Nearly 200 people watched an Oct. 6 webinar, “Truth-telling in a Time of Turbulence,” to promote the new Nancy and Bob Maynard Diversity in Journalism scholarship.
The school hopes to raise $25,000 to endow the scholarship to increase diversity in media and boost the careers of more journalists of color. Donate here.
Gilbert Bailon (‘81), editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, moderated a panel with Roll Call columnist Mary C. Curtis and Kevin Merida, editor of ESPN’s “The Undefeated.” The three discussed COVID-19, the election, racial reckoning, objectivity and the Maynards’ legacy of news media diversity.
The scholarship honors the late pioneering African American journalists Robert C. Maynard and his wife, Nancy Hicks Maynard, who had close ties to the UA School of Journalism through the Editing Program for Minority Journalists, which was held at the university for 20 years.
Curtis and Merida both credit the editing program for helping them in their careers.
“We learned how to report, but also how to operate in a newsroom,” Merida said. “Many of us went into newsrooms that were predominantly white, and to navigate those spaces was challenging, but (the program) gave you a kind of confidence.”
The Maynards bought the Oakland Tribune in the early 1980s, a few years after Bob was named editor, becoming the first African Americans to own a major daily newspaper.
“They built a newsroom of color and showed how it could be done,” Curtis said.
In 1977, the couple and seven other journalists co-founded the Institute for Journalism Education (IJE), dedicated to training journalists of color and improving minority representation in news media. Nancy was one of the first African American female reporters for The New York Times and later served as IJE president. In 1993, Bob died of cancer at age 56, and in his honor IJE was renamed the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Nancy died at age 61 in 2008.
Forty-three years after its founding, the Maynard Institute continues to provide professional training for journalists of all backgrounds, in addition to hosting conferences and events focusing on diversity/inclusion in newsrooms and in news coverage.
The scholarship, suggested by Prof. Linda Lumsden, will be awarded to students interested in examining issues related to African Americans and/or supporting the success of the school’s African American students.
Frank Sotomayor (‘66), chair of the school’s Journalism Advisory Council, brought the editing program to UA in 1980 with the late Donald W. Carson. Sotomayor worked on the Maynard event with help from JAC members Jo M. Barkley, Chyrl Hill Lander, Mikayla Mace, Arlene Scadron, Pam White and Mark Woodhams (vice chair).