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Robert C. Maynard was a journalist and publisher best known for being the first African-American to own and publish a major daily newspaper (Tribune).
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Journalist and publisher Robert C. Maynard knew at age 16 that he wanted to be a writer and dropped out of school to begin work as a reporter for the New York Age, an African-American weekly. He later wrote for the Gazette and the Washington Post. He is best known for being the first African-American to own and publish a major daily newspaper when he bought controlling interest in the Tribune.
Journalist and publisher Robert Clyve Maynard was born in Brooklyn, New York, on June 17, 1937. The son of immigrants from Barbados, Maynard decided early he wanted to be a writer. He quit school at age 16 and began to work as a reporter for the New York Age, an African-American weekly, obtaining his first job on a white newspaper in 1961, the York Gazette and Daily (Pennsylvania).
He spent 1966 as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, returned to the Gazette and then joined the Washington Post (1967) as its first black national correspondent. In 1972, he was named an associate editor of the Post, and his stature was such that he was one of three journalists invited to question President Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter in their 1976 campaign debate.
In 1972 he was co-director of a program at Columbia University School of Journalism to train minority journalists, and in 1977 he left the Post and went to establish (with his wife, Nancy Hall Hicks, also a journalist) a similar program at the University of California, Berkeley, the Institute for Journalism Education.
Maynard became the editor of the Oakland Tribune (California) (1979), the first African-American to direct editorial operations for a major daily paper, and became the first African-American to own and publish a major daily newspaper when he bought controlling interest in the Tribune (1983). Eroding circulation and advertising forced him to sell it to the Alameda Newspaper Group (1992), but he remained as publisher and editor.
A Pulitzer Prize juror, and a leader in various professional organizations, Maynard took greatest pride in helping scores of minority youths enter journalism, an effort that earned him the title "the Jackie Robinson of publishing."
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