Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rest in Peace, Dori

On Tuesday, I lost someone who was more than a journalism colleague. She also was a mentor and a dear friend.

Dori J. Maynard, president of the Robert C. Maynard institute for Journalism Education and longtime champion of diversity in journalism and civic life, died at her West Oakland, California, home. She was 56; The cause of her death was complications from lung cancer.

"Maynard advocated tirelessly for the future of the institute and its programs, reminding all that the work of bringing the diverse voices of America into news and public discourse is more vital than ever," wrote Richard Prince in his column for the Maynard Institute. "Under her leadership, the Institute has trained some of the top journalists in the country and helped newsrooms tell more inclusive and nuanced stories. New programs are empowering community members to voice the narrative of their own lives. On the morning of her death, she was discussing plans with a board member to help the institute thrive and to attract funding to support that work."

This is such shocking and sad news. I can honestly say I feel like a piece of me is gone.

As a former city editor for the Oakland Tribune - the paper her father, Robert C. Maynard, was once publisher of, and a past fellow of the Maynard Media Academy at Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, I came to know Dori as a kind, soft spoken, yet vibrant journalist. We grew closer in the years following her husband's death in 2008 and were proud to share a birthday week together.

Each semester, I introduce my students at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications to the Maynard Institute Fault Lines - an innovative diversity training program, which "teaches participants how to leverage workplace diversity into a better connection with a company's audience and increased productivity." Ironically, that particular class will be this Monday.

I will truly miss the conversations we used to have about media and life in general and the work we did together on the Chauncey Bailey Project. I am honored to have been part of such an important part of journalism history and to share this with Dori and the others who became one of my journalism "families."

Dori J. Maynard was a woman who was in a league of her own and deserves all the accolades, honor and respect she has and undoubtedly will continue to receive.

Thank you, Dori, for our wisdom, support and friendship. I love you ... Rest in Peace. 

Learn more at http://mije.org.

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