McGruder Award recipients celebrate diversity in Kiva

Michaela Write

Diversity is important in journalism, and some of those journalists were honored Thursday for the Robert G. McGruder Lecture and Award presentation.

The late McGruder was the first black editor of the Daily Kent Stater and the first black reporter at The Plain Dealer in 1963.

Caesar Andrews, the 2011 recipient of the Distinguished Guest Lecture Award, spoke about McGruder’s impact on diversity in the media.

“Think about where diversity fits in your vision of the world,” Andrews said. “Tap into the caring expertise close to home: your faculty, each other, the rich experience of campus media and internships.

“And by all means, reap the wisdom of Bob McGruder. His legacy as a savvy, dignified crusader for the cause of diverse newsrooms remains as impressive as ever.”

Alfreda Brown, vice president of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion said McGruder’s legacy influenced many people. “Bob McGruder was really a pioneer in the way he thought about diversity,” Brown said. “He didn’t just think about it, he was an active participant. He actually drove change.”

His legacy will continue through the people’s lives he changed, she said.

“This can be the same story that they can tell if they understand how diversity fits into their lives, especially in the area of journalism and communication,” Brown said.

Leon Bibb, recipient of the Diversity in Media Distinguished Leadership Award and NewsChannel 5 anchor in Cleveland, said McGruder was always an advocate for diversity.

“He pushed it (diversity) all the time even as a young man,” he said. “The late Bob McGruder is in me right now. What he did for me helped me with my career there and helped me be a better journalist.”

Erin Perkins, second year grad student studying magazine journalism, received an Excellence in Advancing Diversity award for her story “No Ordinary Man,” a story about a transgender student on his journey to becoming a man.

Perkins said she was humbled after receiving her first award for writing.

“It’s really nice because the story itself was really challenging, and it was a lot of fun to write,” she said. “Even in an age where we have a black president, there are still a lot of issues that aren’t covered, especially with people of color and different sexual orientation.”

Contact Michaela Write, the religion and College of Public Health reporter, at [email protected].