Magazine article Black Enterprise

Breaking Ground at Newsweek

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Breaking Ground at Newsweek

Article excerpt

Mark Whitaker named editor of weekly news magazine

Who knew? Truth be told, too many internships consist of glorified grunt work. You sign on at some company for the bare minimum wage--if you're being paid at all--then typically you're used and abused for three months before you're sent packing with a smile and a pat on the back. So why would Mark Whitaker, who started as a Newsweek intern at the ripe age of 19 have expected anything different?

Whether he had any indication of just how long he'd be anchored to the publication is irrelevant now. The fact is, Whitaker, now 41, was recently appointed editor of Newsweek magazine--making him the first African American editor of a mainstream news weekly. Whitaker, who has served as the magazine's managing editor for two years, succeeds Maynard Parker, the publication's longtime editor who died following complications from leukemia.

Whitaker officially joined Newsweek as a full-time reporter in 1981, working in the magazine's international section before becoming business editor in 1987. He served as an assistant managing editor from 1991-95, where he helped expand the technology coverage, launching a monthly "Focus on Technology" section and weekly "Cyberscope" page.

"I'm proud and think it's a great thing for black folks," he says of his appointment. "Whenever one of us shows we can do something that hadn't been possible before, it's good and just opens people's eyes. And hopefully this leads to opportunities for others in the industry."

Whitaker's selection as editor comes when the media, both television and print, are under increasing scrutiny for internal diversity efforts. One study, conducted by Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, noted a precipitous plunge in minority hiring. The Medill survey of 162 consumer magazines in 1995 indicated that while 4. …

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