Malvin Goode: first black news correspondent for a major TV network

Theodora Aidoo Mar 19, 2020 at 10:00am

March 19, 2020 at 10:00 am | History, Opinions & Features, Success Story

Theodora Aidoo

Theodora Aidoo | Staff Writer

March 19, 2020 at 10:00 am | History, Opinions & Features, Success Story

Pic Credit: aaregistry.org

Malvin Russell Goode is a trailblazer in Broadcast Journalism. He became the first African American news correspondent for a major television network.

Born on February 13, 1908, in White Plains, Virginia, Goode was the third of four boys and two girls. As a young boy, his family moved to Homestead, Pennsylvania where Goode attended public school.

Young Goode started working at U.S. Steel’s Homestead Mill where his father was employed while he was in high school.

Goode would later receive a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1931. After graduation, he continued to work at the mill as jobs were difficult to come by during the Great Depression.

In 1936 Goode left the Homestead Mill and became a probation officer for Pittsburgh’s juvenile court. He went on to work at Pittsburgh’s Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).

He married Mary Lavelle on September 26, 1936 and they had six children. By 1942 he had become the manager of the Pittsburgh Housing Authority, a post he held for six years.

At 40, Goode became a journalist. He was employed as a reporter for the Pittsburgh Courier and soon became a radio broadcaster in 1949, working for Pittsburgh’s AM radio station KQV and doing 15-minute news shows.

Malvin Russell Goode
Pic Credit: postnewsgroup.com

Goode also worked for WHOD TV station where he anchored a five-minute daily news show. He excelled at his journalistic career that in 1952 he was named the station’s news director becoming the first African-American member of the National Association of Radio and Television News Directors.

At the age of 54, Goode was hired by ABC Television News as its United Nations reporter in New York City.

He became the first black network news correspondent, a position which was created when baseball player Jackie Robinson publicly complained to ABC executives about the lack of black reporters.

Goode’s first major assignment was covering the Cuban Missile Crisis that involved the U.S., the Soviet Union, and Cuba. His coverage of the crisis earned him the respect of his colleagues and he became a celebrity among the black community.

In 1963 along with other black colleagues, Goode traveled abroad and for two months, he helped teach journalism to over one hundred students in various seminars in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Ethiopia.

In 1965, Goode covered the assassination of Malcolm X and the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in 1968.

Goode worked with ABC until his retirement in 1973. After retirement, he continued working for the National Black Network, covering the United Nations and politics through the 1980s.

He was a member of many organizations including the Association of Radio-TV Analysts, the National Association of Radio and TV News Directors, and the United Nations Correspondents Association where he served as president in 1972.

During his remarkable career, he had many awards including “Man of the Year” by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the Mary McLeod Bethune Award from Bethune-Cookman College, the Michelle Clark Award from the Columbia University School of Journalism, and an award from the Polish Government through the United Nations in 1972.

Goode died of stroke on September 12, 1995, at the age of 87 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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