By Nicole Webb
WASHINGTON – A member of Lincoln’s Class of 1970 was honored this weekend by the nation’s premiere organization for African American journalists.
On Thursday, January 17, The Newseum, Washington D.C.’s News Museum, hosted the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame Induction ceremony where one of Lincoln University’s alumni, Jay Harris, was honored for his work in journalism.
Harris is known for his quality of work in journalism, as well as his belief in promoting diversity in the journalism field.
In 1978, he designed the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ annual national census of minority employment in daily newspapers, with the intent of assisting young African American journalists in their professions.
“Jay [inspired] them to get into their careers,” said Reginald Stuart, a corporate recruiter and friend of Harris.
During the 1984 election, Harris was praised for his coverage on Jesse Jackson, as he influenced other young African American journalists to pursue political activism in journalism.
At the peak of his career, Harris served as the chairman and publisher of the San Jose Mercury News, from 1994 to 2001. During his years as publisher, the newspaper publication gained national recognition for its quality in reporting, becoming one of the top ten newspapers in the country by The Columbia Journalism Review.
“[He,] for a long time, had been the person in newspaper management that many of us looked at and said ‘That’s the way to do it’,” said Bryan Monroe, editor of CNNpolitics.com and former NABJ president.
“The work that he did in diversity at Northwestern [University,] in Chicago, will go down as the bench mark for how diversity will be measured [in journalism.]”
While in San Francisco, Harris previously served on the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Harris, currently, is a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board of Directors and the National Advisory Board of the Potyner Institute. He also is the chairman at the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California.
He is noted as a man “completely devoted to excellence” by Mierielle Grangenous, publisher of the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Mr. Harris was a previous member of The Lincolnian Student News Publication, serving as Editor-in-Chief during his years here at Lincoln. He received an honorary doctorate’s degree from Lincoln University for his outstanding work in journalism and he is also a member of the Lincoln University Beta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi.