would say, Cheryl, I don't know how you do it. You know, I would go, and I would go into some of the projects in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods. And I'd be climbing up stairs in dark and hoping I wouldn't get shot or attacked with a cameraman, going to get pictures and talk to people, and hoping I wasn't gonna get beat up, coming to a crime scene very soon after, and it does happen to reporters and cameramen, things do happen like that. So I was concerned, and one time I went to a rally, and I have a picture in my office. And I'm holding hands praying with some kids, and he has a t-shirt on that says "Stop the Violence", and somebody took that picture of me and sent it. And, you know, reporters aren't supposed to get involved, but that was who I was. I needed to pray with these people and hold their hands. I'm covering the story, but they started, they asked for prayer, and I held hands and did that. And it got to me so bad that I went to Emily Barr, and I said, "Emily, we have to do something. All of these young people are being killed. And some of them are the brightest." They had futures that were just so shiny, and I said, we must do something. So she agreed with me, and we started a campaign called "Stop the Violence", and our first project that we did was, we had a town hall meeting with the mayor of Chicago [Richard M. Daley], the superintendent of Chicago, the superintendent of Chicago Public Schools. And we had some psychiatrists, some psychologists, and we had a gentleman by the name of [HistoryMaker] Roland Martin. And he will tell you that he gives me credit for starting his television career in the city of Chicago because I had hand-picked him to come and be a part of this discussion. Emily liked him so much--she was a little nervous though 'cause he could be controversial. But his verbiage was so on point, and so profound, and it was inspiring. It was motivational, and it got you to think. And so that was our very first project. After that, we did half hour specials where we began to talk to people who worked in the community. But those have been some of my--you know, I've arrived on plane crash scenes, and the deceased are still in the plane. And I've seen dead bodies, and I had to go home, and I couldn't get that out of my head. I've seen them in, dead bodies in sewers, where I've come upon a crime scene, and the police haven't arrived yet. And it was just very challenging.

Jose Griñan

Broadcast journalist José Griñán was born on July 24, 1952 in Tampa, Florida. His father was a native Cuban; his mother, a first generation Cuban-American. Griñán studied speech and theatre at the University of South Florida, but his interest in broadcasting resulted from his filming and helping to produce documentaries for the U.S. Army.

In 1975, Griñán was hired as a reporter and weekend anchor for KTSM AM-FM-TV in El Paso, Texas. From 1978 to 1982, he worked as a news reporter and anchor for Miami, Florida’s WCKT-TV (now WSVN-TV). Griñán worked as a news anchor for the now defunct Satellite News Channel in 1982 and 1983, before being hired by WTVJ-TV in Miami in 1984, where he stayed until 1990. From 1990 to 1993, he was a correspondent/host for Crime Watch Tonight, and served as a freelance correspondent and researcher for CNN, and other broadcast services. In 1991, he anchored and reported for KDFW-TV in Dallas, Texas, and then, in August of 1993, Griñán joined FOX’s KRIV-TV in Houston, Texas, where he is the senior morning news anchor for the 6:00 a.m., 7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m. and 12 noon newscasts.

Throughout his career, Griñán has covered major events of all types, including floods, hurricanes, the sewer explosion in Guadalajara, Mexico, and the Branch Davidian siege in Waco, Texas, where he was one of the first reporters on the scene. In addition, Griñán has produced a variety of special series reports, and has hosted two public affairs programs for KRIV-TV: “The Black Voice” and “Hola Houston.”

Griñán has been active in the community and has served as a volunteer for the National Kidney Foundation, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Special Olympics and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, among others. Griñán is also a board member of the Dive Pirate Foundation, the Houston READ Commission, and Keep Houston Beautiful/Clean City America.

Griñán has been a member of the National Association of Black Journalists since 1978, and maintains membership in the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Southwest Alternate Media Project. He is the father of two adult girls.

José Griñán was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 8, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.132

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/8/2014

Last Name

Grinan

Maker Category
Schools

University of South Florida

Henry B. Plant High School

Jesuit High School

George Washington Carver Junior High School

Meacham Alternative School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Jose

Birth City, State, Country

Tampa

HM ID

GRI10

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cayman Brac

Favorite Quote

For All Your Days Prepare, And Meet Them Ever Alike; When You Are The Anvil, Bear; When You Are The Hammer, Strike.$

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

7/24/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Latino, Creole

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Jose Griñan (1952 - ) was the senior morning news anchor on KRIV-TV Fox 26, where he worked from 1993.

Employment

KTSM

WCKT-TV (WSVN-TV)

Satellite News Channel

WTVJ-TV

Crime Watch Tonight

CNN

KDFW-TV

KRIV-TV

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:1100,10:9248,187:11600,239:12188,248:19720,357:20024,362:20784,374:21316,382:22076,394:22912,409:26408,466:27396,480:28308,494:28688,500:30208,522:32260,551:32716,558:37945,572:38285,577:38880,586:39220,591:39560,596:40240,607:41515,628:43968,641:45336,664:53570,763:53878,768:55572,798:56188,813:57728,846:66760,957:73649,1086:74313,1101:74977,1110:75558,1119:76305,1131:78961,1165:83591,1187:87314,1223:90714,1302:91122,1309:91870,1322:92414,1338:94182,1367:106260,1531:108290,1586:113192,1627:115250,1636:115646,1643:116900,1672:127490,1846:133580,1906:133780,1911:139502,1964:143948,2089:155081,2268:155697,2279:170889,2425:172563,2446:178808,2516:180131,2541:180887,2555:181328,2563:186472,2611:190685,2686:213548,2979:214016,2986:223640,3074:224333,3086:229328,3136:238357,3202:238784,3210:252768,3394:253265,3403:263064,3564:279070,3697:279610,3704:314062,4138:314358,4143:322898,4291:327976,4392:333880,4473$0,0:17523,226:17871,231:21647,279:23190,286:23676,294:24324,304:24648,309:24972,314:28434,348:30259,388:30697,396:31208,405:35323,439:36653,454:40728,473:41330,481:50050,655:56083,739:60980,781:62809,835:63045,840:63812,868:64048,874:64461,882:64756,892:64992,897:65523,909:65759,914:72335,958:78242,1051:79606,1088:80164,1098:80412,1103:81404,1135:81900,1145:82644,1162:84442,1209:84814,1217:85062,1222:86302,1250:92010,1279:92430,1291:99210,1359:101630,1365:102494,1376:111320,1442:114932,1471:115490,1482:115738,1487:115986,1492:116730,1507:126107,1630:129770,1646:130514,1665:131072,1680:131568,1690:132250,1717:132622,1726:133800,1751:141040,1815:142009,1838:143434,1873:144061,1886:144289,1891:146569,1948:151068,1975:152368,2008:153880,2014:164700,2123:169520,2171:170122,2179:171240,2199:171670,2205:179738,2347:180014,2352:180290,2357:180704,2364:181187,2373:183843,2383:184624,2395:185192,2405:185760,2414:188845,2478:192075,2537:192525,2544:195761,2577:198572,2606:228031,2935:237071,2986:241648,3006:244689,3060:247559,3094:248670,3125
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jose Grinan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jose Grinan lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jose Grinan describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jose Grinan describes his community in Tampa, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jose Grinan describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jose Grinan talks about his experiences of discrimination as a black Cuban American

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jose Grinan describes the history of racial discrimination in Cuba

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jose Grinan talks about the experiences of black Cubans under Fidel Castro and Fulgencio Batista

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jose Grinan describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jose Grinan talks about his family's roots in Cuba

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jose Grinan talks about the Spanish American War

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jose Grinan talks about Antonio Maceo Grajales

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jose Grinan talks about his mother's education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jose Grinan describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jose Grinan describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jose Grinan talks about his father's education and career

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jose Grinan talks about the brutality of slavery in Cuba

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jose Grinan lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jose Grinan describes his home life in Tampa, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jose Grinan describes the sights and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Jose Grinan remembers Meacham Elementary School in Tampa, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Jose Grinan remembers visiting Cuba

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jose Grinan talks about the history of baseball in Tampa, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jose Grinan describes his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jose Grinan remembers his godfather, Francisco A. Rodriguez

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jose Grinan talks about his experiences at Jesuit High School in Tampa, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jose Grinan talks about his mentors and his aspirations to become a lawyer

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jose Grinan remembers his mentor at Jesuit High School in Tampa, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jose Grinan recalls his early exposure to black theater and screen acting

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jose Grinan remembers the growth of the Black Power movement

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jose Grinan remembers moving out of his parent's home

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jose Grinan talks about the counterculture of the early 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jose Grinan recalls his draft orders from the U.S. military, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jose Grinan remembers appearing in 'The Daredevil'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jose Grinan recalls his draft orders from the U.S. military, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jose Grinan describes his start in film production, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jose Grinan describes his start in film production, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jose Grinan describes the film production process

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Jose Grinan describes his duties at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Jose Grinan remembers becoming a reporter at KTSM-TV in El Paso, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jose Grinan remembers becoming a radio host at KTSM Radio

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jose Grinan remembers advocating for undercover officer Frank Percy

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jose Grinan recalls joining WCKT-TV in Miami, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jose Grinan talks about the migration of Cubans to Miami, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jose Grinan remembers the riots of 1980 in Miami, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jose Grinan recalls working for the Satellite News Channel in Stamford, Connecticut

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jose Grinan remembers his work on 'Crime Watch Tonight'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jose Grinan talks about his first marriage

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Jose Grinan talks about his role as an advocate for minority communities

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Jose Grinan remembers the drug wars in Miami, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jose Grinan talks about the height of drugs and crime in Miami, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jose Grinan talks about the Mariel boatlift in Miami, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jose Grinan remembers Bishop Agustin Roman's peace negotiations at the federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jose Grinan recalls the aftermath of the prison riot in Oakdale, Louisiana

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jose Grinan recalls his transition to KDFW-TV and KRIV-TV in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jose Grinan remembers the mass killings of the early 1990s

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jose Grinan remembers the Branch Davidian siege in Waco, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jose Grinan remembers joining KRIV-TV in Houston, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Jose Grinan talks about the local stations affiliated with FOX

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jose Grinan talks about working at KRIV-TV in Houston, Texas

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jose Grinan talks about his work with minority journalist organizations

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jose Grinan remembers covering the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jose Grinan reflects upon his career as a journalist

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jose Grinan remembers saving a woman from a burning car

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jose Grinan talks about the aftermath of saving a person's life

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jose Grinan remembers Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Jose Grinan remembers experiencing a stroke on the air

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Jose Grinan talks about working at KRIV-TV in Houston, Texas

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Jose Grinan talks about the importance of community relationships

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Jose Grinan remembers interviewing Minister Louis Farrakhan

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Jose Grinan describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Jose Grinan talks about his father's legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Jose Grinan talks about his plans to write a book about his mother

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Jose Grinan reflects upon his life and legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Jose Grinan talks about his daughters, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Jose Grinan remembers vacations with his daughters

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Jose Grinan talks about his daughters, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Jose Grinan talks about his wife, Kathryn Griffin Grinan

Tape: 8 Story: 12 - Jose Grinan describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

