Annual Robert G. McGruder Lecture to award former NBC journalist

Samantha Karam

Paula Madison, a former NBC journalist and executive, will be honored at the 13th Annual Robert G. McGruder Distinguished Lecture and Award Program at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday in the KIVA.

“(She) was one of my mentors growing up,” said Thor Wasbotten, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

According to the JMC website, Madison was the first African-American woman to be the general manager of a major news outlet; KNBC in Los Angeles.

“I’m excited every single year for the McGruder Lecture,” Wasbotten said. “ We’re able to invite a journalist … who is prominent, who has broken down barriers (and) who has done things that have truly changed the national scope and scale of journalism.”

According to the website for Kent State’s School of JMC, “The annual Robert G. McGruder Distinguished Lecture and Award program recognizes the accomplishments of media professionals who encourage diversity.”

“If I can do anything to help expand her legacy,” Wasbotten said. “I think we can hopefully make this industry and our communities a better place.”

Diversity is that which you do not have, Wasbotten said. It’s important to the field of journalism because everyone has a category they fall into — but that doesn’t mean they’re the same, he added.

“In all (aspects of JMC),” Wasbotten said, “you’re trying to inform, and you need diverse voices telling stories.”

Wasbotten said this year’s speaker will be one students won’t want to miss.

“It’s the McGruder lecture,” Wasbotten said. “It should be packed because people need to hear a McGruder award winner’s story … Being Paula Madison, I am pretty confident you will not here a more powerful and engaging speaker. ”

Admission is free of charge and the lecture is open to the public.

Samantha Karam is a diversity reporter, contact her [email protected]