"Mentor, Teacher, and Confidante": Mary C. Curtis, NF '06, Celebrates the Indelible Influence of Dori Maynard, NF '93, on Journalism

Nieman Reports, Winter 2015 | Go to article overview

"Mentor, Teacher, and Confidante": Mary C. Curtis, NF '06, Celebrates the Indelible Influence of Dori Maynard, NF '93, on Journalism


Don Maynard, NF '93, who died of lung cancer on February 24 at 56, was a trailblazer on the issue of newsroom diversity. She championed broadening the concept beyond racial diversity, arguing that the makeup of a newsroom staff should reflect the communities it covers. After working at the Detroit Free Press, the Bakersfield Californian, and The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Massachusetts, she took over as president of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education in Oakland, California. Her late father, Robert, a 1966 Nieman Fellow, had co-founded the institute in 1977. Dori became president of the institute in 2002 at a time when some people thought diversity was no longer an issue. Dori knew better and kept on pushing.

You could say I owe my life in journalism to the Maynard family--the people and the institute.

As a little girl growing up in West Baltimore, I knew that my neighborhood and neighbors were stereotyped and caricatured in the newspapers and on the television. But I didn't have a clue about how to make a life in journalism and change those images. The Maynard Institute's Editing Program for Minority Journalists filled in what my college education and early newsroom supervisors left out. This grueling journalism boot camp in Tucson, Arizona honed skills and left its survivors with confidence and direction.

I returned to Tucson to teach in the years the program remained based at the University of Arizona, though my debt could never be repaid. …

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