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Former St. Pete Times columnist Peggy Peterman posthumously selected for black journalists Hall of Fame

Peterman_plaque_photo The National Association of Black Journalists has named former St. Petersburg Times columnist Peggy Peterman to their Hall of Fame for her contributions to diversity in media and civil rights issues.

Mrs. Peterman, who retired from the paper in 1996, passed away at age 67 after a struggle with heart disease in 2004.

She was always an inspiration for journalists of color at the newspaper, earning her first job at the newspaper in 1965, after writing a lettter to the St. Petersburg Times complaining about how her 5-day-old son had to endure discrimination from a local diaper service and kids photographer.

She would eventually carve out a 31-year career at the newspaper, ranging across work as a reporter, columnist and editorial writer, mentoring young black journalists who would go on to work at news outlets across the country. She also led a local black history pageant and served as a minister, carrying her influence beyond journalism directly to the community.

PeggyPetermanatherdesk Mrs. Peterman was always a personal inspiration as well, warmly welcoming me as a newbie journalist at the Times in 1995, despite the fact she already was an institution here.

I've always felt strongly that pioneers like Mrs. Peterman paved the way for the Barack Obamas of the world, urging the community to see issues of race in new and fairer ways so they were ready when a talented, qualified politician with a funny name and dark skin was on the ballot.

The NABJ will officially induct Mrs. Peterman during a banquet Aug. 7 during its national convention in Tampa at the Tampa Convention Center. The Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists will continue the celebration that evening during a fundraising party at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. The NABJ's national convention will be held from Aug. 5 to 9 at the Tampa Convention Center.

The celebration at the Times starts right now.

Click below to read the official release from the NABJ:


Nabj30 National Association of Black Journalists Announces 2009 Hall of Fame Inductees
Peggy Peterman, Earl Caldwell, Lynn Norment and Larry Whiteside to be honored at annual ceremony

WASHINGTON, D.C. April 27, 2009 --The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) will induct four outstanding journalists who made integral contributions to journalism and civil rights into its Hall of Fame at a ceremony to be held on Friday, August 7, 2009 at the 2009 NABJ Annual Convention and Career Fair in Tampa.

“These remarkable individuals endured great challenges so that black journalists today can have more freedom and professional opportunity,” said NABJ President Barbara Ciara. “As Hall of Fame inductees, their memory and accomplishments will be preserved and passed on to future generations.”

The NABJ Hall of Fame inductees were named at the organization’s April Board of Directors meeting in Tampa. The inductees are:

Peggy Peterman  - St. Petersburg Times (Florida); (posthumous)

The 1989 NABJ Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Peterman spent 31 years in the newsroom of the St. Petersburg Times where she was a groundbreaking reporter, columnist and editorial writer. Peterman’s impact on the community stretched far beyond words. She generously devoted her time to the St. Petersburg community, where among many other activities she founded and directed a black history pageant, mentored young journalists and became a minister late in life. Peterman made it her ambition to help the public understand who and what the African-American family and culture was all about. After 20 years in news features, in 1994, she joined the Times editorial board and wrote about social, international and children’s issues. A scholarship at Florida A&M University is named in her honor. Peterman retired from the newspaper in 1996 and died in 2004 at the age of 67.

Earl Caldwell – Reporter and early Civil Rights Activist (New York)

As a reporter, Caldwell documented the Black Panthers from the inside in the 1970s, and became embroiled in a key Supreme Court decision clarifying reporters’ rights when the FBI tried to press Caldwell to be an informant. His career with The New York Times, New York Daily News and other papers spans more than four decades. He is also a founding member of the steering committee of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, as well as the Washington-based Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Caldwell witnessed and chronicled some of the most important civil rights events of the past 40 years and was the only reporter present when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. As a writer-in-residence, Caldwell is writing “The Caldwell Journals,” a serialized account of the black journalist movement spawned by the 1960s civil rights movement. 

Lynn Norment – Editor, EBONY Magazine (Chicago)

Norment has written and edited for EBONY Magazine in Chicago since 1977. She has worked to guide young journalists while bringing objective, endearing reporting of the nation’s black artists and entertainers to EBONY readers for three decades. A native of Bolivar, Tenn., who helped de-segregate her local high school, Norment went on to receive a full scholarship at Memphis State University. Her writing talent and leadership traits were quickly evident to EBONY, which hired her after just two freelance assignments. Rising to the rank of managing editor, Norment has helped the sixty-year-old magazine to maintain a fresh voice and embrace new media, making her a well-respected leader in the industry. She has held numerous leadership positions for NABJ including chairperson for the 1997 Convention in Chicago which was attended by President Bill Clinton; chairperson for the 25th Anniversary; and a former vice-chair of the NABJ A&E Task Force.

Larry Whiteside – Reporter, The Boston Globe (Boston), (posthumous)

Whiteside, a 1999 NABJ Lifetime Achievement Award Winner and 2008 National Baseball Hall of Fame writer inductee, was the first African-American beat sports writer for The Boston Globe. Whiteside was also only the third African-American recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, given by the Baseball Writers' Association of America in 2008. Whiteside covered the Red Sox from 1973 to 1994, chronicling some of the team’s most notable moments in baseball history. He was an expert on Negro league baseball and one of the first sports writers to track baseball’s international play. "Sides” made four trips to Japan and two to Australia covering the sport. Whiteside started with the Kansas City Kansan in 1959. He moved on to the Milwaukee Journal to cover the Milwaukee Braves and Brewers as well as civil rights issues in the ‘60s. In 1971, Whiteside started The Black List to help sports editors find qualified black journalists to hire. Whiteside died in 2004 at the age of 69.

The NABJ Hall of Fame Banquet will also recognize Lawrence Kaggwa of Howard University as the organization’s Journalism Educator of the Year; Jamisha Purdy, also of Howard University, as its Student Journalist of the Year; and Leon Carter and Sandy Rosenbush of the Sports Journalism Institute, as recipient of the associations’ Legacy Award.

The NABJ Hall of Fame Awards recognizes black journalists who have made outstanding contributions to the journalism profession. Past inductees include Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Dubois, John H. Johnson and Charlayne Hunter Gault. Last year’s class consisted of Charlie Cobb, Belva Davis, Vernon Jarrett and Les Payne.

The NABJ Convention is the largest gathering of minority journalists in the country. The NABJ Hall of Fame Inductions and Banquet will take place at the 2009 NABJ Annual Convention and Career Fair, August 5-9 in Tampa. For more information go to www.nabj.org.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:57pm]

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