On Thursday, January 17, 2013, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) will induct six journalists into its Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held at The Newseum in Washington during Inauguration Week Festivities.
Annually, NABJ pays homage to legendary black journalists who have made outstanding contributions to the industry. Over the last 20 years, NABJ has inducted over 50 distinguished journalists into the association's Hall of Fame.
The NABJ Hall of Fame inductees were named by Board of Directors based on the recommendation of the Hall of Fame Committee chaired by NABJ Founder Maureen Bunyan, Evening News Anchor WJLA-TV.
The newest members are:
Betty Winston Bayé, Longtime Columnist, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.)
Simeon Booker, Made history as the first African-American staff reporter at The Washington Post, and the Washington Bureau Chief for Jet Magazine. He is best known for his Civil Rights era reporting. His work appeared in leading news publications for more than 50 years.
Alice Dunnigan, First Black Woman Credentialed to Cover The White House, The State Department, and Congress (posthumous)
Sue Simmons, Longtime Anchorwoman, WNBC-TV
Wendell Smith, Legendary Sportswriter, Helped Desegregate Baseball
Cynthia Tucker, Pulitzer-Winning Columnist, The Atlanta Journal Constitution
Betty Winston Bayé
For more than 25 years Betty Bayé worked as a reporter, editor, and editorial page writer at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky. She was the only African-American editorial writer and columnist on staff. The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism alumna is well-regarded for her bold and insightful commentaries on race, equity and justice, and African-American history and culture.
Simeon Booker made history as the first African-American staff reporter at The Washington Post after having completed a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. Booker who began his career at The Afro-American Newspapers would become best known for his incisive coverage of the Civil Rights movement for Jet Magazine. Aside from his coverage of this tumultuous time in history Booker was a brilliant political reporting on every American president from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush.
In the later part of her life Alice Dunnigan wrote her autobiography "A Black Woman's Experience: From Schoolhouse to White House” which chronicled her life growing up in Kentucky, where she began her career as a teacher. Later she would become a Washington correspondent for The Associated Negro Press where her specializing in politics led her to become the first African-American woman credentialed to cover The White House, the Congress, and the State Department. Dunnigan also famously covered Harry Truman's presidential campaign.
Sue Simmons is an iconic anchorwoman whose career took her from New Haven, to Baltimore, to Washington, DC before she headed home to her native New York where she would anchor the evening news at WNBC-TV, NBC's flagship station for 32 years. Simmons' poise, sophistication, sense of humor, and quick wit made her a viewer favorite, and someone who a generation of black broadcasters has sought to emulate.
Wendell Smith began his career as a sportswriter writing for the Pittsburgh Courier. Later his knowledge of baseball led him to be a scout for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Smith helped convince Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey that Jackie Robinson should be the man to integrate baseball. Later he resumed his journalism career and covered the White Sox for the Chicago Sun-Times. Smith has his own place in history as the first African-American member of BBWAA the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Cynthia Tucker is a veteran newspaper reporter would go on to become a columnist and editorial page editor for The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. In 2007 she earned the Pulitzer Prize one of journalism's highest honors. In presenting the award the Board said of Tucker's work, "her courageous, clear-headed columns ... evince a strong sense of morality and persuasive knowledge of the community.” Tucker who was also NABJ's Journalist of the Year in 2006 now draws on her extensive experience in the classroom. She is a Visiting Professor of Journalism and the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer-in-Residence in the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.