More than 28 years ago, when–thanks to Ted Clark–I started doing commentaries for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” I was in a constant race with the staid old “Gray Lady”–The New York Times, so named because of its stodgy, hidebound, gray appearance and style–and with The Washington Post to pitch story ideas to my editors before they appeared in those two important, national “newspapers of record.”
After a story appears in one of those publications, no reporter can claim it’s still “news.” So for me, as often as not when editors rejected my story suggestions, if and when the story later appeared in print, I would always call and remind them that I pitched the story to them, before it was seen in The Times or The Post. I wanted them to know they could trust my “nose for news.”
But once in a while, there is still some “news” after a story appears in The Gray Lady. In this instance, it’s an old saga made new, by a report by Times writer Rachel L. Swarns, published March 27, 2009. “Obama Brings Flush Times for Black News Media,” reads the headline
“For the nation’s black magazines, newspapers, and television and radio stations, the arrival of the Obama administration has ushered in an era of unprecedented access to the White House,” she begins. That may well be true, and it’s about time!
“At his news conference Tuesday (March 24), he skipped over several prominent newspapers and newsmagazines to call on Kevin Chappell, a senior editor at Ebony magazine,” she continued. “It was the first time an Ebony reporter had been invited to question a president at a prime-time news conference.” Stop right there.
What we see today may or may not be “The Greatest” days The Black Press has ever seen at the White House, but understand: these are just “The Latest.” And, by a long shot, they certainly are not The First! Continue reading