by Renetta DuBose
Pearl L. Stewart (1950- ) was the first African-American woman to lead a major daily newspaper when she was hired in 1992 to head the Oakland Tribune. In 2002 she founded the website Black College Wire (blackcollegewire.org), an online news service and training program for journalists in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBUs).
At age 16 Stewart enrolled in Howard University and eventually edited the campus newspaper, The Hilltop, while earning a degree in Afro-American Studies with a minor in journalism. She graduated from Howard in 1971 and earned a master’s degree in communication the following year at American University.
Stewart’s first job was at United Press International in San Francisco as one of two blacks on staff. From 1976 to 1980 she was a reporter for the Oakland Tribune. From 1980 to 1991 she covered Oakland news as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. In 1992 the Tribune’s new owners chose Stewart as editor because of her deep understanding of local issues. One year later Stewart left the Tribune, then took a position as editor of the Chicago Defender.
In 1995 Stewart was a fellow in the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University, where she conducted research and wrote on the topics of race and sex-based discrimination in corporate America. From 2000 to 2005 she taught at Florida A & M University’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication. During that time she founded Black College Wire website with a $200,000.00 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The website fosters communication among HBCU journalism students by linking 22 HBCU student newspapers. Black College Wire also has an internship component, pairing students with top industry journalists.
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.