Reporting While Black II

The West Side of Chicago burned in April 1968 after news of Dr. King's assassination. The Kerner Commission Report a month earlier concluded: "By and large, news organizations have failed to communicate to both their black and white audiences a sense of the problems America faces and the sources of potential solutions. The media report and write from the standpoint of a white man’s world." 

By John W. Fountain

Guilty. I am guilty of driving, walking and breathing while black. And like many of my African-American journalism colleagues, I have also borne, in the heat of the night, the weight of “reporting while black.”

I have carried that weight of the skin I am in. The awareness that there were those who believed that because I am Black I was somehow “less than,” not up to snuff, as a journalist.

Reporting While Black: A Work in Progress

"Reporting While Black"

When I arrived at the Chicago Tribune in fall 1989, I soon discovered, that like myself, many Black reporters were degreed up and interned to the hilt. And yet, we were still deemed incompetent until proven competent. White reporters, some of them with no college degree at all, became national and foreign correspondents, ascended to the paper's top management positions.

Fountain Wins 2021 NABJ Award for Sun-Times Column

A submission of three of John W. Fountain's columns won the 1st Place NABJ "Salute To Excellence" Award for column, newspapers under 100,000. One of them was a nostalgic piece about my beloved K-Town neighbor, Mr. Newell.

Many thanks to editor Paul Saltzman for submitting Fountain's work. He is humbled for the National Association of Black Journalists bestowing upon him this honor.