HistoryThe Word - Media

Robert C. Maynard

Robert C. Maynard (1937-1993) was an American journalist, newspaper publisher, and civil rights leader. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, where he attended local public schools. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Long Island University in 1958 and a Master of Arts degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1961.

Maynard began his journalism career as a reporter for the York Gazette and Daily in Pennsylvania. He later worked for the Washington Post, where he covered the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. In 1977, Maynard became the first African American editor-in-chief of a major metropolitan daily newspaper, the Oakland Tribune in California.

As editor, Maynard transformed the Oakland Tribune into a newspaper that reflected the interests and concerns of the diverse communities in the Bay Area. He hired more reporters of color, increased coverage of minority issues, and expanded the paper’s circulation. Maynard’s leadership and commitment to diversity in journalism paved the way for other journalists of color to enter the industry.

In addition to his work in journalism, Maynard was also a civil rights activist. He served as the chairman of the board of the Institute for Journalism Education, which provides training for journalists of color. He also co-founded the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, which provides training, research, and consulting to promote diversity in journalism.

Robert C. Maynard, from left, with five members of the Oakland Tribune board of directors: Nancy Hicks Maynard, Shirley Temple Black, Fred O. Wetton, Warren Lerude, and Robert M. Fisher, on April 30, 1983.

Maynard received numerous awards for his contributions to journalism and civil rights, including the George Polk Career Award, the Elijah Lovejoy Award for Courage in Journalism, and the National Association of Black Journalists’ Lifetime Achievement Award.

Maynard died in 1993 at the age of 56 from prostate cancer. His legacy as a trailblazer in journalism and civil rights continues to inspire and influence generations of journalists and activists.

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