Nancy Hicks Maynard, a pioneer in newsroom diversity and co-founder with her late husband Robert C. Maynard (and seven other journalists), of the Institute for Journalism Education, died recently at UCLA’s Medical Center. She was 61.
Hicks, who had been in ill health for some time, died of multiple organ failures, according to a statement released by her family.
A native of New York City, Maynard graduated from Long Island University, and in 1968 became one of the first African American women hired by The New York Times. She worked on the metro staff and later in the Washington bureau.
Prior to her years at The Times, Maynard worked at The New York Post, first as a copy editor while she finished her journalism degree, and then as a staff reporter in 1966. At 21, she may have been the youngest reporter at a New York daily.
She met her future husband, then a writer for The Washington Post, while working in the Washington bureau of The Times. She attended a gathering of prominent African American journalists at his home in D.C. to discuss strategies for opening newspaper jobs for minorities.
They wed in 1975, and in 1977 left their respective jobs to launch a nonprofit organization that would operate a summer program training minority journalists at the University of California at Berkeley.
That morphed into the Maynard Institute, which began operating one year later. Its focus was to train minority reporters, editors and media managers. Nancy was the institute’s first president and served on its board until 2002.
From there the Maynards went on to own The Oakland Tribune. When they bought the paper from Gannett, it became the only major metropolitan daily to have ever been black-owned.
Maynard is survived by her mother Eve Keller; sister Barbara Guest; brother Al Hall; sons David and Alex Maynard; daughter Dori J. Maynard; and her partner Jay T. Harris.