11$3

DATitle
Jose Grinan remembers visiting Cuba
Jose Grinan remembers Bishop Agustin Roman's peace negotiations at the federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana
Transcript
Okay. And meanwhile, now, you're born in '52 [1952]?$$Yes.$$But in, was it '56 1956], that's when the Cuban Revolution ends?$$In '59 [1959].$$Fifty-nine [1959], yeah.$$Yeah.$$The traffic back and forth, you know.$$Well, you used to travel back and forth. In fact, I was there in '58 [1958].$$Okay.$$Before--because my father [Jose Grinan] (laughter)--it's very strange and unusual right now. Because, okay, last year I went to Cuba looking for distant relatives. Because I had addresses and phone numbers that I hadn't called and used in more than twenty years. But I went with the hope that they would still be in the same place. I go back. Yes, I find the grandchildren of the people I knew. And they're amazed that I know so much about them. I knew so much about their grandmother. But what I haven't told them is that, "I think your grandmother was my daddy's girlfriend for a while before he got married to my mother [Sylvia Grillo Grinan]." Because they both came from the same town, Remedios [Cuba], and they both moved to Havana [Cuba]. And they just stayed in touch when they were students going to school, and afterwards. And when I went as a journalist in 1978, I think we had gone to a Cuban prison called El Combinado del Este [Havana, Cuba]. I had gone through a lot of high school yearbooks in Miami [Florida] just to look to see, and see what names--, "Okay, he was captured." So when I went to the prison I could say, "Your name is Yoenio [ph.], no?" "Yes, how do you know that?" "Well, your daddy told me to tell you hello, and he's looking forward to your returning." Emotional moments in a prison. Coming back from the prison we were staying in el Hotel Nacional [Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Havana, Cuba]. At that time, Cubans were not allowed inside. So, we were getting off the bus and this little old lady just stood right in front of me, stopped my path, "You look just like your papa." "Excuse me?" And then she started running down my pedigree. She knew my grandfather [Antonio Grillo], she knew my mother's mother [Amparo Valdez Grillo]; she knew my grandmother on my father's side [Luisa Falero Grinan]. She just knew everybody. And it's like, "Who are you?" "Well, I'm Amelia [ph.]. Don't you remember coming to my house as a child?" "Are you the lady who had canaries?" "Yes, yes." You don't know what stuff like that does to somebody's mind. Very, very, emotional. Because it's tapping into a past that you really didn't know about. Now, I had to bribe a taxi driver to go to her neighborhood, because this was in 1978. You weren't supposed to walk around in Cuba if you were an American. You know, everybody's going to be watching you. And I could tell you some stories about being watched in Cuba. Amelia cooked me rice, beans and pork. And I had to ask her, "Where did you get all of this?" "We have our ways, Jose [HistoryMaker Jose Grinan], we have our ways." And she gave me a silver dollar, a Jose Marti silver dollar [Cuban peso] to give to my father, and I did that when I came back. But Amelia, interesting story. In I want to say the late '30s [1930s] or early 1940s, Communists had truckloads of food, and they would go through neighborhoods. "You want a bag of food? You could feed your family for two weeks with this, but you have to sign this paper." A lot of people signed the paper. In 1960 when Amelia left her house with her bags and went to the airport to get on a plane to go to Miami, they pulled out this piece of paper and said, "Is that your signature?" "Yes, but that was so long ago." "We don't admit Communists to the United States." So, she had to turn around and go back home. Now, if she didn't have her son staying in that house and her grandchildren staying in that house, she would have been homeless, have no place to go to. I asked her in 1980 when I was there, "What happened?" That was '78 [1978]. "What happened to the canaries? You know, I remember some, you know, all these canaries. You had a patio, you had all of these cages--big, two big cages." She said, "Jose, I was not going to let that man profit off my hard work." She's talking about Castro [Fidel Castro]. So, what she did was open all of the cages and let the birds go free. Because she was not, she wouldn't have been able to make any money on them, because the society was changing into a Socialist society.$$Okay.$$So, she said, "You know, I can't be free, but I'll let them go."$So, do you think the drugs and the, you know, there's the connection here (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) The Cocaine Cowboys?$$Yeah, the Cocaine Cowboys and the Mariel situation [Mariel boatlift].$$Because many of those who came from Mariel--and this was, okay, let me explain this. Many of those who came were criminal, but some were not. But they had to engage in criminal activity here in order to feed their families. The guy who negotiated the peace at--it was a federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana [Federal Correctional Institution, Oakdale]. The guy who negotiated the peace was a lieutenant in the Cuban Navy [Cuban Revolutionary Navy] who defected to come to the U.S. But he couldn't find a job because he didn't have any documents. So, he dealt cocaine. He got arrested, sent to prison. He was getting ready to be sent back, but then they stopped that, because those who were going to be sent back were going to be persecuted. He was a good man, but he had to feed his family, so he did something wrong. And there were a lot of folks who were in the prison who did something like that, got caught, and they were thrown in prison. Now, if they had a job, if they had all of these other things, they would not have had to go to prison. But it was, it was, that was an interesting time. I think that was '88 [1988].$$Okay.$$And then in fact, that ended with Bishop Agustin Roman who--remember when I said sometimes you just have to help people? I should not have done something as a journalist, but I did it as a human being. People in Oakdale, Louisiana, they didn't have Bishop Agustin Roman's personal number. I did, because he was the bishop for the Cubans in Miami [Florida]. I had to have it, because he was one of my contacts. So, I wrote the number down in my book, and I put my book at the end of the table and told Carla Dudeck--and I remember her name because she was the attorney who was representing all of them, "Carla, there may be something down at the end of the table that you could use." And they went, looked, called the bishop, and he was there the next day. And it ended that day. Nobody else got hurt. And it was an amazing thing to see all of these hard core inmates--I mean they had ripped up the inside of the prison. They had made weapons out of the beds; they had done everything. And they were really ready to fight the corrections officers, National Guard [National Guard of the United States], anybody. But they didn't. And when the Bishop came, he got on the back of a pickup truck and rode the circumference around the gate. And it was amazing to see all these tough guys drop their weapons in a pile, get on their knees. And the Bishop blessed them all, went to another group--blessed them all. And they dropped the weapons. Was I wrong in leaving the number? I think I did the right thing, because I didn't want to see a blood bath, and they were ready for a blood bath (pause). I guess I'd think twice about doing it now, but I thought I was helping people. I didn't want to see a massacre, because that's what the National Guard would have done.

Derek McGinty

Broadcast journalist Derek McGinty was born on August 17, 1959 in Washington, D.C. He attended Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, and graduated in 1977. McGinty went on to receive his B.A. degree in journalism from American University in Washington, D.C. in 1981.

McGinty was hired first as a desk assistant for ABC Radio News in the Washington bureau, and then became a reporter for United Press International's Washington Metro desk. From 1984 to 1991, McGinty worked as an anchor/reporter for WHUR-FM, where he went on to co-host “The Daily Drum,” a news and interview program covering local politics. He then hosted the radio talk show called “The Derek McGinty Show” from 1991 to 1998 on WAMU in Washington, D.C. His guests included former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, former Secretary of State James Baker, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, rapper Ice-T and author Robert Ludlum, among others. McGinty also served as an anchor for News Channel 8 in Washington, D.C. in 1994. In addition, he worked as a correspondent for the PBS series "State of the Union," as a moderator for "Straight Talk with Derek McGinty" on Washington, D.C.'s WETA-TV, and as a correspondent for the CBS News program "Coast to Coast." He has also served as host of WETA's public affairs program "Here & Now," guest host of NPR's All Things Considered, and host of Discovery Channel's weekly online talk show, "Live! With Derek McGinty."

In 1998, McGinty left WAMU and was hired as a correspondent on the CBS News program “Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel.” He then served as a correspondent for “Real Sports” on HBO from 1999 to 2003, and worked as a reporter and anchor for WJLA from 1999 to 2001. From 2001 to 2003, he was co-anchor of ABC's “World News Now,” and anchor of “World News This Morning.” In 2003, McGinty joined WUSA, where he serves as the weekday anchor for WUSA 9 News at 7pm and weeknight co-anchor for WUSA 9 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. He was also the host of “Eye on Washington.” McGinty has written articles that have appeared in The New York Times; The Washington Post; The New York Daily News; and Washingtonian Magazine.

In 1994, “The Derek McGinty Show” received the Gold Award for Public Affairs Programming from the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, the highest programming honor in public radio.

Derek McGinty was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 19, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.097

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/19/2014

Last Name

McGinty

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Schools

American University

Woodrow Wilson High School

Keene Elementary School

Rabaut Junior High School

Archbishop Carroll High School

First Name

Derek

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

MCG07

Favorite Season

Summer

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Ski Resorts

Favorite Quote

Such is life.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/17/1959

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hamburgers

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Derek McGinty (1959 - ) was an anchor on WUSA 9 News from 2003, and was the host of the award-winning “The Derek McGinty Show” from 1991 to 1998.

Employment

WUSA-TV 9

ABC News

ABC World News This Morning

HBO

WJLA TV

CBS News

WAMU Radio

WHUR-FM Radio

WTOP TV

ABC Radio News

Favorite Color

Red and Blue

Timing Pairs
310,0:606,5:6340,128:12440,194:12704,199:20610,313:29006,406:33998,538:34574,553:36302,602:48442,785:48797,791:49294,802:49720,809:53490,897:53840,903:54890,928:56220,1061:68780,1197:73820,1325:78160,1399:85580,1454:90838,1570:101664,1685:102231,1705:103743,1752:108872,1943:115246,2034:116606,2070:116946,2076:118374,2122:129681,2326:130391,2339:134935,2458:135219,2463:136284,2485:140757,2633:142177,2663:144165,2726:153572,2844:154978,2874:160595,2954:167114,3092:168500,3121:169886,3159:171349,3191:173351,3233:193500,3482$0,0:7870,79:10198,111:10563,117:18085,332:35960,528:36456,539:45984,714:50012,746:57823,911:58115,916:58699,925:62615,942:62915,948:64490,990:70792,1096:75528,1225:78858,1307:90136,1507:91098,1535:97980,1710:98646,1731:101162,1783:101458,1788:101754,1793:120966,2098:121746,2112:127050,2221:133572,2329:146431,2507:146857,2517:147425,2528:149981,2603:150478,2614:164892,2805:165948,2888:182406,3160:183062,3178:183554,3183:184128,3191:194735,3405:195100,3411:195830,3427:196341,3522:203906,3563:206870,3635:207326,3643:208314,3668:212114,3839:228457,4081:232048,4170:232678,4184:233119,4192:236332,4266:257101,4657:258487,4691:270176,4936:270428,4941:275790,5029
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Derek McGinty's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Derek McGinty lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Derek McGinty talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Derek McGinty talks about his mother's educational background and career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Derek McGinty talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Derek McGinty talks about his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Derek McGinty reflects upon his father's dream of being a playwright

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Derek McGinty describes the plays his father wrote

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Derek McGinty describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Derek McGinty describes his father's features and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Derek McGinty describes his mother's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Derek McGinty talks about his mother's Howard University music students that included Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Derek McGinty talks about his sister

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Derek McGinty talks about his brother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Derek McGinty describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Derek McGinty describes his childhood neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Derek McGinty describes the sights, smells, and sounds of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Derek McGinty recalls the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Derek McGinty talks about his experiences in elementary and middle school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Derek McGinty describes his childhood interests and activities

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Derek McGinty describes his interest in fashion and style as a teenager in the 1960s and 1970s

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Derek McGinty remembers his childhood teachers and mentors

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Derek McGinty describes how transferring schools affected him as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Derek McGinty talks about how meeting news anchor James Vance influenced his decision to become a journalist

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Derek McGinty talks about his high school experiences and mentors

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Derek McGinty describes how his parents' influenced his decision to attend American University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Derek McGinty describes his experiences at American University, including pledging Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Derek McGinty describes his stand on freedom of speech at American University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Derek McGinty describes his father's focus on honesty and integrity as part of a core value system

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Derek McGinty talks about being an African American student at American University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Derek McGinty talks about his internships and employment while a student at American University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Derek McGinty talks about his admiration for Bryant Gumbel and the influence of his teachers at American University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Derek McGinty talks about his internship at ABC News while a student at American University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Derek McGinty talks about being hired as a news writer

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Derek McGinty describes his hiring as a news reporter at United Press International

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Derek McGinty describes his first on-air job at WHUR

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Derek McGinty talks about how "The Derek McGinty Show" started

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Derek McGinty describes the continued segregation in radio

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Derek McGinty talks about his most memorable shows

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Derek McGinty talks about his favorite "The Derek McGinty Show" shows

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Derek McGinty talks about leaving "The Derek McGinty Show"

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Derek McGinty describes his experiences covering HBO "Real Sports" stories, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Derek McGinty describes his experiences covering HBO "Real Sports" stories, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Derek McGinty talks about co-anchoring for ABC World News Now

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Derek McGinty talks about his current position at WUSA Channel Nine News in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Derek McGinty describes his most memorable moments and stories at WUSA Channel Nine News

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Derek McGinty reflects upon the death of President Ronald Reagan and the Boston bombing as some of his biggest news stories

