Sunday, June 1, 2008

Era ends for African American journalists

Wyatt, Richmond and Rodgers
Harrison Chastang, who has covered the African American community in the Bay Area for KPOO radio in San Francisco and other media outlets, says the retirements of ABC 7's Martin Wyatt, KTVU's Dennis Richmond and CBS 5's Barbara Rodgers "marks an end of an era for the first generation of Bay Area Black television journalists." Chastang writes in BeyondChron:
    Rodgers came to KPIX in 1979, a decade after Richmond was hired at KTVU during a time when the small but growing African American Bay Area media community decided to form an organization of local Black journalists to improve their leverage with editors and news directors during discussions on story coverage and hiring more African Americans in the newsroom, but to also maintain ties between Black journalists and the communities where they live and work. ... 
    Rodgers' retirement comes at a time when major journalism organizations say that despite high profile hires of African Americans in the newsroom, the actual number of African Americans working in media jobs has actually declined because of cutbacks and layoffs throughout the news industry. 
    Both Richmond and Rodgers, as well as pioneer Bay Area Black TV news reporters/anchors Belva Davis, Ben Davis, and cameraman Bill Moore spent most, if not all their careers at one station. 
    The current unpredictable state of the news business offers no guarantees that current crop of African American anchors (Carolyn Tyler and Willie Monroe at KGO; Pam Moore, Vernon Glenn at KRON; Dana King at KPIX; Darryl Hawks and Janice Edwards at KNTV and Dave Clark at KTVU) will be in their positions, or in the Bay Area after their current contracts expire.

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