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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

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/8/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

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
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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

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/10/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

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

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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.

Alexis Scott

Journalist and publisher Marian Alexis Scott was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia; her grandfather was W.A. Scott II, the founder of the Atlanta Daily World, which was the nation’s first black-owned daily newspaper. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School, Scott attended Barnard College in New York City and Spelman College in Atlanta; she later attended the Columbia University School of Journalism as a summer participant in the 1974 Michelle Clark Fellowship Program. Scott also graduated from the Regional Leadership Institute in 1992, and Leadership Atlanta in 1991.

After a twenty-two year career with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Cox Enterprises, Inc, where she worked her way up from reporter to vice president of community affairs at the and then director of diversity at Cox, Scott became involved in the inner workings of the Atlanta Daily World. Scott's duties included acting as publisher and featured commentator on The Georgia Gang, a week-in-review program on politics, which was broadcasted on FOX 5 in Atlanta. Scott was also active in nonprofit organizations such as St. Jude’s Recovery Center; Kenny Leon’s True Colors theater company; and serving as a board member of Atlanta History Center; the High Museum of Art; the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Central Atlanta Progress.

In 2003, Scott was appointed by Mayor Shirley Franklin to the board of the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency. Scott has received many awards and honors, including the 2004 Imperial Court Daughters of Isis Hall of Fame Award; the 2004 TD Jake’s Megafest Phenomenal Woman Award; an honorary doctor of humane letters from Argosy University in Atlanta in 2003; and a 2001 Citizen of the Year Award from Southwest Hospital and Medical Center. Scott also served as the president of the Atlanta Press Club.

Accession Number

A2004.173

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/22/2004

Last Name

Scott

Maker Category
Middle Name

Alexis

Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

Oglethorpe Elementary School

Spelman College

Barnard College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

M.

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

SCO03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

Wonderful.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

2/4/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Newspaper publishing chief executive and newspaper columnist Alexis Scott (1949 - ) has had a long and celebrated career in the field of journalism, including publishing and writing for the Atlanta Daily World.

Employment

Atlanta Journal Constitution

Atlanta Daily World

Cox Enterprises, Inc.

Georgia Gang, a week-in-review program on politics, broadcasted on Fox 5 in Atlanta

Newsweek

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alexis Scott's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alexis Scott lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alexis Scott describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alexis Scott describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alexis Scott describes her father's service in the U.S. Army during World War II and his subsequent career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alexis Scott talks about her father's involvement in the Atlanta Daily World, the family business

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alexis Scott talks about her grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alexis Scott describes her earliest memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alexis Scott talks about her family life during her childhood in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alexis Scott talks about her love of cooking during her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alexis Scott describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alexis Scott recalls her experiences at Oglethorpe Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alexis Scott talks about her childhood dreams and aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alexis Scott talks about her childhood religious and intellectual influences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alexis Scott describes her experiences at Barnard College in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alexis Scott talks about her first marriage to Marc Lewis

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alexis Scott talks about her second husband and her two sons

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alexis Scott lists her extracurricular activities at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alexis Scott talks about returning to school to attend Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alexis Scott explains how she became office manager for the Atlanta bureau of Newsweek

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alexis Scott describes her career path in print and television journalism

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alexis Scott talks about the financial difficulties of the Atlanta Daily World during the 1990s

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alexis Scott relates how she chose to take over running the Atlanta Daily World

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alexis Scott relates the history of the Atlanta Daily World

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alexis Scott reflects upon her life and the Atlanta Daily World

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alexis Scott describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alexis Scott reflects upon her family

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alexis Scott describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alexis Scott talks about her most memorable experience at the Atlanta Daily World

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alexis Scott talks about why she thinks history is important

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alexis Scott reflects upon her legacy

