(From the Associated Press) Dori J. Maynard, a journalist and champion of diversity in news coverage, died Tuesday at her Oakland home, the journalism education institute she presided said. She was 56.
The Oakland-based Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education confirmed Maynard’s death in a brief statement posted on its website. It didn’t give a cause of death.
“Dori was an amazing force for good in journalism,” Dawn Garcia, managing director of the Knight Fellowships at Stanford University, told the San Jose Mercury News. Maynard served of the Knight board. “She was the voice that must be heard.”
“When others were shying away from speaking about race, Dori was fearless. She made an amazing difference for so many people,” Garcia added.
The daughter of Robert C. Maynard, the former owner of the Oakland Tribune, Dori Maynard was herself a journalist, working at the Detroit Free Press, the Bakersfield Californian, and The Patriot Ledger, in Quincy, Mass.
Along with her father, she was a Neiman scholar at Harvard University in 1993. At the time of her death, she was still the president of the Oakland-based Maynard Institute, the nation’s oldest organization focusing on ensuring newspapers, magazines and other news outlets accurately portray overlooked communities.
In 2013, she penned an opinion column for the Tribune in the wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, saying that media looking for explanations of America’s ongoing racial struggle should look at themselves.
“It’s time for us to look at what our distorted coverage of communities of color is doing to the country,” Maynard wrote. “It’s time for us to look at whether we’re meeting our ethical obligation to give our audience factual and credible information necessary to make rational decisions in its private life and about public policies.”
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, the institute said.
“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.”