[JPL] Nancy Hicks Maynard, Journalistic Pioneer, Dies

Jazz Promo Services jazzpromo at earthlink.net
Tue Sep 23 11:10:44 EDT 2008


Reference to her bassist brother Al Hall....

September 23, 2008
Nancy Hicks Maynard, Journalistic Pioneer, Dies

Nancy Hicks Maynard, who was the first black woman to be a reporter at The
New York Times and with her husband bought and published The Oakland
Tribune, still the only major metropolitan daily to have been owned by
African-Americans, died Sunday in Los Angeles. She was 61 and lived in Santa
Monica, Calif.

The cause was multiple organ failure, her daughter, Dori J. Maynard, said.

Ms. Hicks Maynard, who was also a co-founder of an institute that has
trained hundreds of minority journalists, was a 23-year-old former copy girl
and reporter for The New York Post when she was hired by The Times in
September 1968. Almost immediately, she was sent to Brooklyn to help cover
the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school decentralization controversy, which led to
a citywide teachers¹ strike, accusations of racism and anti-Semitism, and
eventually the creation of local school districts throughout the city.

By less than a year, Ms. Hicks Maynard preceded Charlayne Hunter-Gault as
the first black woman to become a reporter at The Times.

In 1974, at a black journalists¹ convention, Ms. Hicks met Robert C.
Maynard, a columnist for The Washington Post. Within a year they were
married; they quit their jobs and in 1977 founded the Maynard Institute for
Journalism Education.

Now based in Oakland, Calif., the institute has trained hundreds of minority
journalists in the last 31 years. Ms. Hicks Maynard was the institute¹s
first president and a member of its board until 2002. As other organizations
began similar programs for minority reporters, the Maynard Institute began
shifting its focus to training editors and newsroom managers.

In 1983, the Maynards bought the financially ailing Oakland Tribune from the
Gannett Company. For nearly a decade, they were co-publishers, bringing a
high degree of diversity to the newsroom. Mr. Maynard died in 1993, and with
revenues declining, Ms. Hicks Maynard sold the paper to the Alameda
Newspaper Group.

Ms. Hunter-Gault, who became a correspondent for the Public Broadcasting
Service, said Monday that Ms. Hicks Maynard was ³a groundbreaker² at The
Times at a time when ³we were trying to effect change in the portrayal of
black people.²

³Nancy helped us survive even the inadvertent racism,² Ms. Hunter-Gault
said. ³And the thing about Nancy was that when so many of us were
preoccupied with doing stories about black people, she paved the way in a
new direction.²

In her first few years at The Times, Ms. Hicks Maynard covered race riots,
black student takeovers at Columbia and Cornell and the funeral of Robert F.
Kennedy. She later wrote for the paper¹s education and science news
departments, specializing in health-care coverage. Her subjects included the
complexities of Medicare, an explanation of the arrangement of whiskers on a
lion¹s face and coverage of the Apollo space missions. In 1973, she spent a
month in China, analyzing its medical system.

³One of her stories was on the use of acupuncture for surgical operations
while the patients were wide awake and feeling no pain,² Ms. Hunter-Gault
said of her China coverage. ³This kind of reporting went off in a whole
other direction for black reporters.²

Nancy Alene Hall was born in Harlem on Nov. 1, 1946. Her father, Alfred
Hall, known as Al, was a noted jazz bassist and her mother, the former Eve
Keller, was a nurse.

Ms. Hicks Maynard¹s first husband, Daniel Hicks, died in the early 1970s.
Besides her mother and her daughter, she is survived by her partner, Jay T.
Harris; two sons, David and Alex Maynard; a sister, Barbara Guest; and a
brother, Al Hall.

Ms. Hicks Maynard received a bachelor¹s degree in journalism from Long
Island University in 1966. She first became interested in journalism as a
teenager. When a fire destroyed her former elementary school in Harlem, she
became outraged at the way her community was described by the news media.
She decided she could make a difference. 

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