Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Black Journalists Chose Ego over Professionalism

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Black Journalists Chose Ego over Professionalism

Article excerpt

Byline: Roger Brown

I am a proud black journalist.

It's a title I've wanted to hold since I was a kid delivering newspapers and visualizing my bylines in them.

And it's a title that's required some sacrifice for me to hold.

Unemployment.

Underemployment.

Moving to or from three cities within four years.

Drawing lots of vile, racist voicemail and email over the years - including a pretty relentless barrage of bigoted abuse throughout my seven years as a sports columnist in Cleveland.

And that's my hometown!

Still, it's been a worthwhile price to pay to say I'm a black journalist.

And a proud one.

POOR JUDGMENT

But I'm hardly "proud" about the poor judgment displayed by fellow black journalists when Omarosa Manigault took part at a panel discussion held during the recent National Association of Black Journalists convention.

Manigault is an aide to President Donald Trump - someone who didn't exactly attract much support from black voters in winning the presidency last November.

And that reality was reflected in the way many black journalists reacted to Manigault's participation in the panel discussion, which was intended to address the often fragile and tense relationship between law enforcement and the African-American community in this country.

Two black journalists scheduled to be panelists dropped out - apparently because they would have had to share the stage with Manigault.

Others stood with their backs turned to Manigault.

And still more revealed their disdain by making a grand show of walking out of the room.

Meanwhile, the black journalists who did stick around were intent on making sure Manigault wouldn't receive a civil hearing - jeering her remarks and otherwise ignoring a pretty basic obligation that all journalists should meet.

Which is this:

- Don't seek to be the story. …

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