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Newsroom Diversity Advocate Dori Maynard Dies At 56

Maynard dedicated her life toward a legacy of social justice in journalism.

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Dori Maynard, a veteran journalist well known for championing diversity in the newsroom, died of lung cancer-related complications on Tuesday night at her home in West Oakland, California. She was 56 years old.

Dori Maynard, an advocate for diversity in journalism passes away at 56.

ThaAmazingOutlaw@outlaw961Follow

Dori Maynard, an advocate for diversity in journalism passes away at 56.

10:14 AM - 25 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Since 2001, Maynard served as president of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.

The Oakland-based organization was co-founded by and named after her father in 1977, and encourages news organizations to expand their coverage of overlooked communities.

She was also a board member of the American Society for News Editors, and made frequent appearances as a panelist for various journalism conferences. Maynard advocated for increased diversity within newsrooms, as well as nuanced ways of telling stories.

At a time when many in the journalism world did not question the white male-dominated industry (and the nature of stories that came out of it, as a result), Dori Maynard spoke freely about the relationship between social justice and the media.

The video below was recorded during a discussion at the 2013 Journalism and Women's Symposium in Vermont. She was speaking on the importance of recognizing intersectional feminism as journalists.

View this video on YouTube

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"I think that there is an opportunity here for us to begin to look at what feminism looks like across race and across class, and to have a really robust conversation about how we as women can support each other across these fault lines, and create this movement," she said.

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She also used her platform to discuss the influence that reporting has on public policy, particularly when the focus is on poor, black neighborhoods. Here she is explaining those issues at a 2010 Associated Press Media Editors event.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

"If you continue to target neighborhoods that don't include those populations, you're going to continue to get a very skewed view of our country and of our fellow citizens," she said. "And that will continue to play out in our public policy."

Dori Maynard was born on May 4, 1958. She attended Middlebury College in Vermont, where she earned a degree in American History, and then worked as a journalist at newspapers in Detroit; Bakersfield, California; and Quincy, Massachusetts.

In 1992, Dori Maynard received a Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard. Her father, Robert Maynard, was given the same award in 1965. They are the only father-daughter pair to win the prize.

Robert Maynard died the following year, also at 56 years old. That was when Dori joined the institute, first as an editor of her father's archived newspaper columns. She became the president in 2001.

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An outpouring of condolences and memories of Dori Maynard followed news of her death on social media.

Dori, in her quiet, resolute way, created this deep foundation for journalism in news, created a well that many of us now drink from.

Latoya Peterson@LatoyaPetersonFollow

Dori, in her quiet, resolute way, created this deep foundation for journalism in news, created a well that many of us now drink from.

10:13 AM - 25 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@Sulliview I'm a product of Maynard's summer program at UC-Berkeley in the days of Bob Maynard and Nancy Hicks. Dori was just as committed.

Mireya Navarro@MireyawritesFollow

@Sulliview I'm a product of Maynard's summer program at UC-Berkeley in the days of Bob Maynard and Nancy Hicks. Dori was just as committed.

10:02 AM - 25 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Dori Maynard's passion for diversity in journalism lives on through all those she touched, me included. #mediadiversity

Val Hoeppner@vhoeppnerFollow

Dori Maynard's passion for diversity in journalism lives on through all those she touched, me included. #mediadiversity

8:43 AM - 25 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

I never met Dori Maynard, but my heart hurts today. We are losing our giants. Let's hope that they trained us well enough to replace them.

Jamil Smith@JamilSmithFollow

I never met Dori Maynard, but my heart hurts today. We are losing our giants. Let's hope that they trained us well enough to replace them.

8:54 AM - 25 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Dori was both East Coast and West Coast, both black and white, both high society and of the people. She was everything.

Latoya Peterson@LatoyaPetersonFollow

Dori was both East Coast and West Coast, both black and white, both high society and of the people. She was everything.

10:21 AM - 25 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

According to a statement prepared by the institute, "On the morning of her death, she was discussing plans with a board member to help the institute thrive and to attract funding to support that work."

Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based Nairobi, Kenya.

Contact Tamerra Griffin at tamerra.griffin@buzzfeed.com.

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