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Derek McGinty credits his persistence as a key to his success

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Derek McGinty reflects upon his building a career in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Derek McGinty shares his philosophy on journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Derek McGinty describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Derek McGinty reflects upon his career

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Derek McGinty compares television and radio

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Derek McGinty talks about what he would have done differently in life

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Derek McGinty describes his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Derek McGinty talks about his civic involvement

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Derek McGinty talks about his loved ones and family

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Derek McGinty shares insight into his experiences with difficult radio and television guests

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Derek McGinty shares how he wants to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

11$5

DATitle
Derek McGinty talks about how "The Derek McGinty Show" started
Derek McGinty talks about co-anchoring for ABC World News Now
Transcript
Then they put me anchoring "The Daily Drum" [WHUR-FM]. So I anchored "The Daily Drum" for a couple of years. Then--that was a great gig I mean a tremendous learning experience for me--I get a call from a friend of mine, a guy name Richard Paul, who had gone to school with me at AU [American University] and he says, WAMU [FM] is looking for a talk show host, you ought to apply. Here we go again. But this was a whole different thing, so I--I almost didn't send in the tape, right. I waited a week or two, you know, it's gonna be a pain to get it together, I don't know, but then I said, no, you have to do this. So I got it together, got it in there and they called me in for an interview and then they said, you have to audition. So the audition was I had to do the show for three hours, one Friday night. I said, okay. So I went and did it. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. Three hours on the air. I had never done anything like that. It was really difficult and, you know, taking phone calls for that long. I had done a little bit of that at the Daily Drum, we had a little 20 minute show, but nothing like three hours, that's a whole different creature. But I made it through, and I remember at the end of it, I thought to myself, man I don't even want this job, it's too hard, you know, and you know long story short, they called me up a few months later after lots of controversy to say that they really liked me, but they were going to hire this other guy. And I said, okay. I was just glad to really be considered, you know, I came in second, maybe this could lead to something else you know whatever. They said, we're ninety something percent sure that we're going to sign him but if we don't we'll call you back. That was like a Friday. Tuesday, he called me back. We couldn't sign him up, we had--are you still interested? I'm thinking part of me say, oh, I'm the second choice, the other part of me says, who cares, you know. So I take the job. And that job, of course, you know, lead to everything that I'd been able, to a great deal, of what I've been able to accomplished, because I was good at that job, you know. And my father had always said, you know, you're a natural conversationalist, you're a natural interviewer, you should-- this is what you should be doing. And I think he was right, I mean, I think, you know, I was able to really get people to talk and I enjoyed the heck out of it and I had a good time with it, and you know, they moved it, it was night time at the time. When I first got there, it was eight to eleven week nights and then it became--they changed it from noon to two, which was a great thing, because being on eight to eleven was tough on the social life. It became noon to two and you know sort of the sky was the limit. They syndicated it. I mean it was a great gig. It really was the best job I've ever had.$$Well what was the name of it in the beginning?$$It was called, I think it was--they made it the Derek McGinty Show when I first came on board, because it had been the Mike Cuspard Show, when I first came on board and then Mike left to go to some big job up in Boston or whatever, and then it became the Derek McGinty Show. So it was always the Derek McGinty Show, as far as I can recall.$$Okay, so this starts in 1991?$$Yes. And went to '98' (1998). And over that time, I mean, it was a great ride, it was great ride. I didn't even know how good I had it working at that station.$World News Now, overnight?$$Yes, I left ABC in 2000--March, 2001, to go to New York and do the overnight show, World News Now. Frankly, this is one of those kind of jobs where I was almost hoping it didn't come through. (laughing) Because I was thinking, man, working overnights, moving to New York, I don't know if I want to do that, you know. But it came through, I kind of had to take it, cause you know, this kind of opportunities don't come, so I took it. Moved to New York and it was as difficult and as painful as I thought it would be. But it was all worth it.$$Now, this is, you know, the overnight show, I used to watch it because I stay up late at night. I used to see it is more discussion, but it's not like the early morning discussion. What was--was there a format?$$Well, yeah, there was a format. I mean, we did the news, we had fun, you know. I mean as somebody said, we do the news like nobody's watching it, you know, which was kind of true, but we did have a couple of million people watching it, you know, we had fun with it. And we had a lot of room to have fun because you know it was at two o'clock in the morning, so we could do--and no one would ever leave that job if--'cause it was so much fun to do, the people were great. No one would ever leave if the hours were decent, you know, but you can only do that job for a couple of years before you go, oh, I gotta get out of here, you know. But it was a great--it was a fun job, you know. But moving to New York was hard. New York's a big old lonely town, as I found it to be. I'm working overnights, you know, I'm trying to figure out how to get sleep, you know. I'm living in this new apartment. I used to have a house, now I have an apartment you know I'm living in. And I don't know that many people. It was hard, it was a hard transition, you know.$$Who was your co-anchor?$$I had two. I had Alison Stewart and then I had Liz Cho. Liz Cho and I became--Alison and I were fine, I mean, you know, but Liz and I became good friends, you know, and I still call her every once and a while, she's an anchor in New York at the ABC [WABC-TV News Channel 7] station up there now. Liz was--Liz was beautiful. I mean, she was gorgeous and while we were doing it, she got to be one of the People's [People Magazine] "50 Most Beautiful People," you know. She was--that just kind of tells you. And so, I kept saying, I don't know why I didn't get in there. But as pretty as she was, that's how nice she was, you know. We just had a great time together, we were really good friends. I really liked her, you know, as a person, you know and so. "The Lizard," as I used to call her. Like I said she's still in New York anchoring at Channel Seven. I need to give her a call, see how she's doing.$$Okay. Yeah, it's interesting, a little back and forth--$$Yeah, we had a good time. That was a great job, but like I said, man, you just (simultaneous)--$$--And the news coverage was actually good.$$--But it was just the hours, you know, working overnights, that's--whew, it's tough, it's tough.$$So you were there like for how long?$$I was there for two years.$$Two years, okay.$$And then Channel Nine [WUSA-TV, Washington, D.C.] called and wanted me to do their seven o'clock news and so I said, yes, although I still had a year left on my contract at ABC. So I had to get them to let me out of the contract, which they did, which tells me they weren't that interested in keeping me. But, cause if they had really wanted me, they would have said, no. But they did, they were very nice about it, they let me out of my contract so I could come to Washington [D.C.] and do this and where I've been ever since.$$Well it seems as though the philosophy of World News Now is to bring in somebody new every couple of years anyway--$$Yes.$$--I don't know.$$I think you're right. They do cycle anchors through there because you either, you know, become a correspondent or you're kind of out of there. So, that's kind of what happens cause there's no more anchoring job that you're gonna get right at the network, you're either on--there's only two shows, the morning show and the night and the evening news and those jobs are taken, right, so if you want to be in anchor, you kind of got to leave the network, you know. And so that's what happens, you do that so for a couple of years and then you go on off and do something else. So, you're right, they do seem to do that.$$It seems that the roles seem to be cast appeal to the younger audience than the regular news.$$What, on World News Now?$$Yeah.$$I don't know about now. I haven't seen it, you know, since I left practically, but--$$Over the years you see like there are younger people sitting there (simultaneous)--$$--Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.$$--Seem to know more contemporary stuff than (simultaneous)--$$Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's a hipper--it considers itself more of a hipper show, and that might be what you're talking about. So, yeah, I would say that's true.$$--Right, right.

Roz Abrams

Broadcast journalist Roslyn Maria “Roz” Abrams was born on September 7, 1948 in Lansing, Michigan. She received her B.S. degree in sociology from Western Michigan University, and her M.S. degree in speech from the University of Michigan.

Abrams worked first as a reporter for WJIM in Lansing, Michigan, and then as an anchor and reporter for WSB-AM radio from 1975 to 1978. She went on to work as a news reporter/anchor at WXIA-TV in Atlanta, Georgia from 1978 to 1982, at CNN from 1982 to 1983, and at KRON-TV in San Francisco, California from 1983 to 1986. In 1986, Abrams joined WABC-TV in New York City, first as weekend anchor and general assignment reporter, and later as co-anchor of Eyewitness News at 5 p.m. She was the first African American female journalist to join WABC-TV, and the second anchorwoman of color in the New York City television market. While there, Abrams covered a number of major stories and events, including the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; the blackout of 2003; the end of apartheid in South Africa; and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. She left WABC-TV in 2003; and, in 2004, was hired by New York City’s WCBS-TV as the co-anchor of CBS2 News at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. Abrams left WCBS-TV in 2006 and retired from journalism in 2010.

Abrams was the first African American vice president of the Atlanta Press Club. She has served on the editorial advisory board of “Making Waves,” a quarterly publication of American Women in Radio and Television. Abrams served as an advisory board member for the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, where she also funds a scholarship program. In addition, she has served on the board of Women in Film and the New York City Police Athletic League, and as co-chair of New York Reads Together and CAUSE-NY.

Abrams received a New York Association of Black Journalists Award for the special "The Sounds of Harlem," and received the Ed Bradley Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. She won a local Emmy in 2004 and a Gracie Award in 2006. She was also awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the New York Institute of Technology, and has been named a news legend by the Friars Club. In 2013, Abrams received the Elinor Guggenheimer Lifetime Achievement Award from New York Women’s Agenda.

Abrams resides in Westchester County, New York. She has two grown daughters, Denise and Melissa, and four grandchildren.

Roz Abrams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 17, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.044

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/17/2014

Last Name

Abrams

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Maria

Schools

Main Street Elementary School

West Junior High School

J.W. Sexton High School

Western Michigan University

University of Michigan

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Weekends

First Name

Roslyn

Birth City, State, Country

Lansing

HM ID

ABR02

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Teens and Seniors

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard

Favorite Quote

It Takes A Giant To Bend.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/7/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak, Chicken, Hamburgers, and French Fries.

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Roz Abrams (1948 - ) was a pioneer in broadcast journalism and served as a news anchor for WABC-TV and WCBS-TV in New York City.

Employment

WJIM TV

WLTA FM Radio

WSB Radio

KRON TV

WXIA TV

WABC TV

WCBS TV

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Roz Abrams' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Roz Abrams lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Roz Abrams talks about her mother, Esther Caldwell Abrams

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Roz Abrams describes her paternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Roz Abrams talks about her two siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Roz Abrams describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Roz Abrams talks about the impact of her parents' divorce on her

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Roz Abrams describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood in Lansing, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Roz Abrams talks about her parents' divorce and their support for her

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Roz Abrams describes her religious upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Roz Abrams recalls being disciplined as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Roz Abrams remembers her grade school years

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Roz Abrams talks about going to therapy after her parents' divorce

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Roz Abrams talks about her father's photography and her mother's ambition for her children

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Roz Abrams shares her memories of family gatherings during the holidays

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Roz Abrams describes her childhood neighborhood and her mother's determination to expose her to cultural activities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Roz Abrams talks about growing up with a prettier older sister

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Roz Abrams describes her admission to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Roz Abrams talks about her experience at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Roz Abrams talks about her graduate studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Roz Abrams describes her entry into journalism at WJIM TV in Lansing, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Roz Abrams describes her career as a broadcast journalist in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1970s

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Roz Abrams talks about groundbreaking African American journalists including HistoryMakers Jocelyn Dorsey, Monica Kaufman, Xernona Clayton, and Belva Davis

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Roz Abrams describes her husband, Kenneth Showers, pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Roz Abrams describes her husband, Kenneth Showers, pt.2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Roz Abrams describes her experience at CNN in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Roz Abrams recalls black anchors in Atlanta, Georgia and the decline of African Americans on air

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Roz Abrams talks about reporting and mistakes on air

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Roz Abrams talks about lessons she learned from her mentor at CNN, Bob Cain

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Roz Abrams talks about Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Roz Abrams describes her move from CNN to KRON TV in San Francisco, California

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Roz Abrams talks about working with agents

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Roz Abrams talks about the early days of the AIDS epidemic in the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Roz Abrams describes how she attracted viewers in San Francisco, California

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Roz Abrams talks about her colleagues at KRON TV including HistoryMaker Belva Davis

