Written by Chris Hanson
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Topics: journalism

Friday, 10 November 2006

image for African-Americans Control Washington Post: Now it Must Be Told
Washington Post in running for Pulitzer diversity prize

WASHINGTON - The Washington Post disclosed today that it is run by African-Americans, dispelling rumors that its top leadership is Caucasian. The latest installment of its series, "Being a Black Man," features first hand accounts of how the paper's three top leaders battled for acceptance in a white-dominated society.

In an article titled "Visible Man," the paper's most prominent reporter, Bob Woodward of Watergate fame, describes his dogged rise from the mean streets of Wheaton, Illinois and the hardscrabble quads of Yale University.

Now securely at the pinnacle of elite journalism in Washington, D.C., Woodward observes that he is judged by the content of his exclusives, not the color of his skin.

"My sources see Bob Woodward, not a black, a white man, or a green man," Woodward writes.

In "Scoop Dreams," Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie describes his struggle to avoid being stereotyped due to his super-masculine physical prowess. He directed his aim away from the hoop and toward the power elite as a journalistic watchdog of the public interest.

"I did not let basketball define me," he writes.

In "Driving Miss Katie," Washington Post Co. CEO Donald Graham describes earlier days deep in the shadow of his mother, the late Post Co. Chairwoman Katherine Graham.

Graham drew inspiration from Essie Mae Washington-Williams' memoir of her strained, distant relationship with her long-secret father, Sen. Strom Turmond, R-SC. "From her poise and quiet dignity I have learned to put my rage on ice," Graham writes.

The Post has vowed to continue running its "Being a Black Man" series for years, if necessary, until critics stop complaining that the paper pays too little attention to the African-American majority in the nation's capital.

Last year, the paper was a finalist for the Pulitzer public service prize for its series, "On Being a Woman." That series included first person accounts of breaking journalism's glass ceiling by Washington Post veterans Dawn Graham, Lenora Downie, and Bobbie Woodward.

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