It was always a treat to watch Ed Bradley work. Whenever the late, broadcast icon conducted one of his compelling interviews on 60 Minutes, I was glued to the tube. He found humanity in a story on a death-row inmate, provided depth to a celebrity profile and unraveled new layers when reporting on a world leader. His consistently professional, poised performance at the national level served as powerful motivation for young, ambitious Black journalists. His example continues to be a source of admiration and aspiration.
To pay tribute to Bradley and other African American media trailblazers, I attended the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame Gala last week. The black-tie affair brought out a bevy of prominent journalists and power players like political commentator Roland Martin (complete with his trademark ascot), NPR talk show host Michel Martin, MNSBC anchor Tamron Hall, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, whose late father-in-law, legendary columnist Vernon Jarrett helped found NABJ 35 years ago. It was the first such event honoring achievements of African Americans to be held at the Newseum, the tech-driven center of journalistic history.
Bradley was recognized with six others: broadcast pioneers Ray Taliaferro, Merri Dee and Jacqueline "JC" Hayward, as well as newspaper veteran Walterene "Walt" Swanston and award-winning political columnist Eugene Robinson. Beyond paying homage to their groundbreaking achievements, the event offered valuable life lessons from the honorees. â€”Derek T. Dingle