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Roz Abrams talks about her decision to leave KRON TV for WABC TV in New York

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Roz Abrams talks about her adopted daughters, Denise and Melissa

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Roz Abrams recalls her acquaintances in the Bay Area

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Roz Abrams talks about juggling home life while working as an anchor in New York City, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Roz Abrams describes working at WABC TV with Oprah Winfrey, Melba Tolliver, Roger Grimsby, Bill Beutel

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Roz Abrams talks about her priorities as an anchor

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Roz Abrams talks about her early years, her co-anchors, and the news director at WABC TV

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Roz Abrams talks about learning to fulfill beauty standards as an anchorwoman

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Roz Abrams talks about Roger Grimsby and her mentor, Chickie Bucco

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Roz Abrams recalls memorable stories from her news career, pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Roz Abrams recalls memorable stories from her news career, pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Roz Abrams talks about her least favorite assignments and her weekly magazine show "New York Views"

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Roz Abrams recalls the consequences of asking a gotcha question during HistoryMaker David Dinkins' mayoral debate

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Roz Abrams talks about HistoryMaker David Dinkins' mayoral term

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Roz Abrams talks about the Northeast blackout of 2003 and New York City's communities

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Roz Abrams remembers her father, Herbert Abrams

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Roz Abrams talks about her father and his attempts to trace the family genealogy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Roz Abrams talks about leaving WABC TV for WCBS TV

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Roz Abrams describes her activities after leaving her news career

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Roz Abrams talks about the end of her marriage to Kenneth Showers

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Roz Abrams talks about retired life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Roz Abrams talks about her hopes for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Roz Abrams reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Roz Abrams talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Roz Abrams describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Roz Abrams narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
Roz Abrams recalls memorable stories from her news career, pt.1
Roz Abrams talks about the Northeast blackout of 2003 and New York City's communities
Transcript
So what parts of--so let--let's--I want to understand your--the stories that still stand--stay--you know, stick out with you. You talked about the AIDS crisis and KR--you know, when you were in San Francisco [California]. But what are the news stories in, you know, this long career that you've here? What are the news stories that stick out to you? You talked about the 19--I don't know if you talk about the 1984 convention. You talked about (simultaneous)--$$Eighty-four [1984], when watching a woman [Geraldine Ferraro] be nominated vice president, and nobody knew it was coming, at least I didn't. And I just said, my God, this could happen. A woman--because I'm a feminist. You gotta remember I was covering Gloria Steinem when she was saying you have to have equal pay for equal work, and I took that to heart. And I said when I ever get in the position to be really good, I'm not gonna sit next to somebody who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars more than I do. Now that's easier said than done. And most of the time I would tell my agent don't sell me cheap. You know, I may not get it the first year; I may not--but if we got a four-year contract, I need to be there at the end of the four years just so that I can look at myself in the mirror and say Roz, it's okay. And he goes oh, you are so full of it, but he did it. He did it on my behalf and at my behest. So much of the time because I was a feminist, I was always fighting to get women for sound bites. You gotta remember, back in the '70s [1970s] it was male everything unless you were talking about women's issues. And I would spend so much time in Atlanta [Georgia] trying to find a woman to give me a sound bite because it was critical, it was important, and they were out there. It's just that nobody at that point in time was willing to talk to a woman about MARTA [Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority], because all the people doing MARTA, the top people were men. But there were women in positions of power, and you just had to find them. So the stories were the stories, but I was always looking to bring--if I could, bring women into them, especially if it was a long going four-year, five-year story. I did a whole lot of crime. I have seen a lot of dead bodies, and that--that's stays with you. When you see people who have been--I walked into an apartment--they said Roz, there's something going down on Auburn Avenue, da, da, da, da. I'm in radio. I run in, and there is a woman with a butcher knife through her--and it's so deep in the door that it's holding her up. And they haven't covered her; they haven't taken her down; I was not prepared.$$There--a dam burst at a school called Toccoa Falls. They called me at 4:00 in the morning. They said Roz, get up, go to Toccoa Falls. All we know is that there is a dam that burst. And by the time I got there, the dormitory--it was a very, very small Christian school. The dormitory, which was identified as a dormitory four stories high, the bottom two stories were filled with silt and sand from floor to ceiling. And you knew that in every single one of those rooms there were two roommates who never saw it coming. And I remember it like--they'd, they'd give you details, and luckily I was still in radio. But I can remember as I was giving these radio reports with my hands shaking, because there was death, and it was the death of young people, and there were mothers and fathers who started to arrive, and there was screaming. All of that affects you. It doesn't just roll off. It, it sort of sits somewhere.$$And then you'll be doing an interview on AIDS in San Francisco, and you're talking to a kid from Norway who came to San Francisco as a hippie. And he was sleeping in a field to raise money for the cause of AIDS. And he didn't have the money. There were ten of them sleeping in a field, and a tractor came through, didn't know these kids were sleeping there, ran over all of them, left them all with major spinal cord injuries. And you're talking to this guy and your--and suddenly you just lose it. You just go how could this happen to this kid? And you were talking to him because he said I have no regrets. I'm still raising money for AIDS in my wheelchair.$And then what other news stories in the--in the '90s [1990s] that, that were sort of critical? What other--$$The covering the, the blackout in 2000 [sic, 2003] and whatever.$$Yeah, the blackout.$$That was--that was--that was such a throwback to a time--we're not used to not having power in Manhattan [New York City, New York], no streetlights, no--how do you get home first of all? None of the streetlights were working. You had to drive very slow.$$Talk, talk about what happened and then what--$$Part of the Northeast went out, not us. Part of the Northeast went out so we knew it was coming. We were covering that aspect. We were preparing to do our shows about this swath in the Northeast when we were suddenly plunged into darkness. And even though we have backup generators, it took a very long time to get Channel 7 back on the air, a very--we were hours off the air because it takes so much power. And 9/11 taught us you don't put your microwaves on top of buildings that can be brought down because that can destroy your signal. We were off the air unless you had cable. But we never thought about the basics of electricity, how much electricity it takes to keep a television station running. You have to have enough lights to write by, hundreds of computers on every floor, air conditioning, heating. And we were--we were off the air for a long time. But when we went out to do the stories, there were people sitting out on their stoops just like they used to do in the summer a long time ago when they didn't have air conditioning and they didn't have TV. And people were like dancing in the streets, and they--you're not supposed to take liquor outside of bars, but you know, the police were just doing policing. You could go and, and sit outside and drink a beer and talk to people. We connected. We connected as a city in, in ways that I have never seen before. So on one level it was sweltering. Hospitals were tremendously affected, and the city learned from that. But it was--it was a throwback to a time--I really liked being out talking to people who were on the stoops. And if they had an old person there, like oh, I remember when we used to do this back in the '40s [1940s], oh yeah, da, da, da, before there was television to keep us inside and--it was--it, it was a little frightening because you say if it goes down again, it's bad. But it wasn't for that long a time. And you saw this city, and people with candles, and people talking to each other in a way they didn't before.$$So you really--what you're also describing--well, that's 2001. Prego (ph.) to that--well, what you're also describing is a lot of community that--$$Well, that's how New York is, communities--I mean the, the communities where people live there all their lives, and their parents die, and they stay in their parents' home. It's changing now in Manhattan, and I--it--because there's so much--it costs so much to live in Manhattan now. Harlem [Manhattan, New York City, New York] has, has been gentrified. But when I started here in the mid '80s [1980s], it was--it was nothing but communities with a certain type of people that did things a certain way and traditions, you know, the Jewish communities, the Haitian communities, Harlem, Spanish Harlem. They were like beautiful little worlds, and I was not used to most of these communities. I was prepared for living with a lot of black folk because of Atlanta, but I'd never really been in a large Jewish community. I'd never been to a seder. I--and I was like a sponge. I wanted to learn. I wanted to learn about Haitian foods and Haitian culture. I wanted to learn about Jewish food and the religion. And so this was a great place to be a sponge, and I was.$$You became part of New York, and New York became part of you.$$It did and I am so much better for it. I can't live anywhere else. Can you imagine me going back to Lansing, Michigan? Oh my God, never--that's not an option. I can't even go back and be comfortable in Atlanta [Georgia] anymore.

Clarice Tinsley

Broadcast journalist Clarice Tinsley was born on December 31, 1953 in Detroit, Michigan to Janet and Clarence Tinsley. She attended Beaubien Junior High School and Samuel C. Mumford High School. Tinsley graduated from Wayne State University with her B.A. degree in radio, television and film.

From 1975 to 1978, Tinsley worked for WITI-TV in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she started as a general assignment reporter, and later became co-anchor of the weekday noon news as well as producer and co-host of two monthly public affairs shows. In 1978, Tinsley was hired as an anchor for the ten o'clock news at KDFW-TV, where she became the longest-serving news anchor in the Dallas/Fort Worth television market. Tinsley has covered a number of major events, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, Operation Desert Storm, and Hurricane Alicia. In 1995, she established “Clarice’s Hometown Heroes,” a weekly KDFW franchise show that salutes volunteers in North Texas. Tinsley has also appeared as a news anchor or reporter in several Dallas-based television productions, including The Good Guys, Prison Break, Walker, Texas Ranger and Wishbone.

Tinsley has received the George Foster Peabody Award, a DuPont-Columbia Citation, two Emmy Awards, three Dallas Press Club Katie Awards, and two Awards of Excellence from American Women in Radio and Television. She has been honored with the Best Investigative Reporting Award from Texas Associated Press, the Texas Headliner Award for Investigative Reporting, the Journalistic Award for Excellence from the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Director's Community Leadership Award from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Asante Award from the Dallas Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists, the Dallas Historical Society Award of Excellence for Outstanding Contributions in the Creative Arts, the Mary McLeod Bethune Award from the National Council of Negro Women, and the inaugural “High Tea with High Heels” Award, among others. She was also inducted into the Lone Star Emmy Chapter's Silver Circle.

Tinsley is a member of the Board of Directors of Girls Scouts of Northeast Texas and SLANT. She is an Advisory Board Member of St. Philip's School in South Dallas, as well as an Advisory Board Member for the School of Journalism at Southern Methodist University. She is a member of the YET Board of Directors and chairs the YET Communications and Public Relations Committee. Tinsley was a member of the Super Bowl XLV Host Committee's Board of Directors and was Chair of the Super Bowl XLV Communications Action Team. She has been named a 2014 Style Council Ambassador for DIFFA/Dallas.

Clarice Tinsley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 6, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.082

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/6/2014

Last Name

Tinsley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

L.

Schools

Sherrill Elementary School

Beaubien Middle School

Samuel C. Mumford High School

Wayne State University

Schulze Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Clarice

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

TIN01

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Copy That.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

12/31/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chinese Food
Italian Food
Fruit

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Clarice Tinsley (1953 - ) was an evening news anchor at KDFW-TV in Dallas, Texas for over thirty-five years.

