Baton Rouge pioneers: Black women break into journalism

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we looked into our own industry to find the presence of Black women in news. Today, there are dozens Black female journalists and news producers in Baton Rouge who have followed the path chartered by three phenomenal pioneers. Here are their stories:

During the same span of five years in the late 1970s, Yvonne Campbell, Maxine's photo December SONY DSC SONY DSCGenevieve Stewart, and Maxine Crump were on the path to becoming the first Black women of news-even though that wasn’t their intentions. Crump, a native of Maringouin, was a graduate of LSU’s office administration program and working as a secretary at a Baton Rouge chemical plant. Campbell had left the city and began teaching journalism in Tensaw parish. And Stewart, a Fisk graduate, was a Ford Foundation Fellow in Development at Dillard University in New Orleans. By the end of the decade, they would be pioneers in the news and control rooms of the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, Citadel Broadcasting, and WAFB Channel 9.

Read entire story  at Yahoo! Voices http://voices.yahoo.com/baton-rouge-pioneers-black-women-break-into-newsrooms-12098342.html?cat=37

Campbell, Stewart, and Crump tilled the path of exceptional journalism and set the bar for Black women anchors, personalities, and reporters in Baton Rouge.

Today, there are more than two dozen Black women journalists and news producers who have followed their paths. Although there is currently no Black female reporter at the Baton Rouge Advocate, Cleo Allen, Leah Bennett, Frances Spencer, and Chante Warren have worked full time for the paper. In television, Dorothy Kendrick is the Black female producer and Shauna Sanford is a reporter at Louisiana Public Broadcasting. At WAFB Channel 9 are Michelle McCalope, reporter and web producer, and reporters Kelsey Davis and Tyana Williams. WBRZ Channel 2 has morning show producer Cheryl Story, producer Michelle Harrington, 2une In planning producer Jillian Washington, anchor Sylvia Weatherspoon, and reporter Olivia LaBorde. The Black female radio producers are LaTangela Sherman of Cumulus Radio, Jacqui Griffin of WTQT 94.9FM, Missy Gordon of MissyRadio.com. WJBO 1150AM’s talk news host is Karen Henderson, formerly of WRKF 89.3FM. In print, Francheska Felder is editor of Swagher magazine.

Even with the growth of Blacks in journalism, these pioneers agree there need to be more Black news reporters covering the pulse of the community; and where there are none, “Demand it,” said Stewart.

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