Dori J. Maynard, who promoted diversity in newsrooms as the president of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, died of lung cancer in her California home on Feb. 24. She was 56.
After a career as a reporter for the Detroit Free Press, the Bakersfield Californian and The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Mass., Maynard became president of the Maynard Institute in 2001. The institute was founded in 1977 by her father, Robert C. Maynard. Maynard and his wife, Nancy Hicks Maynard, became the first African Americans to own a major city newspaper when they purchased the Oakland Tribune in 1983.
At the Maynard Institute, Dori Maynard launched programs to educate journalists about overcoming biases when covering diverse communities. She held the press accountable for its portrayals of people of color. When unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin was shot to death in Florida in 2012, she wrote in the Oakland Tribune that it was time for the news media “to look at what our distorted coverage of communities of color is doing to the country.”
“Dori was an amazing force for good in journalism,” said Dawn Garcia, managing editor of the Knight Fellowships at Stanford University. “When others were shying away from speaking about race, Dori was fearless.”
Dori Maynard and her father were the first father-daughter duo to be named to the prestigious Nieman Fellows program at Harvard University, 27 years apart. A display in the Newseum’s News Corporation News History Gallery includes a pen and inbox used by Robert C. Maynard.