Employment

L.G. Haig

WITI - TV 6

KDFW - FOX 4

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Clarice Tinsley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Clarice Tinsley lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Clarice Tinsley describes her maternal grandmother's siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Clarice Tinsley talks about her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Clarice Tinsley describes her great aunt's music venue in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Clarice Tinsley describes her mother's upbringing in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Clarice Tinsley talks about her mother's teaching career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Clarice Tinsley describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Clarice Tinsley talks about her parents' South African pen pal

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Clarice Tinsley recalls how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Clarice Tinsley describes her parents' personalities and professions

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Clarice Tinsley talks about her sister

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Clarice Tinsley remembers being hit by a car as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Clarice Tinsley describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Clarice Tinsley recalls the development of her interest in journalism

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Clarice Tinsley remembers the television coverage of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Clarice Tinsley describes her early interest in reading

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Clarice Tinsley remembers the riots of 1967 in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Clarice Tinsley remembers the major events of 1968 in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Clarice Tinsley recalls the Motown Records scene in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Clarice Tinsley describes her early education in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Clarice Tinsley recalls her early interest in broadcast journalism, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Clarice Tinsley describes her teenage social group

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Clarice Tinsley recalls her journalism studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Clarice Tinsley recalls her journalism studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Clarice Tinsley talks about 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Clarice Tinsley recalls her early interest in broadcast journalism, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Clarice Tinsley recalls being hired at WITI-TV in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Clarice Tinsley remembers her introduction to the WITI-TV newsroom

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Clarice Tinsley describes memorable news stories she covered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Clarice Tinsley describes memorable news stories she covered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Clarice Tinsley recalls joining the ten o'clock news team at KDFW-TV in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Clarice Tinsley describes her early reporting at KDFW-TV in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Clarice Tinsley remembers her experiences in Kuwait

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Clarice Tinsley recalls her coverage of the Air Canada Flight 797 accident

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Clarice Tinsley recalls covering Hurricane Alicia in Houston, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Clarice Tinsley describes her investigative news story, 'A Call for Help,' pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Clarice Tinsley describes her investigative news story, 'A Call for Help,' pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Clarice Tinsley recalls meeting her husband

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Clarice Tinsley describes her coverage of the drug trade between Mexico and Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Clarice Tinsley remembers reporting on the Challenger disaster

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Clarice Tinsley talks about the political news coverage in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Clarice Tinsley describes the network affiliation of KDFW-TV in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Clarice Tinsley describes her weekly segment, 'Clarice's Hometown Heroes'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Clarice Tinsley remembers the death of her father

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Clarice Tinsley talks about the African American broadcast journalists in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Clarice Tinsley describes the television news market in the Dallas, Texas area

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Clarice Tinsley talks about covering tragic news stories

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Clarice Tinsley remembers the attacks of September 11, 2001

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Clarice Tinsley talks about the FBI Citizens Academy class in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Clarice Tinsley describes her grieving process after September 11, 2001

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Clarice Tinsley recalls covering the special agent training at Marine Corps Base Quantico

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Clarice Tinsley describes her appearances on television programs

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Clarice Tinsley describes the social media satire, 'Fox 4 Goes Social'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Clarice Tinsley talks about her coverage of celebrities

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Clarice Tinsley talks about radio personality Tom Joyner

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Clarice Tinsley shares her advice to aspiring journalists

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Clarice Tinsley reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Clarice Tinsley describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Clarice Tinsley reflects upon her legacy and journalistic philosophy

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Clarice Tinsley talks about her community engagement

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Clarice Tinsley describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

10$8

DATitle
Clarice Tinsley recalls being hired at WITI-TV in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Clarice Tinsley describes her investigative news story, 'A Call for Help,' pt. 2
Transcript
As you're approaching graduation, did you have any job prospects?$$No. I graduated in December of 1974, and again I'm on that hyper thing, right? So, I put four years of college into three. Because at that time that's when TV stations were starting to open the doors of the newsrooms to women and minorities. And back then, we weren't sure how long that was going to exist. So, I wanted to make sure I could take advantage of that while that opportunity was still present. So, I had identified I don't know, maybe a year and a half, maybe two years prior that I wanted to try to put four years of college into three, and get out one year ahead of schedule. Worked really hard, had great support from my parents [Janet Lampton Tinsley and Clarence Tinsley]. They had saved money for my college education, but being in that generation, I wanted to be very independent. But you can't be independent if you're living at home, not paying rent, and eating your parents' food. So, I figured okay, I want to get a job. And they were like, "Why? We've got this money for you." And I said, "I want to do as much of this as I can." They were like, "Okay." They know their daughter. I am very independent. So, I got a job at a shoe store, L.G. Haig. I didn't sell shoes; the guys sold the shoes. But I was the cashier. I would ring up the shoe sales, and I sold the purses and the stockings. And I got a commission on what I sold. I think I had that job for two years, maybe two and a half years. It was perfect, because I would go to school in the morning; and then during the week, I would have that job in the afternoon. And then on Saturdays, I worked a full shift. I think college back then for me was like seventy-four dollars a quarter. I mean insane, right. But I got to pay for that through my job. That made me feel so proud, because I was doing something on my own for myself. So, working at Wayne State as a student, working at L.G. Haig, really that was my life. When I graduated in December I was really proud, because I had set a goal, I reached it; and then I had interviews with the three news directors in Detroit [Michigan]. And I'm like hometown girl, I know the issues, Wayne State University [Detroit, Michigan]--"I'm ready to work and do a good job for you." And they're like, "Great, Ms. Tinsley [HistoryMaker Clarice Tinsley], come back in five years when you have the experience." I'm like, "What? Five years?" They're like, "Yeah. Learn, make your mistakes, grow; and then come back." I was like, ooh, I didn't even think of that. And I said, okay. I sent out seventy resumes, really small stations--Michigan, Ohio, Indiana. Three of them, only three, bothered to acknowledge that I existed. One was a rejection letter, which I still treasure to this day, because at least they acknowledged that I sent them something. All those others were like (gesture), they never even responded. But you can't be dejected; you can't give up and get a no and just say, "Okay, that's it." I sent out more resumes, working at the shoe store full time. And then my mother called me in June of 1975 at the shoe store and said, "Carl Zimmermann is going to call you at the shoe store. He's the director of communications at WITI [WITI-TV] TV-6 in Milwaukee [Wisconsin]." I get the call from Mr. Zimmermann, they have an opening for a reporter. They got my interv- they got my audition tape, audio tape--not video--audio tape. And he said, "You know, we want to fly you over for an interview." They did, and I was just amazed. I'd never been to Milwaukee. And then they sent me back home. And then I guess maybe a week later, they said, "You've got the job." So, I started July 13, 1975.$I was single, it was a Friday night; I was going out with some girlfriends to a nightclub. But before I left the newsroom, I called one of my contacts in the fire department. He wasn't home, he was at a lodge meeting. And his wife said, "Oh, you can call back later." And I'm like, "Well, what time?" And she said, "Well, he'll be back around midnight." And I'm like, "You're sure that's not too late?" She said, "Oh, Clarice [HistoryMaker Clarice Tinsley], we love you. You can call at any time." And I thought, yeah, if you knew why I was calling, you wouldn't be saying that. So, there's no smartphone, right. So, I go to the nightclub; my girlfriends and I are having fun. Midnight, I excuse myself and go to the payphone. I call the fire department guy, and he's chatting, and he's like, "Nope, don't know anything about that, haven't heard anything about it. I don't know, can't help you." I'm like, "Okay." Saturday--I don't work on the weekends, but I made thirteen calls from home. On the thirteenth call, I had that pregnant pause, and the guy says, "Yeah, I heard about it. It didn't go down the way we would have liked. And that's all I'm going to say." And he hung up on me. And I'm like, okay, something happened. So, I had my notebook. Monday, I go to work, I lay everything out to my news director. I had called the city, and they refused to give us the audiotape. So, we filed under the Texas open records act [Texas Public Information Act], which is an amazing document. On the thirteenth day, the city called and said, "You can come down and record the audiotape." I had my notebook. And the amazing thing is that everything that Mr. Boff [Larry Boff] said to me--that I had written down--was on that audiotape, and in order. It was verbatim, which is very rare. Because cops will tell you, eyewitness testimony is suspect--you're in shock, you may think I can't believe this is happening; you don't necessarily remember what you think you remember. Everything was on that tape, in order, in my notebook the way he told me. Even though I had the tape, I didn't have a story. I didn't know what the procedure was for 911. I didn't know what the training was. So, I put together an investigation for one month, talked to all the principals involved, did all the phone work, put the story on the air in March on a Monday, six o'clock. We got eight hundred phone calls, (snaps fingers) like that. "You're making the City of Dallas look bad, Clarice. You're going to need an ambulance tonight, and it's not going to be there." I got death threats. "How can this happen in Dallas? This is horrible." "You think that's bad? Let me tell you what they did when I called for an ambulance." We aired the same story at ten o'clock. We got 975 new phone calls. Again, outrage, disbelief, a few death threats. We aired--we didn't air it again. The next day, the networks picked it up. CBS picked it up; 'Nightline' did the story; CNN picked it up. I heard from Texans who live in Europe who saw it who were outraged. And then the next day, everybody who didn't want the story, who didn't think it was a story in this market, got involved. Every single person in the Channel 4 [KDFW-TV, Dallas, Texas] newsroom was involved in some aspect of carrying that story forward, to make sure we stayed competitive on it, and that we stayed in the lead. Also, TV stations and newspapers all across America said, "This happened in Dallas, Texas. Could it happen in Detroit [Michigan]; Los Angeles [California]; Atlanta [Georgia]; Washington, D.C.?" I mean, the whole country was looking at their 911s. Based on the story and the reaction that it produced, the City of Dallas did its own investigation. People were demoted, people took early retirement to avoid punishment; people were fired. But the most significant thing is that the system changed. It's regrettable that a woman [Lillian Boff] had to die in order for that to happen. And based on that story, I received the George Foster Peabody Award, which in broadcast journalism is considered the highest award that one can get because the Peabody represents a story that brings about change. The 911 system changed in Dallas.$$Okay, okay. This is 1984, right (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Um-hm.$$And you're thirty-one years old--$$Um-hm.$$--you're still young, and (laughter).

Brenda Wood

Broadcast journalist Brenda Blackmon Wood was born on September 8, 1955 in Washington, D.C. to Welvin Bray and Bernice Blackmon. Wood graduated from Takoma Academy in Takoma Park, Maryland in 1973. She went on to receive her B.A. degree in speech communication and mass media from Loma Linda University in Southern California in 1977.

Upon graduation in 1977, Wood was hired as a news reporter for WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Alabama. In 1978, she left that market for a brief time to serve as a general assignment reporter at WSM-TV in Nashville, Tennessee. One year later, Wood returned to WAAY-TV as the evening news anchor. In 1980, she moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where she spent eight years as the evening weekday news anchor for WMC-TV. In 1988, Wood was hired as the evening news anchor and reporter at Atlanta, Georgia’s WAGA-TV, where she also hosted the Emmy award-winning news magazine show, Minute by Minute. She then joined WXIA-TV in Atlanta in 1997, where she anchors the 6pm and 11pm weekday newscasts, as well as her signature newscast, The Daily 11 at 7 with Brenda Wood. Wood was also co-producer and host of WXIA-TV’s Emmy award-winning prime time show, Journeys with Brenda Wood, which has received the National Association of Black Journalists’ 1998 award for Community Affairs Programming.

Throughout her career Wood has received numerous honors and awards, including eighteen Emmy awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) Southeast Region; six awards from the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists (AABJ); and three awards from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters (GAB). In 2013 she was named Georgia Woman of the Year by the Governor's Office of the Georgia Women's Commission, and received the Legacy Award from the Atlanta Business League. Wood has also been named Who's Who in Atlanta; awarded the NAACP's Phoenix Award for "Best News Anchor," and named "Best Local News Anchor" by Atlanta Magazine in 1998. Wood has also received an award from the Georgia Chapter of Women in Communication, the Gabriel Award of Merit from the National Association of Catholic Churches, and a journalism award from the Georgia Psychological Association, as well as several awards and honors from local civic and community organizations.

Wood is a member of the NATAS, the NABJ, the AABJ, the Atlanta Press Club, and Women in Film. She serves on the boards of Kenny Leon's True Colors Theater Company and Chayil, Inc., a nonprofit that helps domestic abuse victims. In addition, Wood serves on several local advisory boards in the Atlanta area.

Wood lives in Atlanta, Georgia and has two daughters, Kristen and Kandis.

Brenda Wood was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 21, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.072

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/21/2014

Last Name

Wood

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Blackmon

Schools

Takoma Academy

Loma Linda University

Oakwood Adventist Academy

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Brenda

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

WOO11

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Turks and Caicos

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

9/8/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Macaroni, Cheese

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Brenda Wood (1955 - ) has worked as a reporter and news anchor for Atlanta, Georgia’s WAGA-TV and WXIA-TV for over thirty-four years. She has received eighteen Emmy awards, six awards from the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists, and the NAACP's Phoenix Award for "Best News Anchor."

Employment

WAAY TV, Huntsville

WSM TV, Nashville

WMC TV, Memphis

WAGA-TV (Television Station: Atlanta,Ga.)

