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date: 06 August 2020

Journalism, Broadcastlocked

  • Pamela Newkirk

Extract

In 1968President Lyndon Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, in a stinging indictment of the news industry, condemned the broadcast and print media for their exclusion of African Americans in the newsroom and their failure to convey the complexities of black life. “The media report and write from the standpoint of a white man’s world,” said the report. “The ills of the ghetto, the difficulties of life there, the Negro’s burning sense of grievance, are seldom conveyed.”

In the year the report was issued, only a handful of black men worked in overwhelmingly white newsrooms and Diahann Carroll made television history by being the first black woman to star in a network television series: surely few in 1968 could have fathomed the day (thirty-some years later) that Oprah Winfrey a black woman would be one of the biggest names in the television industry and that another ...

A version of this article originally appeared in Black Women in America, 2nd ed.

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