Eight of 100: Black Journalists Few on NYU ‘Outstanding’ List
New York University faculty and alumni can only agree on handful of great black reporters
The hard fought gain in diversity among journalists in newsrooms is frequently undermined by who is actually called on, to put a face on the age-old trade.
A reminder of that came Monday in the form a list, compiled by New York University’s journalism school, which names “100 Outstanding Journalists in the United States in the Last 100 Years.”
Only eight black journalists made the list – and only one of them is a black woman. Here are the names the school’s faculty and alumni could agree on: James Baldwin, Ed Bradley, Bob Herbert, Langston Hughes, Gordon Parks, Carl Rowan, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Ida B. Wells.
They are all legends and icons in their own right. But some would argue those eight are just the tip of the iceberg in a rich history of African American journalists. For example, not one of the black journalists named was an employee of a black-owned paper, which also have a storied history in the American media landscape. (A list of nominees does include Chicago Defender pioneer Claude Barnett.)
Professor Mitchell Stephens says the list, as it is to be announced during the journalism school’s 100-year anniversary celebration on Tuesday, “was selected from more than 300 nominees plus write-ins.”
Why is this a matter of race? The lack of diversity often becomes clearest during coverage of stories where race is implicated, as minority media columnists have continually noted.
Black and Latino journalists are frequently accused of bias, or of the inability to be impartial, while covering stories about race.
Lemon was told via Twitter that he should go work for BET, if he wanted to continue talking race in the Martin case. Weeks ago, CNN morning anchor Soledad O’Brien was attacked for challenging a Brietbart.com reporter for a “non-story” the site pushed about Pres. Obama’s association with the late Harvard Law professor, Derrick Bell.