Television Newscasters

What was newscaster Mal Goode’s importance?

Mal (Malvin) Russell Goode (1908–1995) became the first black network news correspondent for any major television network when he was hired by ABC in 1962. Following that, CBS hired George Foster and Lee Thornton as White House correspondents. Born in White Plains, Virginia, Goode became the first black member of the National Association of Radio and Television News Directors, in 1971. He was well-known for his coverage of civil rights and human rights activities during the 1960s. From his parents, Goode received the dual message of the importance of both work and education. During his youth, and after his family moved to Homestead, Pennsylvania, he worked in the local steel mills to earn enough money to attend the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating from college, Goode had a number of jobs, including serving as manager of a Pittsburgh housing development, which was at the time one of the country’s few racially integrated housing units. He began his career in radio journalism as a commentator for station KQV in Pittsburgh in 1949, moving soon after to station WHOD in Homestead to join his sister, who was a disc jockey there. During this same year, he began work in print journalism by working in the circulation department of the Pittsburgh Courier. His duties and responsibilities expanded at both WHOD and the Courier, and in 1952 he became the station’s news director. When the station closed in 1956, he went to work at a McKeesport, Pennsylvania, station and also sought work at major stations in Pittsburgh, but was unsuccessful. Ten years later he was hired by ABC, based on a recommendation from baseball legend Jackie Robinson and his years of experience. He became nationally known for his coverage of the Cuban missile crisis, when he had major responsibility for reporting United Nations activities. He was one of three journalists chosen by ABC to conduct seminars for African students in 1963. He retired from ABC after twenty years, but remained an ABC consultant. He was a mentor to George Strait and to Bernard Shaw, who followed him as black television journalists.


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