NABJ Mourns the Loss of Founder Reginald "Reggie" Bryant
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Posted by: ryan williams
The National Association of Black Journalists celebrates the legacy and life of Reginald "Reggie" Bryant.
|Funeral Arrangements for NABJ Founder Reggie Bryant
Monday, April 12, 2010
1500 West Master Street
Philadelphia, PA 19121-4321
Viewing: 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Funeral begins at 11:00 a.m.
Described as "iconoclastic and bombastic," Bryant was a founder of
the National Association of Black Journalists and the Philadelphia
Association of Black Journalists. He was a veteran broadcaster and media
consultant as well as a writer, filmmaker and artist. Bryant died on
Monday, April 5, 2010, in Philadelphia, Penn., of cancer. He was 68.
With more than three decades in broadcasting in the Philadelphia
area, Bryant’s radio following made him a staple in the homes and lives
of thousands who affectionately called him "The Doctor." Those who
tuned in religiously to Bryant’s show on WURD did so because of his
skillfully conducted verbal surgery on a variety of hot topics. He also
worked for WPEN and WMGK.
"Reggie was a true intellectual and provocateur," said close friend
and fellow NABJ Founder Acel Moore, Associate Editor Emeritus at The
Philadelphia Inquirer. He was involved in convergence ahead of its time.
He had capacity to make people rethink some issues in a different way.
We worked together putting print and broadcasting together."
NABJ Founder Paul H. Brock said Bryant had a tremendous impact on his
life. "He was a constant defender and supporter of me," said Brock,
former news director WHUR in Washington. "He was a fighter, even with
bouts in and out of the hospital he was still doing his show, informing
his community, fighting battles for his community. He backed down to no
one. He always spoke truth to power."
"I was thrilled to see Reggie and have a conversation with him at the
Tampa convention last year," said current NABJ President Kathy Times,
Anchor/Investigative Reporter with Fox 40 News at 9, Jackson, Miss.
"His voice and his spirit were strong. I was inspired by his presence,
perseverance, strength and deep-rooted commitment to NABJ."
Bryant’s broadcast practice expanded into a groundbreaking
television interview program, "Black Perspectives on the News," a news
program on WHYY in Philadelphia that featured prominent newsmakers from
1973-78. The PBS, program, which Bryant co-produced with Moore,
expanded "The Doctor’s" reach to more than 170 stations across the
nation. This was a journalistic first.
"Reggie was a journalist who roared," said Arthur Fennell, NABJ Past
President and Executive Producer/Anchor, The Comcast Network. "He was a
man of passion and intellect deeply connected to our community and
represented our concerns better than anybody I know."
"He leaves a legacy of great admiration and respect." Fennell said.
Recently retired WURD General Manager Kernie Anderson said Bryant’s
impact was not only on WURD, but on other radio stations and also on
public radio, public television and wherever he broadcast and or wrote.
"Reggie was a true journalist to say nothing of his film credits. Up
until his death, he was still sketching. Reggie was truly a renaissance
man. He was an athlete, a writer, a scholar. He did it all. He was
sharp-witted, and he would strike you down with his tongue," Anderson
"Anyone who came in contact with Reggie left the experience wiser and
enlightened. You had to rise to the occasion to be around Reggie. He
was very compassionate and a real nice person. Having managed many
broadcasters, Reggie was at the top. He brought his game, and all around
him benefited from that."
Jerry Mondesire, a founding member Philadelphia Association of Black
Journalists and president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP,
described Bryant as an "iconoclastic and bombastic" champion of the
"He was a wordsmith who loved throwing big words at people and watching them squirm."
Moore remembered Bryant as a "facile speaker and writer."
"He understood words and could go head to head with the best of them.
If he had a confrontation with a mosquito, he would use a sledge
hammer. His thing was the use of language. But he was also a caring man
who mentored people and that often surprised people. He never enriched
himself or used his talent to gain money for himself."
"I loved him as a brother. A lot of people in Philadelphia will miss his intellect and conversation. I am going to miss him."
Les Payne, NABJ Past President, commented: "Reggie was a true
pioneer; especially with the "Black Perspective on The News" show. It
was the equal of "Meet the Press;" and many a day was superior thanks to
Reggie's keen insight and sharp retort. Reggie lives on in all of
Bryant was well connected at the grassroots level, and once
proclaimed that the founding of PABJ was something the early journalists
were "forced to do."
"There was absolutely blatant racism in the city's newsrooms," Bryant
said. "The newsrooms were all white at the newspapers, radio and
television, and those blacks who were in got terrible treatment." He
saw the organization as one that could be an advocate for black
journalists who were being treated unfairly by their companies. He also
hoped that the group would become a major force in making the industry
Bryant attended Temple University where he received his Bachelor of
Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science in Education, and Master of Fine Arts. He
also earned a Master Film Teacher certification from the American Film
Institute. Bryant was an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.
During his long career, Bryant interviewed five U.S. presidents, 52
Pulitzer Prize winning authors and had been commended by hundreds of
organizations for his community service. He was recognized by the
National Association of Broadcast Journalists as a "Legend Who Lived
It." The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists recognized Mr.
Bryant with a Trailblazer Award in 2006.
A 2009 tribute for Bryant drew more than 400 people from across Philadelphia.
In addition to his journalistic career, close friend and fellow PABJ
Founder Elmer Smith said Bryant was renowned in the Philadelphia arts
for his skill as an artist. His landscapes, still lifes and portraits
are included in a number of prestigious collections, Smith said. "When I
met him, he was an art lecturer at the Lee Cultural Center in West
Philadelphia. He had the uncanny ability to explain conceptually the
work of the great masters to teenagers who had no background in art,"
said Smith, a columnist at the Philadelphia Daily News.
"I can never forget that Reggie and Acel Moore gave me a chance to
appear on their nationally syndicated show at a time when I was still
learning my craft. They created an opportunity that would not have been
open to me and other young journalists if they had not insisted on our
inclusion," Smith said.
We at NABJ will forever be indebted to Reggie’s commitment as one of
the 44 founders of the leading organization for journalists of color.
Our honoring an "NABJ Legend" is but a small gesture of our long-term
commitment to upholding the founding principles of our association.
NABJ Vice President-Print Deirdre Childress, an editor at The
Philadelphia Inquirer said Bryant "inspired journalists – and community
members – to hold to their principles and to hold our positions as well,
never backing down."
"Reginald Bryant's voice inspired and educated," said Sarah Glover,
PABJ president and a Philadelphia Daily News photographer. "He
masterfully weaved activism and journalism on his radio shows. Mr.
Bryant was a broadcasting giant who had a direct impact on the community
and blazed a trail for black journalists in radio and television. His
passing leaves a void on the radio airwaves in Philadelphia and beyond."
Bryant is survived by two daughters and a son.
An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the
largest organization of journalists of color in the nation, with more
than 4,100 members, and provides educational, career development and
support to black journalists worldwide.