WXIA-TV, Atlanta

Favorite Color

Teal

Timing Pairs
0,0:7380,128:11808,203:12546,214:13612,227:15252,255:15580,261:25060,353:25368,364:25676,369:26215,378:27139,391:28063,408:30065,474:30373,479:30758,488:31297,499:31913,509:33299,540:34146,556:34916,569:41952,603:43510,621:45314,693:46462,714:46954,721:47446,728:57582,870:59922,954:62340,1018:62964,1027:63588,1047:63978,1053:65304,1086:67644,1144:71170,1149$0,0:2864,26:6305,60:7415,72:8636,86:9524,109:10634,123:18665,270:20000,286:20890,297:22492,316:30372,384:34712,451:35314,475:36776,567:40818,611:42452,644:42796,649:46666,713:47268,734:47698,741:48816,768:56442,818:60290,893:61030,904:62214,934:62510,939:62954,946:71920,1111:74266,1182:77716,1260:78682,1278:83274,1301:83862,1308:88054,1338:88732,1345:89862,1356:93246,1392:93576,1398:94500,1420:94830,1426:95556,1445:96414,1463:97074,1474:101308,1491:101753,1497:102109,1502:102910,1512:109495,1558:116295,1677:120375,1762:120970,1770:121310,1775:130405,1911:137804,1978:140807,2024:141577,2035:146967,2171:147737,2185:148969,2206:156470,2301:156841,2309:157159,2316:157901,2338:158855,2366:159438,2379:167824,2523:168644,2534:170858,2586:181180,2709:181520,2715:182540,2730:182965,2736:185296,2744:192060,2924:199908,3059:206572,3240:213125,3316:217780,3366:218660,3381:221620,3457:223860,3484:226900,3565:233648,3602:234312,3614:243970,3798:244270,3803:245995,3839:246295,3844:254254,3959:254514,3965:254930,3974:255554,3996:255814,4002:258608,4032:263310,4081:263566,4086:263822,4091:264206,4098:269134,4205:274062,4343:274510,4354:275278,4372:275598,4379:275918,4385:279710,4393:280510,4405:281630,4424:282030,4430:287824,4531:291154,4596:299280,4670:299640,4675:306322,4757:306742,4763:314470,4931:314806,4936:319390,4977:321630,5008:326590,5189:327230,5199:329710,5239:331870,5321:334430,5363:344686,5444:344982,5449:345944,5474:346314,5481:352350,5551:353302,5580:356170,5586:356910,5600:357428,5609:365642,5788:366234,5797:366826,5807:367566,5818:367862,5823:377454,5901:381950,5952
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Brenda Wood's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Brenda Wood lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Brenda Wood talks about her biological mother and her adoptive mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Brenda Wood talks about her adoptive parents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Brenda Wood describes the history of musicianship in her maternal family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Brenda Wood describes her adoptive father's family background and talks about his career as a musician

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Brenda Wood talks about the death of her biological mother in 1960, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Brenda Wood describes her adoptive mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Brenda Wood describes growing up in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Brenda Wood talks about the death of her biological mother in 1960, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Brenda Wood explains why her adoptive father, Henry Blackmon, immigrated to the Netherlands

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Brenda Wood recalls her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Brenda Wood talks about her upbringing as a Seventh Day Adventist and attending Seventh Day Adventist schools throughout her education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Brenda Wood describes her experience at Smothers Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Brenda Wood talks about her experiences at Woodson Junior High School and the Dupont Park Church Seventh Day Adventist School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Brenda Wood remembers taking piano lessons from her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Brenda Wood remembers watching JC Hayward and Max Robinson on Channel 9 in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Brenda Wood talks about her mother's friendship with singer and actress Joyce Bryant

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Brenda Wood talks about her mother's relationship with singer Roberta Flack

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Brenda Wood talks about wanting to be a Broadway performer

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Brenda Wood describes her experience at Takoma Academy in Takoma Park, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Brenda Wood remembers the riots in Washington, D.C. in 1968 after Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Brenda Wood describes the racial demographics of the student body at Takoma Academy in Takoma Park, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Brenda Wood describes how she became interested in speech and communications

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Brenda Wood talks about deciding to attend Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Brenda Wood talks briefly about the Loma Linda University Medical Center's legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Brenda Wood talks about transferring to Loma Linda University and wanting to become an investigative filmmaker

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Brenda Wood remembers being interviewed by WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Brenda Wood talks about joining WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Alabama in 1977

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Brenda Wood explains why she chose not to leave Huntsville, Alabama for Ohio State University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Brenda Wood talks about receiving an offer to join WSMV-TV in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Brenda Wood talks about her marriage in 1978

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

8$5

DATitle
Brenda Wood remembers watching JC Hayward and Max Robinson on Channel 9 in Washington, D.C.
Brenda Wood remembers being interviewed by WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Alabama
Transcript
So, now, did you pay--considering what you're doing today, did you pay special attention to news people on television?$$No, not really. I do remember, I was--I remember when JC Hayward and Max Robinson arrived at Channel 9 in Washington [D.C.] and loved them, probably, I guess, because I don't know this to be a fact, but we watched Channel 9 all the time. And they were the first blacks that I saw on TV giving the news. So, my mom [Alma Montgomery Blackmon] was very, very proud of that. She loved Max Robinson, you know. They were always in--so I watched them growing up. I can't say, though, that I, you know, that was not--I didn't look--I don't know. You know, I, I admired them greatly, but I don't really recall thinking one day I want to be JC Hayward, you know what I'm saying? Don't--it wasn't that. But I did watch them all the time.$$Okay, so you were keenly aware of them, but you weren't--$$Absolutely.$$--you didn't see them as future, you know--$$No, you know, at the time, I wanted to be a Broadway singer, or you know opera singer. That's kind of where my head was 'cause that's, that'a what I was hearing all the time.$I was--by this time I was engaged. My fiance was slated to graduate in December, and then we were gonna get married. And then I was gonna start the master's fellowship there in Ohio [at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio]. He was gonna do his residency there. So between June of graduation from undergrad and December I had this free time. So I applied for a job somewhere in Huntsville [Alabama]. And I, you know, I had done a little bit of radio in college at the college radio station, and I had done some internships--$$I was gonna ask you if they had a station there?$$Yeah, they did. It was all automated, so, yeah, I didn't do very much but punch buttons. And I had done some internships in Los Angeles [California] with a couple of independent film companies. So I had a small resume. I'd sent it back home to then Huntsville. And I just, you know, sent it everywhere to radio, TV, newspapers, just, you know, I just needed something to do. And I wanted to do something in communications. And--$$Now, this is in the space between Loma Linda [University, Loma Linda, California] and Ohio State?$$Correct.$$Would have been Ohio State.$$Right, so I sent out my resume like in April. I knew I was gonna be graduating in June, so I had put together a little resume and sent it out before graduation. I got an inquiry before graduation from a couple of newspapers, little local newspapers, couple of radio stations that were interested, and a television station. And my first week back home from, after graduation, I only went to the TV station for the interview, not smart, you know. It's like, "Oh, I don't wanna work at a newspaper. And I don't wanna work at a radio station." I wanted to--and the reason why I wanted to do the TV was because they shot film. And this is 1977. So they're still shooting film. So in my little brain, I'm thinking, well, I wanna do film, and they do film. So I'll (laughter) do film. So I went, I accepted the, the invitation to come and do an interview at the television station there.$$Okay, so you saw yourself as behind the cameras kind of--$$Yeah, yeah, right, but they--and they were, I knew they were looking for a reporter. And I had taken one journalism class. So, you know, I wasn't so much interested--what drew me to the TV station wasn't that I wanted to be a reporter or let me see what reporting is like? It was, I, you know, I don't know. I knew nothing. So, you know, it was like, they shoot film, and I wanna do film. So I'll go to the television station and apply to be a reporter. And it doesn't really connect. But that's what I did. And Adrian Gibson was the news director at the time, and he interviewed me, and I said, really all the wrong things, thinking back on it. You know, I said, I don't wanna be, I'm not interested in being a reporter. You know, have you ever done any reporting? No, taken, you know, have you taken classes? Just one. Yeah, well, what do you see in your future? Well, I wanna be a filmmaker. Do you wanna be a reporter? "No, not really. And by the way, I'm leaving in six months 'cause I'm going to Ohio State to get my master's in filmmaking. And then I'll be gone. Oh, and on top of that, I don't work on Friday nights or Saturdays 'cause I'm Seventh Day Adventist." And this man hired me (laughter). I don't know why. I did a, they put me in front of the camera on the news set in the studio and asked, you know, just said, talk, you know, just talk to the camera. And I did, and I don't even know what I said.$$This is your first time talking, I mean being the talent on a television program.$$(No audible response) 'Cause, you know, we didn't have the--different from today. At, at--neither at Oakwood [College, Huntsville, Alabama] nor at Loma Linda did they have a studio set up, you know, did they have a, you know, a little news operation. They had none of that where I was, none of that. So it really was the first time I'd been in a studio, the first time I'd talked in front of a camera or any of that.$$Okay. So did they build your work around your religion and other--$$Yeah, they did. They gave me a Sunday through Thursday schedule. Fortunately, because they're in Huntsville, they knew of Oakwood's existence. They knew of the Seventh Day Adventist College. So they--and the woman that I was replacing who was also a black female, ironically, left to go to Ohio State University to work on her master's degree. Isn't that just funny how life works. So, you know, and because it was the '70's [1970s], and I filled two quotas, I was black and female, you know, I would, I was, you know, I was a twofer. So they wanted to hire--they had a slot for (laughter) a twofer. They were losing one, a black female. And so they get to hire one. So that probably was more of the motivating factor than anything else (laughter) in hiring me. I was there (laughter). I was a warm body (laughter).$$Now, well, you had the credentials which some, it was like a driver's license in some ways. You have a degree in communications.$$Yeah.$$So they can say, they can justify your hiring by pointing to these degrees.$$Right. It wasn't a degree in journalism.$$I mean in communications.$$That would have been helpful. Well, yeah, it was in communications. You said it right. You know, it was very broad, very generic, yeah.$$All right.$$But I filled the bill.$$Okay, okay, and ever--anyone ever told you that you looked like a television talent?$$No.$$Really, up to that point?$$Oh, no. No, as a matter--$$Interesting.$$--of fact, when I was in college, people would say to me, you know, "What's your major?" "Communications." "Oh, what's that?" You know, that--it's the '70s [1970s]. It was a new major. "What's that?" And my standard answer in explaining what that was, you know, "Well, you know, I wanna go into filmmaking." "Huh?" And then my retort would be, "Well, anything but news."

Condace Pressley

Journalist Condace Pressley was born in 1964 in Marietta, Georgia. She graduated from Marietta High School in 1982, where she was a columnist for her high school paper and co-editor of the school’s year book. She then went on to attend the University of Georgia and served as the news director of the college’s radio station before graduating magna cum laude with her B.A. degree in journalism in 1986.

Pressley was first hired at Cox as a reporter/anchor in 1986. She worked her way up, and in 1999, became the assistant program director and worked on radio stations AM750 and NOW95.5FM News/Talk WSB. In 1992, she was promoted to Cox’s general manager; and in 2012, became the general manager for WSB-AM. Pressley hosts her own show, Perspectives , where she interviews celebrities, authors, news makers and community leaders. She also contributes news reports to Atlanta's Morning News with Scott Slade and the Sean Hannity Show .

Pressley has been recognized numerous times for the quality of her journalism. In 1990 and 1991, she was named Radio News Woman of the Year Atlanta by the American Women in Radio and Television; and in 1990, she was also named Radio News Woman of the Year Atlanta by the American Women in Radio and Television. Pressley was elected president of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists in 1993. In 2001, she was elected president of the National Association of Black Journalists, and became director of the Radio Television News Directors Association. Pressley was honored at the 2010, YWCA Tribute to Women Leaders, and named a Pioneer Journalist by the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists in 2012. Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin named July 11, 2012, Condace Pressley Day.

Pressley has been published in the Nieman Reports , the Federal Communications Law Journal , and The Atlanta Daily Journal , and has served as a featured as a guest on CNN and C-SPAN .

