Diversity champion Dori Maynard remembered as ‘amazing force for good’ in journalism

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By Mallary Jean Tenore, ivoh.org

The journalism world is mourning the loss of Dori J. Maynard, who passed away from lung cancer on Tuesday. She was 56.

Maynard was president of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, which her father co-founded. During her time as president, the institute offered diversity training to journalists around the country and launched programs aimed at empowering community members to tell personal narratives.

“You can hardly put into words how important the work Dori and the Maynard Institute did to train young people of color for careers in journalism and how the institute trained the media to write fair stories about communities of color,” Bob Butler, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, said in a comment on the institute’s website.

Maynard, a member of the Images & Voices of Hope community, spoke at ivoh’s 2012 summit. During her talk, she shared thoughts about why it’s so important for journalists to tell stories that more accurately reflect minorities.

“Content audit after content audit has shown that African Americans are shown primarily in stories about crime, sports and entertainment. And in fact the link in some journalists’ mind between African Americans and crime is so intertwined that in some cases, it’s almost reflexive,” Maynard said at the summit. “This isn’t just an issue for African Americans. Content audits have found that Latinos are found really only in episodic coverage of immigration.” Native Americans and Asian Americans, she said, are often “nonexistent” in media coverage.

Maynard went on to say that she was encouraged by newsrooms and journalists who wanted to help change that reality.

Maynard had a true passion for journalism and good storytelling. In fact, according to the San Jose Mercury News, she used to tell people that her middle initial “J” stood for “Journalism.”

Today, she is being remembered for all that she did to improve and support the profession she loved.

“Dori was an amazing force for good in journalism,” Dawn Garcia, managing director of the Knight Fellowships at Stanford University told the Mercury News. “She was the voice that must be heard.”

Images & Voices of Hope (ivoh),  is a nonprofit organization working to strengthen the role of media as agents of world benefit. The organization supports a global community of journalists, documentary filmmakers, photographers, gamers, and others in media who want to effect positive change through their work. 

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