TWO RECEIVE ROBERT G. McGRUDER AWARDS FOR DIVERSITY LEADERSHIP
Friday, October 11, 2013
Posted by: Laura Sellers-Earl
Reginald Stuart, veteran journalist and corporate recruiter, and the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle are the recipients of the 12th annual Robert G. McGruder Awards for Diversity Leadership, awarded by the Associated Press Media Editors in partnership with other journalism organizations.
The McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership is given annually to individuals, newsrooms or teams of journalists who embody the spirit of McGruder, a former executive editor of the Detroit Free Press, managing editor of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and a graduate of Kent State University. McGruder died of cancer in April 2002. A past president of APME and former member of the American Society of News Editors’ Board of Directors, McGruder was a relentless diversity champion. The awards will be presented Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, at the annual awards lunch at the APME conference in Indianapolis.
This year, the 12th annual awards were sponsored by The Plain Dealer, Kent State University and the APME Foundation, and the Chips Quinn Scholars program of the Newseum Institute. The honorees will each receive $2,500 and a leadership plaque.
Stuart and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle are being honored for their longstanding commitment to diversity in news content and in newsroom recruiting and staff development.
"We are thrilled to recognize Reginald Stuart and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle,” said Brad Dennison, president of APME. "Their work, particularly in these challenging times in our industry, is exemplary. APME is proud to present the McGruder award each year to outstanding recipients like Stuart and the Democrat and Chronicle.”
In the nominating letter for Stuart, a veteran journalist who has spent 45 years chronicling news stories and recruiting and placing journalists in various assignments - including the last 20 as a recruiter for Knight Ridder and then The McClatchy Co. – Stuart’s nomination celebrated him for placing more than 1,000 journalists into jobs.
Former SPJ President David Carlson once said of Stuart: "He made a name for himself and made names for countless others, too, as he shepherded young journalists through the ranks. I’m not sure anyone can match the impact Reggie has had on diversity in journalism. He has brought countless people of color into the business. All of us are better for knowing him.”
Attend any minority journalism conference, his nomination said, and you’ll find Stuart listening to a wide range of attendees – from those who are just starting out in the business to those in management whom he has mentored.
Stuart began his professional journalism career in 1968 as a general assignment reporter atThe Tennessean in Nashville. After 18 months at the Tennessean, he was recruited as the first black television news general assignment reporter by WSIX in Nashville, the local ABC affiliate. He was a pioneer of convergence reporting, rewriting his stories for the Tennessean after reporting them on the television news. In 1974, he joined The New York Times as a business and finance reporter. There, he covered coal, insurance companies and utilities. In 1976, he became a national correspondent for the Times. During the next eight years, he served as a correspondent and bureau chief in Detroit, Atlanta and Miami. In 1987, Stuart joined Knight Ridder newspapers as a national affairs correspondent for the Philadelphia Daily News. In 1990, he was appointed assistant news editor in Knight Ridder’s Washington bureau, a post he held until 1996. Later, Stuart served as a corporate recruiter for Knight Ridder, and, in 2006, he assumed the same recruiting role with McClatchy.
The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle was also recognized asa recipient of this year'sMcGruder Award. Four years ago, on Oct. 30, 2009, Democrat and Chronicle Editor Karen Magnuson received the award for her individual efforts to champion diversity in her newsroom and community. Four years later, Magnuson’s newsroom and community have been selected to receive the same honor. For more than a decade, diversity has been one of five core values for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle newsroom and has been demonstrated externally through coverage and outreach and internally, reflected in hiring, training, promoting and retaining journalists of color.
"It is impressive that the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle repeatedly outpaces its peers as it demonstrates its diversity commitment,’’ said Debra Adams Simmons, editor of The Plain Dealer, APME vice president and chair of the award’s selection committee. "The newsroom did not rest on its laurels after being recognized for significant diversity performance four years ago. The Democrat and Chronicle continued to challenge itself and the greater Rochester community to elevate its commitment to build understanding and to tell the whole community’s stories.”
The paper has an active Diversity Committee, a group of 10 staff members committed to outreach and educating current staff. One nominating letter said that because of the committee, the work "is more inclusive, authentic, diverse and ultimately more accurate across multiple platforms.” These building blocks helped the paper execute a major project on race, which it launched in January 2013, called Unite Rochester.
In her nominating letter, Jennifer Leonard, president and CEO of the Rochester Area Community Foundation, saluted the Democrat and Chronicle for "its dedication to diversity in news content and leadership in providing tools, information and resources to promote intergroup understanding and equity in our upstate New York community.”
She said that through its Unite Rochester initiative, the Democrat and Chronicle bolstered community conversations through a continuing series of news stories, deployed extensive online expertise and social media reach to stimulate community discussions, developed and publicized results of a countywide poll about racial attitudes, issues and solutions and took its leadership team on the road for town hall meetings to spur conversation about the issues and beliefs that divide Rochester. After six months, the newspaper concluded the its first phase of Unite Rochester with a set of targeted recommendations, she said.
The 2013 judges included representatives of the Freedom Forum, The Plain Dealer, Kent State University and the American Society of News Editors. Jurors assessed the nominees based on their significant contribution during a given year or over a number of years to furthering the cause of diversity in content and in recruiting, developing and retaining journalists of color.