Max Robinson – News Broadcasting Trailblazer

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by Renetta DuBose

Virginia born Max Robinson (1939-1988) is most noted for breaking racial barriers when he became the first black co-anchor on ABC’s World News Tonight in 1978,  with Frank Reynolds and Peter Jennings. He fought for racial equality and more positive portrayals of African Americans throughout his career, making him a role model for many. His career began in 1959 at a Portsmouth, Virginia news station where he auditioned for a “whites only” broadcasting position. He was given the position under the condition that his face be covered up by a slide of the station’s logo as he read the news. One day he asked that the slide be removed so that his family could see his face on television. The next day he was fired. This is when his controversial broadcasting career started. 

His next two jobs were as traffic reporter for Washington D.C.’s WTOP (now WUSA) and the first black reporter at WRC-TV. During his time at WRC, Robinson won six journalism awards for his coverage of the 1968 riots after Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination, anti war demonstrations and the national election.  In 1969, he became the first black anchor in Washington, D.C. when he left WRC to return to WTOP after the news director at the former confessed to Robinson that he had the talent to become an anchor, but he wasn’t convinced Washington was ready for a black anchor. This career move lead to his breakout success as the first black anchor of national news at ABC.

He later became the first black anchor at WMAQ-TV, the NBC affiliate in Chicago.  Robinson is also a co-founder of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

 

Renetta DuBose is a reporter for Lakeshore News Tonight, the nightly news show on Lakeshore Public Television in Northwest Indiana. DuBose’s key reports have included the 2013 Inauguration of Barack Obama and the infamous, former Illinois Governor Rod Bladojevich. Beyond the newsroom, DuBose spends her time serving several clubs and organizations, including: the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ); the Gary Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; the Gary Literacy Coalition; the Northwest Indiana Genealogical Society; and the Urban League of Northwest Indiana.

DuBose earned her Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts with a concentration in Electronic Journalism from Butler University, with a minor in Public Relations, in addition to a Masters Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Follow Renetta on Twitter @RenettaReports. 

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