The Word - Media

Max Robinson

Max Robinson (1939-1988) was an American journalist and news anchor. He was born on May 1, 1939, in Richmond, Virginia. Robinson made history as the first African-American broadcast network news anchor in the United States. Robinson began his journalism career as a reporter for several radio and television stations. In 1978, he joined ABC News, where he became a co-anchor of the evening news program “World News Tonight.” His appointment as the first African-American anchor on a network evening news program was a significant milestone for representation in the media industry.

Max Robinson, left, in 1978 with his ABC news team: Roone Arledge, who hired him, and his co-anchor colleagues, Frank Reynolds, center, and Peter Jennings

During his time at ABC, Robinson covered various important events and stories, including the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the Watergate scandal, and the Iranian hostage crisis. He also reported on social and racial issues, consistently using his platform to address matters of racial inequality and discrimination.

Robinson’s tenure as an anchor at “World News Tonight” lasted until 1983. Unfortunately, his career was affected by personal struggles, including battles with alcoholism and depression. Tragically, Max Robinson passed away on December 20, 1988, at the age of 49 due to complications from AIDS.

Despite his untimely death, Max Robinson’s contributions as a pioneering African-American journalist and his impact on the media industry continue to be recognized. He paved the way for other minority journalists and anchors, opening doors for greater diversity and representation in television news broadcasting.

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