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Nancy Hicks Maynard Goes Home

The Maynard Institute, Obituary , Staff Posted: Sep 21, 2008

Nancy Hicks Maynard, a foresighted pioneer in newsroom diversity and a former co-publisher of the Oakland Tribune, died today in Los Angeles after a prolonged illness. She was 61.

Her death resulted from the intertwined failure of several major organs, her family said.

Prior to her marriage to Robert C. Maynard in 1975, Nancy Hicks was recognized along with her soon to be husband, as among the best and most accomplished of the vanguard of fewer than 50 black journalists who moved into significant roles in newspaper, radio and television journalism nationally during the urban conflagrations of the early year of the 1960s. Her several journalistic achievements included coverage of developments surrounding the mid-sixties urban rebellions, cutting-edge developments nationally in science and health ranging from the NASA Apollo program to the costs and effectiveness of Great Society-era health care programs including Medicaid and Medicare.

Maynards distinguished work for the New York Post, the New York Times, and occasionally the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour preceded and were eventually outshone by her life partnership with her late husband, Robert C. Maynard. The stylish and polished pair left major positions at the New York Times and the Washington Post respectively, struck out on their own and established a highly recognized institute to attract, train and develop minority reporters, editors and media managers.

The Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, now based in Oakland, Calif., has prepared thousands of graduates to enter the nations newsrooms, including at the Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. Nancy Maynard was the institutes first president and served on its board until 2002.

I think part of her legacy was being one of the early black women journalists at the Times. Of course, also part of her legacy was being co-publisher of the Tribune. That was groundbreaking, said Dorothy Gilliam, a former Washington Post columnist who was a co-founder of the institute. Part of her legacy was keeping the institute alive in the early years.

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