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OBITUARIES : Nancy H. Maynard, 1946 - 2008

Reporter helped train minorities

September 22, 2008|Jon Thurber | Times Staff Writer

Nancy Hicks Maynard, a pioneer in newsroom diversity who was a co-founder of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education and later helped her husband run the Oakland Tribune for nearly a decade, died Sunday at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was 61.

Maynard died of multiple organ failure, her family said in a statement. She had been in failing health for some time.

Founded in 1978, the Maynard Institute has been a leading force in training minority journalists for America's newsrooms. According to the institute, thousands of its graduates have gone on to work at the nation's leading newspapers, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.

A native of New York City, Maynard was born Nov. 1, 1946. She graduated from Long Island University and, in 1968, was one of the first black women to be hired by the New York Times. She worked on the metro staff and later with the Washington bureau, covering major stories, including Robert F. Kennedy's funeral, campus unrest at Columbia and Cornell universities, the Apollo space missions and the congressional passage of Title IX, the federal law that banned sex discrimination in education programs.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, September 27, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 41 words Type of Material: Correction
Nancy Hicks Maynard obituary: The news obituary of journalist Nancy Hicks Maynard in Monday's California section reported that she covered Robert F. Kennedy's funeral; she did not. The obituary also listed Dori J. Maynard as her daughter. She is her stepdaughter.

Outspoken and active regarding the need to integrate newsrooms, she met her future husband, Robert C. Maynard, a writer for the Washington Post, at a gathering of journalists at his home in Washington to discuss strategy for opening up newspaper jobs for minority journalists.

They were married in 1975 and left their jobs in 1977 to launch a nonprofit initially known as the Institute for Journalism Education. The institute operated a summer program at UC Berkeley to train minority reporters. That early work led to the founding of the Maynard Institute by a group of journalists, including the Maynards, a year later. The charismatic Robert Maynard was the first chairman of the institute's board, and Nancy Maynard was the institute's first president, handling the day-to-day operations.

"Her leadership was really significant in the early development of the institute," said Steve Montiel, who directs the Institute for Justice and Journalism at USC and is still a board member at the Maynard Institute. "She understood power and was able to get leaders in the industry . . . to make commitments" to hire the institute's graduates and other minority journalists.

In 1979, Robert Maynard went on to become editor of the Oakland Tribune and in 1983 became the paper's owner and publisher. Nancy Maynard would join her husband in running the Tribune, holding the positions of senior vice president and deputy publisher. Though the paper improved editorially, it struggled financially and, in 1992, was sold.

After her husband's death from cancer in 1993, Maynard concentrated on consulting and book publishing.

She is survived by her companion, Jay T. Harris of Santa Monica; sons David Maynard of Los Angeles and Alex Maynard of Oakland; and daughter Dori J. Maynard of Oakland, the current president of the Maynard Institute. She is also survived by her mother and a sister.

Services are pending.

Contributions may be made to the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, 1211 Preservation Parkway, Oakland, CA 94612.


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