Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


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Published in Quill January/February 2007. Quill is published and copyright by the Society of Professional Journalists. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


November 2006 marked the deaths of two journalistic giants whose careers should teach us much about journalism and diversity. I speak of Gerald Boyd, former managing editor of The New York Times, and Ed Bradley, correspondent with CBS News magazine show "60 Minutes." Boyd, 56, and Bradley, 65, died within days of each other.

In the Times' obituary, Boyd was recognized for his leadership roles in work that garnered the newspaper nine Pulitzer Prizes. The topics: the first World Trade Center bombing; children of poverty; the complexities of race relations in the United States; and the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Bradley won numerous awards, including 20 Emmys. Among the Emmy Awardwinning topics: schizophrenia; Chinese forced-labor camps; Emmett Till; and the effects of nuclear testing in Kazakhstan, Bradley also snagged the only television interview with Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Their presence and their work mattered. Both men were trailblazers, becoming "firsts" throughout their careers. Both men were journalistic powerhouses, covering the White House and producing high-quality work on a variety of topics, some that tackled race but most that went beyond race. And they were both highprofile African-American men.

Their loss will be felt for years to come, and perhaps for generations. With no Bradley on CBS and few top editors and publishers of color at daily newspapers. who will serve as inspiration? Who will challenge the notion of what's news and who's news?