DASession

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Alexis Scott describes her father's family background
Alexis Scott talks about the financial difficulties of the Atlanta Daily World during the 1990s
Transcript
What was your father's name?$$My father's name was William Alexander Scott, III. And he worked for his entire life here at the Atlanta Daily World newspaper. He was one of two boys born to Lucille McAllister Scott and William A. Scott, II. And William A. Scott, II was the founder of the Atlanta Daily World [Atlanta World]. My father died in March 1992, when he was sixty-nine years old.$$Where was he born?$$My father was actually born in Johnson City, Tennessee. It was during 1923, January 15, 1923. And that was during a phase when his family was moving from Mississippi, first to Tennessee and then to Atlanta [Georgia]. My father's--let me get this straight, my father's grandfather [Reverend William Alexander Scott], who would be my great-grandfather, was a minister and his church involvement kept him moving some. And he also had health issues, with asthma and other breathing conditions that made him continue to look for a drier climate, which made him move from Jackson, Mississippi to Tennessee.$$And did he grow up there, in Tennessee?$$No, my father actually grew up--finally moved to Atlanta when he was about four or five years old with his mother and his father. His parents were divorced though, when he was quite young. So he lived with his mother and she raised him. And also, his father, W.A. Scott, II, who was founder of the paper, was killed in 1934 when my father was only eleven years old. So he was not around for his upbringing.$$Do you know what happened related to that killing?$$The circumstances around the killing of my grandfather were never officially solved. There was an inquest that was held and there were people who said that a Maddox [ph.], I can't remember his first name now, was the shooter, but there was no eyewitness. They never found the gun, and so he was never convicted with the crime. But he was the brother of my grandfather's fourth wife. Scandal.$$Okay (laughter). What else do you know about your father's background?$$My father, as I said, grew up with his younger brother in Atlanta, not a long distance from where my mother [Marian Willis Scott] grew up. And they--he also attended Oglethorpe Elementary School [Atlanta, Georgia] and [Atlanta University] Lab[oratory] High School [Atlanta, Georgia] and then Morehouse College [Atlanta, Georgia]. He, I guess, liked to do the things that boys liked to do. I've seen pictures of him with his bicycle, with a football, you know, when he was playing football when he was a kid. He was very smart, I kind of characterize him as being a Renaissance man. He was a photographer and I guess he played chess, he did a lot of things that were maybe not typical, or stereotypical for sure, of black men. He painted; he did oil painting. He liked classical music as well as Duke Ellington. So he was just kind of an all-around person; loved to tell stories; was very personable and charming; very brilliant, I think.$How did you arrive here?$$How did I end up here at the Atlanta Daily World with Auburn Avenue [Atlanta, Georgia] and all its sounds and trucks going by? I ended up sort of responding to a family call for help. It's kind of--the paper got on my mind, first in '92 [1992] when my father [William Alexander Scott, III] died, because I always thought he would be the one to take it over and keep it going and then hand it off to somebody. But when he died, that sort of wrecked that plan or that scenario that I had envisioned. And I guess a couple of years after he died my cousin Portia [Scott] called and said she needed to meet with me because things weren't going well at the paper, and they needed some help. And this was only a year after I had gone out to Cox [Enterprises Inc., Atlanta, Georgia]. And I told her, I wasn't sure there anything I could do, because the job that I had out there was so demanding, it was a traveling job, so. And of course I still had this six-year old kid [David Reeves, Jr.] that I was trying to be the mother to, so I just wasn't able to respond to her. And so another couple of years went by and she called again, and she said it's, you know, things are really not well. Her father [C.A. Scott] was frail and her mother [Ruth Perry Scott] was losing her eyesight and we needed to do something. And one of the reasons she was calling me was one, because I had, you know, the newspaper experience and two, our two families had the largest ownership of the paper. Her father and my father were the largest, two largest single owners at the time. And of course, my father was dead, so it was my mother [Marian Willis Scott], but my mother wanted my brother [William Alexander Scott, IV] and I to handle any of the business interest that might evolve. So, I guess in '96 [1996] when she called again, I thought maybe I should take a look at this, and I was just trying to see what it was that I could do without leaving my job. And around the same time a girlfriend of mine who lived in [Washington] D.C., sent me a Washington Post article about these joint ventures, these partnerships between these black publishers of black groups and major publishing, or major media companies. One of them was BET [Black Entertainment] Television combining with Time Warner [Inc., New York, New York] to do the BET Weekend magazine, which was fairly short-lived, as it turns out. It no longer publishes. The other was a project that Don Miller [HistoryMaker Donald Miller], who had been a retired executive from Dow Jones [& Company, New York, New York], was actually trying to start a national black newspaper [Our World News] with the backing from Dow Jones. And another one was the--I can't remember his name, who's the publisher of American History [sic. American Heritage] magazine, which is a joint venture with Forbes. And it talked about how these, you know, two interests were working together to produce these publications. So I thought, well, I wonder if there is something there for Cox and the Atlanta Daily World. So I called, I talked with some of the executives at Cox and they didn't say no, they're always looking for new ways to make more money. And I called Portia and I asked her would this be something that maybe the Atlanta World would be interested in talking about, but they weren't. Her father was fiercely independent and felt like this was just a way to have the big media companies swallow up this independent family owned business. And so that was kind of a blow because I thought I had found a solution. And so I decided okay, I'm going to go back; I tried. But she called again and she said, we really--it's not, things aren't going well. We really either need to close, or just sell, or do something; something has to take place.