Condace Pressley was interviewed by The History Makers on February 19, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.049

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/19/2014

Last Name

Pressley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Levica

Schools

St Joseph Catholic School

Marietta High School

University of Georgia

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Condace

Birth City, State, Country

Marietta

HM ID

PRE05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida Panhandle

Favorite Quote

It Doesn't Matter Who Gets the Credit as Long as You Get the Job Done.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/10/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Condace Pressley (1964 - ) is the assistant program manager for Cox Media Group in Atlanta, hosts the radio program Perspectives, and was previously the president of the National Association of Black Journalists and the director of the Radio Television News Directors Association.

Employment

Cox Media Group Atlanta

WSB Radio

Georgia Radio News Atlanta

WRFC Radio, Athens

WNGC/WGAU Radio

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Condace Pressley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Condace Pressley lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Condace Pressley describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Condace Pressley describes her mother's upbringing, education, and nursing career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Condace Pressley describes her mother's career as a nurse at Kennestone Hospital and at the Lockheed Corporation in Marietta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Condace Pressley recounts her mother's experiences during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Condace Pressley describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Condace Pressley describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Condace Pressley talks about her father's career as a shopkeeper for the Lockheed Corporation and the Ford Motor Company in Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Condace Pressley recounts how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Condace Pressley describes her parents and her brother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Condace Pressley talks about her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Condace Pressley describes her childhood homes in Marietta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Condace Pressley recalls the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in Marietta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Condace Pressley recalls her childhood neighborhood in Marietta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Condace Pressley talks about her grade school years at St. Joseph's Catholic School in Marietta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Condace Pressley talks about the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, and her mother's mentor

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Condace Pressley describes her transition to Marietta High School in Marietta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Condace Pressley talks about her experience at Marietta High School in Marietta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Condace Pressley describes changes in Georgia during the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Condace Pressley describes working on the yearbook staff at Marietta High School in Marietta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Condace Pressley describes working on the yearbook staff at Marietta High School in Marietta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Condace Pressley recounts her decision to attend the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Condace Pressley talks about her parents' divorce

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Condace Pressley describes her teachers and her first radio journalism jobs while at the University of Georgia in Athens

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Condace Pressley talks about athletes at the University of Georgia and Marietta High School, like Herschel Walker, Dominique Wilkins, and Dale Ellis

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Condace Pressley describes HistoryMakers Monica Kaufman and Jocelyn Dorsey

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Condace Pressley talks about her A.B.J. degree and her extracurricular involvement at the University of Georgia in Athens

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Condace Pressley talks about extracurricular activities at the University of Georgia in Athens

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Condace Pressley describes interning and working at the Georgia Radio News Service

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Condace Pressley recounts how she was hired at WSB Radio in Atlanta, Georgia while working at the Georgia Radio News Service

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Condace Pressley describes working at WSB Radio in Atlanta, Georgia with Skinny Bobby Harper

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Condace Pressley describes covering politics on WSB Radio in Atlanta and meeting four U.S. presidents

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Condace Pressley recalls working with Atlanta, Georgia mayor Maynard Jackson while president of the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Condace Pressley recalls interesting local stories she covered at WSB Radio in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Condace Pressley describes becoming president of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists and hosting the first UNITY conference in 1994

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Condace Pressley talks about covering politics during the 1994 election of Atlanta, Georgia mayor Bill Campbell

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Condace Pressley describes interviewing civil rights leaders including Coretta Scott King and HistoryMakers John Lewis and Andrew Young

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Condace Pressley recalls the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Condace Pressley talks about professional boxer Evander Holyfield

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Condace Pressley explains her journalistic philosophy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Condace Pressley talks about her radio program, 'Perspectives,' on WSB in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Condace Pressley recalls the 1994 and 2000 Super Bowl games in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Condace Pressley reflects on the major events in Atlanta, Georgia since the 1990s

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Condace Pressley remembers the September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Condace Pressley remembers the September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Condace Pressley recounts her term as president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) from 2001 to 2003.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Condace Pressley reflects upon African American representation among news directors

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Condace Pressley talks about challenges facing African American news directors

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Condace Pressley explains how broadcast news programming has changed since the 1960s

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Condace Pressley reflects upon how the cable news networks like CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC have affected the American news market

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Condace Pressley reflects upon how African American political views are represented in cable and broadcast news

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Condace Pressley explains why conservative voices dominate the talk radio format

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Condace Pressley talks about news and en Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Condace Pressley talks about her civic involvement and about HistoryMaker Xernona Clayton

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Condace Pressley reflects upon her future plans and what she would do differently

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Condace Pressley describes attending the 2009 and 2013 presidential inaugurations of HistoryMaker Barack Obama

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Condace Pressley talks about Antoinette Tuff, who convinced a gunman to surrender at McNair Discovery Learning Academy in DeKalb County, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Condace Pressley talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Condace Pressley describes her family

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Condace Pressley reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Condace Pressley describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Condace Pressley narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

5$5

DATitle
Condace Pressley describes covering politics on WSB Radio in Atlanta and meeting four U.S. presidents
Condace Pressley reflects upon how African American political views are represented in cable and broadcast news
Transcript
I remember February 17, 1991, when the air war started [Gulf War], that was the moment at which our program director morphed our station [WSB Radio, Atlanta, Georgia] from being a full-service radio station into a news talk radio station. We went to all news in the morning, talk throughout the day, news--heavy news presence in the afternoon. And that has evolved in the twenty-plus years since.$$Okay. Okay. So. So you became the morning show producer in '87 [1987], is that?$$Yes. Yes.$$Okay. All right. And this is [Skinny] Bobby Harper is on in the morning?$$Yes. He was with us until--Bobby left--Bobby and Kathy [Fishman] left--they left in '91 [1991], 'cause I remember that I was here. The [Atlanta] Braves went worst to first. I got to cover the World Series that year. That was a lot of fun. And then, as I say, when the Gulf War started, me at the radio--the one thing that is certain about working in radio is the uncertainty of working in radio. And so the program director then, they blew up the radio station, and Bobby and Kathy left. And we put on--we pull our guy out of the helicopter, the traffic reporter, and made him the host of our morning show. His name is Scott Slade, and he's still hosting our morning show today. But, yes. I went from being a nighttime anchor to being a producer and a reporter, a morning reporter, and then I was the news assignment editor, and then I was the assistant news director--the assistant program director, and now the manager of programming operations and community affairs.$$Wow. So you covered the Democratic National Convention [DNC] in '88 [1988]?$$Yes, I did.$$Here in Atlanta? Yeah.$$Yes. I think I've covered every political convention since '88 [1988].$$Yeah. [HM Reverend] Jesse [L.] Jackson was a big feature in that.$$And that was that eternally-long Bill Clinton speech. Yes. (laughs).$$Okay.$$Well, yeah. Jesse was here for that one as well.$$And Michael Dukakis (simultaneous)--$$Yes.$$--was the nominee of the Democratic Party.$$Yes. He was. He was--that was--I actually have--I've had great--covering politics, I've great experience covering politics and presidents. I covered the DNC in '88 [1988], and I've covered the DNC and the RNC [Republican National Convention] since. We used to do what we call ascertainment interviews. And we would invite in community leaders when--before deregulation of the industry. And we would sit in the big boardroom and have lunch and discuss issues of community interest. And once President [Jimmy] Carter came, and I had to sit next--in the big boardroom in our old building, I sat next to Jimmy Carter, and we had lunch, and we talked, and he was the nice--he is the nicest man. He is a true WYSIWYG, "what you see is what you get." And I remember asking him, I was like, you know, what was, as he looked back on his presidency, you know, what was the thing that's really troubled him the most. And he talked to me about, you know, staying up at night during the Iran Contra hype--hostage situation [Iran Hostage Crisis 1979 - 1981] and not being able to resolve that, because, you know, it was his failure to resolve that, the hostage crises that led to [Ronald] Reagan's election, and what happened after that. But I got to cover Reagan. That was back in the day when the White House would do regional media visits. And this was very early in my career, and it was in the early term of the Reagan presidency. And they would invite regional media to come up and participate in a White House news conference. And I knew that President Reagan's favorite color was red, because Helen Thomas would always be sitting on the front row with her red suit, and I got to go and I put on my red suit and got to stand up and go, "Mr. President, Mr. President." And it was--$$So you did your homework.$$I did. I did my homework. And the only thing was I still messed up though, because there was another regional reporter there who managed to get President Reagan to say, "You know, when I am in Nashville [Tennessee], I listen to W dot dot dot." And she got it, she fed it down the line, and the radio station in Nashville turned it into a promo on a company hour I.D., and they said, "Why didn't you get him to do that? 'Cause he's not supposed to do that." And they got--it ran, maybe, three or four hours before--of course, they got a cease and desist from the White House that says the President doesn't do promos. So, but I did. I got to ask--I asked Reagan a question. I was--actually rode in a presidential motorcade. I was pool reporter when Bush Forty-One [George H.W. Bush] came to Atlanta for the first observation of the [Reverend Dr.] Martin Luther King [Jr.] federal holiday. And we went out. We met Air Force One up at Dobbins [Air Reserve Base]. I've never driven that fast, and there's never been as little traffic on the Atlanta interstates as when there's a presidential motorcade riding through the city; and did that; came to the King Center, met Bill Clinton through my work with the NABJ [National Association of Black Journalists]. And really, the only president I haven't either interviewed or met is [HM] President [Barack] Obama. But I think I've got a few more years to perhaps make that happen.$Is there any--what program today do you think comes closer to representing the interests of the African American community?$$(Pause). I think to the extent that there are those who want to put the African American community in one box, there probably is not one program. Because in 2014, I don't think that the color is necessarily black or white, or brown or white. The color is, and for many years now, has always been green. So you are going to have your church-going conservative African-Americans who are going to gravitate to the likes of a Herman Cain and other personalities on the Fox News Channel. Then you are going to have more progressive African-Americans who are going to gravitate to the message of [HM] the Reverend Jesse Jackson or [HM] Reverend Al Sharpton on MSNBC. And then you're going to have, yet, another group of African Americans who believe that I can make an opinion on my own; I don't need to have your opinion to tell me what to think. And they're gonna read and choose CNN and do some of those other things and just gather the information and make decisions for themselves. We got a lot of great black journalists out there, and many of them are my friends. I love [HM] Roland Martin and what he's doing over at TV One. I love [HM] Tavis Smiley. He's a terrific interviewer. I love what he's doing over at PBS. But, again, even in that arena they still each bring a certain point of view and a certain amount of their personality to the journalism that they do in order to attract, again, a very well-researched audience.$$Okay.$$It's very niche now, I think it is.$$Yeah. I'm going to raise a contradiction here. This is something that--I think that the only place where you see a balance of black conservatives and black liberals is on television, 'cause you don't see it in real life. You don't see half black people conservative and half progressive or--you know, you just don't see that in real life. Even conservative black church-goers tend to not be really supporters of the conservatives--you know, of the conservative mindset, even though they have Herman Cain or (simultaneous) (unclear)--$$Maybe on some issues. Not on all of the issues, but certainly on some issues. I can see that.$$Yeah. It seems like the media has more of them gathered than they, you know, represent--than are represented in terms of votes and that sort of thing in the real world. But, would you (simultaneous) (unclear)--$$Oh, well, there's a reason why President Obama [HM President Barack Obama] has a 89 to a 90 percent approval rating among African Americans. I mean, clearly, African Americans are--you know, I don't want to say that we--I don't think we as a people, you know, vote in the lockstep. I think there is certainly a certain significance, the fact that, that he's the President of the United States, that he--a reelected President of the United States for a second term, which means the first term was not an accident as some people perhaps would like to say. But I think to the extent that some people might suggest, especially people who are not black, that all black people think alike. I think that's definitely not true.

Soledad O'Brien

Broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien was born on September 19, 1966 in Saint James, New York. Her father, Edward, was a mechanical engineering professor; her mother, Estela, a French and English teacher. O’Brien graduated from Smithtown High School East in 1984, and went on to attend Harvard University from 1984 to 1988, but did not graduate until 2000, when she received her B.A. degree in English and American literature.

