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ABC News Anchor, Chief National Correspondent Named Winner of the 2014 McGruder Award for Media DiversityPosted Mar. 17, 2014
Call & Post publisher earns Diversity in Media Distinguished Leadership Award
Byron Pitts, ABC news anchor and chief national correspondent, has been named the 2014 winner of the Robert G. McGruder Award for Diversity by Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The award recognizes the accomplishments of media professionals who encourage diversity in the field of journalism.
Constance D. Harper, associate publisher and editor of the Cleveland-based Call & Post newspaper, which has editions serving African-American communities throughout Ohio, will be recognized at the annual McGruder luncheon as the 2014 Diversity in Media Distinguished Leadership Award winner.
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication will honor Pitts at an awards luncheon and lecture on Monday, March 31. The annual McGruder Lecture will take place at 11 a.m. at the Kent Student Center Kiva, and is free and open to the public. Pitts will serve as keynote speaker at the lecture. The awards luncheon, by invitation only, will take place at 12:30 p.m.
The luncheon and lecture are co-sponsored by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Kent State’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
The luncheon will include comments by Harper, and special awards will be given to student media representatives who have reported on diversity issues in the past year. Todd Diacon, Kent State’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost; Alfreda Brown, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion; Stan Wearden, dean of the College of Communication and Information; and Thor Wasbotten, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, will speak at the luncheon. Special guest Annette McGruder will be recognized for her continued support of diversity initiatives and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
About Byron Pitts:
Pitts covers national news stories and in-depth features for the ABC network, reporting for all broadcasts and platforms including “Good Morning America,” “World News with Diane Sawyer,” “Nightline,” “This Week” and “20/20.” Pitts also reports for all ABC News digital properties including ABCNews.com.
Pitts is a multiple Emmy award winning journalist known for his thoughtful storytelling, on-the-ground reporting and in-depth interviews. A news veteran with more than 20 years of experience, Pitts has traveled around the world to cover some of the biggest news stories of our time from the Florida Presidential recount to the tsunami in Indonesia and the refugee crisis in Kosovo. With less than 24 hours at ABC News, Pitts participated in live special coverage of the Boston marathon bombing investigation, including the day-long manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers that virtually shut down the city.
Prior to joining ABC News, Pitts spent the last 15 years at CBS News where he recently served as chief national correspondent for “The CBS Evening News” and filed regularly for “60 Minutes,” covering presidential campaigns and political conventions, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the devastating earthquake in Haiti. He also was one of CBS News’ first reporters at Ground Zero during the terror attacks on 9/11, winning an Emmy Award for his coverage. Pitts has received several other prestigious awards for his work including an Emmy Award for his reporting on the Chicago train wreck in 1999, a National Association of Black Journalists Award, four Associated Press Awards and six regional Emmy Awards.
Pitts is a native of Baltimore, Md., and he currently lives in Weehawken, N.J.
About Constance Harper:
Harper is a native Clevelander and a product of the Cleveland Public School system, where she began her career in journalism. She was the editor of both her junior and senior high school newspapers, the Alexander Hamilton Federalist and the John Adams Journal.
A graduate of Central State University, she served as the editor of the college paper and school yearbook for four years. She has done graduate study at the University of Chicago. While teaching in the Cleveland Public Schools, she was the teen editor for the Cleveland Courier, a subsidiary of the Pittsburgh Courier. She left her position as a Cleveland school teacher to become the women's editor of the Call & Post and later became city editor. She was selected as one of two journalists to complete a fellowship in urban studies at the University of Chicago. She remained at the university briefly to work in the Public Affairs Department. She returned to Cleveland to direct the women's committee for Mayor Carl B. Stokes' re-election campaign.
Her next stop was Washington, D.C., where she was public affairs officer for the Leadership Institute for Community Development, a government funded program. While in D.C., her commitment to public service led her to volunteer for Africare, a nonprofit advocacy organization for the nations and people of Africa.
She is secretary of the Greater Cleveland Delta Foundation Life Development Center. She is the author of the popular column, "Constantly Yours," her signature piece that appears in the Call & Post.
Harper has been recognized often for her commitment to the community.
About Robert McGruder:
The late Robert G. McGruder was a 1963 graduate of Kent State and a foundational local figure for diversity in journalism.
He went on from Kent State to become the first black editor of the Daily Kent Stater and first black reporter at The Plain Dealer. McGruder marked several other firsts in his career, becoming the first black president of the Associated Press Managing Editors group and the first black editor of the Detroit Free Press, in 1995 and 1996.
McGruder was a strong proponent for diversity in and out of the newsroom: “Please know that I stand for diversity,” he said once. “I represent the African-Americans, Latinos, Arab-Americans, Asians, Native Americans, gays and lesbians, women and all others we must see represented in our business offices, newsrooms and newspapers.”
Previous award winners include Russ Mitchell, Debra Adams Simmons, Caesar Andrews, Richard Prince, Jannette Dates, Michelle Singletary, Leonard Pitts, Jr., Albert E. Fitzpatrick, David Lawrence, Jr. and Gregory Moore.
For more information about the Robert G. McGruder Award or event, contact Eugene Shelton, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To R.S.V.P. for the luncheon by March 24, contact Darlene Contrucci at 330-672-2623.
For more information about Kent State's School of Journalism and Mass Communication, visit www.kent.edu/jmc.