In 1989, O’Brien began her career at KISS-FM in Boston, Massachusetts as a reporter for the medical talk show Second Opinion and of Health Week in Review. In 1990, she was hired as an associate producer and news writer for Boston’s WBZ-TV station. O’Brien then worked at NBC News in New York City in 1991, as a field producer for Nightly News and Today, before being hired at San Francisco’s NBC affiliate KRON in 1993, where she worked as a reporter and bureau chief and co-hosted the Discovery Channel’s The Know Zone. Then, in 1996, O’Brien returned to New York to host MSNBC’s new weekend morning show and technology program The Site. Although The Site was cancelled one year later, O’Brien continued to work as a reporter and anchor for a number of shows, including MSNBC’s Morning Blend and NBC News’ Weekend Today until 1999, when she was named permanent co-anchor of Weekend Today.

In 2003, O’Brien left NBC and joined CNN as the co-anchor of the network’s flagship morning program, American Morning. In 2007, she moved to CNN’s documentary division, where she primarily worked on Special Investigations Unit and In America. From 2007 to 2013, O’Brien hosted a number of CNN documentary shows, including the Black in America series, the Latino in America series, and numerous Special Investigations Unit episodes. From 2012 to 2013, she anchored CNN’s Starting Point; and, in 2013, she established the Starfish Media Group production company, which has produced segments for CNN, HBO and Al Jazeera America. O’Brien was also hired by Al Jazeera America in 2013 as a special correspondent to the network’s America Tonight.

O’Brien has authored two books: 2009’s Latino in America, and the 2010 memoir, The Next Big Story: My Journey through the Land of Possibilities. In addition, she and her husband founded the Soledad O'Brien and Brad Raymond Starfish Foundation. O’Brien is a member of the board of directors of The After-School Corporation, the Harlem School of the Arts and the Foundation for the National Archives. She also served on the advisory board of Cyberangels, an internet safety organization.

O’Brien has received numerous awards, including the Emmy, the NAACP’s President's Award, the George Foster Peabody Award, an Alfred I. du Pont Award, and the Gracie Allen Award. In 2008, she was the first recipient of the Soledad O’Brien Freedom’s Voice Award from the Morehouse School of Medicine, and was the first recipient of The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Goodermote Humanitarian Award. O’Brien received the 2009 Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service Award from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. In 2010, she was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists.

Soledad O’Brien was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 21, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.055

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/21/2014

Last Name

O'Brien

Maker Category
Schools

Smithtown High School East

Harvard University

St. James Elementary School

Nesaquake Middle School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Soledad

Birth City, State, Country

Saint James

HM ID

OBR01

Favorite Season

Late Spring, Early Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Miama, Florida

Favorite Quote

Remember, Most People Are Idiots. If You're Listening To Them, You're Probably A Bigger Idiot.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/19/1966

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Black Beans And Rice

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Soledad O'Brien (1966 - ) founded the Starfish Media Group, and anchored national television news programs like NBC’s The Site and American Morning, and CNN’s In America.

Employment

KISS-FM

WBZ-TV

NBC News

KRON-TV

MSNBC

CNN

Starfish Media Group

Al Jazeera America

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Soledad O'Brien's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Soledad O'Brien lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Soledad O'Brien describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Soledad O'Brien talks about her father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Soledad O'Brien describes her mother's upbringing and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Soledad O'Brien talks about how her parents met and married

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Soledad O'Brien talks about her parents' aspirations, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Soledad O'Brien lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Soledad O'Brien talks about her parents' aspirations, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Soledad O'Brien describes her home life

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Soledad O'Brien describes her community in Smithtown, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Soledad O'Brien describes the sights of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Soledad O'Brien recalls her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Soledad O'Brien describes her early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Soledad O'Brien talks about her racial identity

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Soledad O'Brien describes her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Soledad O'Brien remembers her interests during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Soledad O'Brien recalls her decision to attend Harvard University

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Soledad O'Brien describes her experiences at Harvard University

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Soledad O'Brien remembers the diversity at Harvard University

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Soledad O'Brien describes her activities at Harvard University

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Soledad O'Brien recalls her decision to leave Harvard University

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Soledad O'Brien recalls her start at WBZ-TV in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Soledad O'Brien describes her parents' reaction to her decision to leave Harvard University

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Soledad O'Brien talks about her work ethic

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Soledad O'Brien talks about Jeanne Blake's mentorship

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Soledad O'Brien recalls the minority training program at WBZ-TV

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Soledad O'Brien recalls joining KRON-TV in San Francisco, California

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Soledad O'Brien describes her initial challenges at KRON-TV

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Soledad O'Brien remembers her colleagues at KRON-TV in San Francisco, California

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Soledad O'Brien recalls hosting 'The Know Zone' on the Discovery Channel

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Soledad O'Brien remembers anchoring MSNBC's 'The Site'

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Soledad O'Brien reflects upon her self image

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Soledad O'Brien remembers 'Imaging America'

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Soledad O'Brien describes her role at NBC News in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Soledad O'Brien recalls joining 'Weekend Today'

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Soledad O'Brien reflects upon her success in the broadcast industry, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Soledad O'Brien reflects upon her success in the broadcast industry, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Soledad O'Brien talks about the skills of a successful television anchor

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Soledad O'Brien talks about her marriage

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Soledad O'Brien talks about balancing her family and career

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Soledad O'Brien remembers broadcast journalist David Bloom

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Soledad O'Brien recalls joining CNN

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Soledad O'Brien remembers completing her degree at Harvard University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Soledad O'Brien talks about the history of CNN

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Soledad O'Brien describes a typical day at CNN

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Soledad O'Brien talks about her experiences of gender discrimination at CNN

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Soledad O'Brien remembers covering Hurricane Katrina for CNN

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Soledad O'Brien recalls her experiences of racial discrimination at CNN

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Soledad O'Brien recalls her transition to documentary production at CNN

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Soledad O'Brien talks about her work on 'Black in America,' pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Soledad O'Brien talks about her work on 'Black in America,' pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Soledad O'Brien reflects upon the success of 'Black in America'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Soledad O'Brien talks about CNN's documentary production team

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Soledad O'Brien reflects upon her CNN documentary series

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Soledad O'Brien talks about the depiction of African Americans in the media

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Soledad O'Brien talks about the changes in broadcast media

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Soledad O'Brien describes her plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Soledad O'Brien talks about the importance of storytelling

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Soledad O'Brien reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Soledad O'Brien reflects upon her career

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Soledad O'Brien talks about the future of media

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Soledad O'Brien describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Soledad O'Brien talks about the PowHERful Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Soledad O'Brien reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Soledad O'Brien shares a message to future generations

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

5$9

DATitle
Soledad O'Brien talks about her experiences of gender discrimination at CNN
Soledad O'Brien talks about her work on 'Black in America,' pt. 1
Transcript
I remember once being called at the end of 2004, 2005 to go, to cover the tsunami, and I got a call from a, a young woman actually on the assignment desk. And her whole strategy was like, "Listen I've been sent to call you to see, we're trying to send someone to Thailand, but I know you're a mom and you're not gonna want to go and so I just have to run it by you and you know, now you got babies." I was like, "Who more than me wants to get on a plane to Thailand? Oh, me, send me." And I went, you know, and I always felt like you had to joke about these things to kind of get them past people, you know. And then when you got there you better bust your ass and do a good job because everybody was waiting for you to screw up. The first guy, when I got to Thailand, sat me down, pretty sure I'd end up working with a lot. He said, "Listen, so I know you're like this little star and all, but you should know that if I feel like you're not doing your job, I'm gonna call back to the network and tell them." I was so stunned, me not doing my job? The entire history of work had been over doing it. I was just--I was so upset. I was so upset, I went back to my room. In fact I had--I had my luggage. I hadn't even checked into the hotel yet. I was sent to go do a documentary, to do an hour long, sort of special for the network on the tsunami.$$Which was major. That tsunami had everyone--$$Right. One hundred and fifty thousand people died, and I remember--and I was also trying to do my show ['American Morning'] again, same thing, I was like well, I'm here, the news is here, why would you not do your show? And by the way because Thailand's twelve hours ahead, I can do my show from six p.m. to ten p.m., right. So I could shoot all day and then do my show and to have this producer, the first thing he said to me was to explain--"Let me explain to you, little girl--," basically, you know. "I know you're a star, but you should know that I'm going to call back and tell them if you don't do your job." I was so surprised, I was so surprised, you know, and I shot all day, I'd come back, six p.m. I'd say. "I'm available to do my show." I would do my own show with no producer 'cause they didn't send one for the show. I had been a producer, I know how to produce. Set up the lights. I mean because that's sort of how you're successful. And that's the great thing about CNN was that if you did that you know you really could be successful. A lot of your success was in your own hands. I mean I really liked that about CNN, you could--if you were prepared, if you got yourself prepared, if you did a good job reporting, you could be successful, you know, if someone else didn't have to make you, you could do it yourself. I'm trying to think of another good example. It was just--It was just you know, covering the Haitian earthquake, Wolf Blitzer, who I love said, "How do you feel as a mother covering this story?" I was like, "Well, as a reporter, like everybody else who's here reporting on this story, it's a very tough story to report. I'm holding onto babies who are dying in my arms, so yeah, I think it's tough for everybody." And my mother [Estela Marquetti y Mendieta O'Brien] called me and said, "Good for you, good for you. Don't let them call you a mother while you're working, make sure you tell them you're a reporter." You know, so if that's terribly dramatic and tough and whatever, no, but you know, I definitely was very cognizant all the time that as a woman and as a minority there were a lot of people watching to see kind of what you would do; and you know if you screwed it up (makes sound), that was it.$'Black in America'--$$So how did that come about, because--?$$The president of CNN at the time, a guy name Jim Walton, and Jon Klein [Jonathan Klein]--I'm sorry, the president of CNN Worldwide and then the president of CNN Domestic, a guy named Jon Klein, were trying to figure out what do you do for the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.]. And so they asked me would I be interested in hosting this big series, just be tons of hours on the assassination and then kind of like about black people today, and called 'Black in America.' And so I was intrigued, I wanted to do it, and I said yes, and so it was kind of up to us to shape how it would go, but it was a very--it was not a great experience. It was very stressful. There almost no black people who worked on it, and it was very--very contentious, you know, because a lot of people were like, "Listen the story of 'Black in America' is prison, black men in prison, statistics clearly show this is an issue. The story of Black America is a failure, the story of Black America is unwed mothers to poverty--," and then it's kind of like, I remember one of the producers said to me, and we've interviewed Michael Eric Dyson and he's talked a lot about the statistics and just how dire the situation is for black people, especially black men, and I think we need to do this and this and this. And I was like, and who is the funniest, happiest guy you know? It's Michael Eric Dyson, right. Michael Eric Dyson is not a bummer. If you've ever gone out, you know, hung out with Michael Eric Dyson, you'd laugh your butt off the whole time, right? So I said, so clearly we're not--that's not the story, it's more nuanced than that and if you do a story about, you know, the statistics, show doom. And you're going to call it 'Black in America,' like what? And I remember calling Kim [Kim Bondy], I would send her all the scripts, which was a big no, no. Not to send scripts out you know, and she would go through the scripts and say, "You know I think what you want to do is show the story of a guy, you know--," she said, "listen, I think that the issue of the prison thing is people are successful often connected to people who are struggling, right, so--so it's hard to be very successful because you've always got one arm or one leg being pulled down." So I think that's a more nuanced story. You know how do we tell these stories of success and struggle and we were trying to be very balanced about it like literally to the point of story count, but you know you are terrified sometimes by some of the producers. I remember saying to somebody, "So like, are we getting a really diverse group of people?" "What do you mean?" "I'm getting like dark skinned black people and light skinned black people. I mean who--I haven't done all the shoots, who are we interviewing?" And she said, "Oh, it's just everybody like So and So, everybody like Butch Warren." Butch Warren is who you and I would consider to be a relatively light skinned brother. I mean, oh, my god. We're--everybody looks like Butch Warren? Do you now understand that there's a subliminal message sent, like this is part of the story and you don't even understand that this is a dynamic in the story. It felt very stressful all the time because it was such a big project and I just felt, you know, sometimes that I was arguing with producers all the time.