AEJMC Trailblazers of Diversity – Barbara Hines

AEJMC Trailblazers of Diversity in Journalism Education

Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication

School of Journalism

University of Texas at Austin

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Interview Subject: Barbara Hines
Interview date:

Number of Recorded Segments: 3
Interview length: 00:41:37
Language: English
Reviewer: Trent Boulter
Date of review for index: 11/24/14

Early Experiences in Journalism:
0:00 – 1:30 Introductions and preamble
Rochelle Ford is interviewing Dr. Barbara Hines
0:45 As a young child I loved to write and wherever we were I would write and journals. My father was military so we did move around quite a bit and we were encouraged to write. We were encouraged to read. In my home everyone read the newspaper whether we would discuss things that were in the newspaper at dinnertime. I got very involved in journalism when I was in high school in both Texas and in Maryland. I was interested in the business side to start out with, and then evolved to the editorial side and became the editor of my high school newspaper. I think everybody has some stories about how they began but my interest was forged really in high school.

1:45 Were there any particular news media that you consumed in your high school as you were thinking about journalism?

1:50 Well, absolutely newspapers were king at the time. I remember when, as a child, when we got a television. That will date me, but in my home it was a very small picture in seemingly a cardboard box. But basically newspapers and magazines. I was a print person.
2:13 When did you become aware of the need for diversity in media?

2:18 I actually noticed that probably in college, working on the daily Texan at the University of Texas at Austin, that we did not have a lot of different different voices. There were a lot of people like me. Blonde, Caucasian, even though we’re in Ausin, Texas with a heavy Hispanic population, and a good African American population. I would hear people talking about different opinions and different views, and I wondered why more people weren’t interested, because I thought everybody had the opportunities to participate in the things that they were interested in. Because I’d had a very diverse childhood, and I grew up thinking that everybody had similar opportunities. And that really wasn’t true

3:23 What types of stories did you report on and edit and that you felt really helped perpetuate the cause of diversity?

3:36 Most of my early stories were neighborhood stories. Again working at the daily Texan, I was one of the four editors of the daily Texan at the time. It was broken up so the there was an editor every day because of the daily nature paper. When I was writing again, they were communities stories and trying to show that there were things that everyone can participate in that weren’t just things that were only open to one group or one class. I’m not so sure that at the time I realized that I was trying to consciously write about diversity. I don’t know that I became more aware of that until later in my career, and that probably came when I was a public school teacher in Prince George’s County Maryland.

4:43 I’m sort of jumping over another career, but where I was teaching high school journalism and speech at Parkdale high school in Prince George’s County. The Prince George’s County schools were segregated to a great deal. And there was a major loss will suit and we had students who were being bussed throughout the county by court order. It all happened fairly quickly. It was back in the 70s and I realized then that the students that were coming into the school hadn’t had the kind of opportunities. So I kind of encouraged them and tried to get them to work on newspaper and encourage them and get them involved in with the yearbook, try to get them involved in the state Scholastic press Association so that they could go out and compete with schools and students that were attending majority white institutions or students that were attending the high-performing public schools. Versus the public schools of the public schools they might’ve come from or represented.

5:58 So it wasn’t a conscious effort I don’t think, until I started teaching there, and then I as I started to migrate over to the University of Maryland at College Park, I was recruited to teach there and after a year ended up becoming the assistant Dean of the College of journalism. And as part of my duties I worked to develop an internship program, and again at that time College Park was not very diverse. And there was an organization started called the task force on minorities in the news business, because colleges and universities around the country were seeing that the media industry was not diverse. And so colleges and universities were looking at ways that they could partner with industry organizations and try to build a better representation of people who were working in the industry.

7:06 There were organization like the Dow Jones newspaper fund the newspaper the American newspaper publishers Association. This was before NABJ and NAHJ or the Native American or the Asian-American Journalism Associations. So there were lots of groups that came together to work to try to increase people of color in the news business. And not just people working the business, but the representation of really a rainbow community. Being able to see that.

7:49 So I spent a lot of time working on that and that sort of led to creating high school journalism workshops at College Park, and working with organizations that did things for use in the community. And I spent seven years there before Lee Barrow who was Dean here at the school of communications asked me if I would be interested in coming to teach at Howard. And I’ve been in administration at College Park, and the notion of being able to go back into the classroom full-time was very exciting. And so I moved over to Howard University. And they give me the opportunity to teach a full schedule, which I did for a number of years, but then gradually got back into administration.

8:55 But as part of that I was in a whole different environment. I was in an HBCu. And I didn’t know what an HBCU was, quite frankly, as a blonde who would been educated in the South, really have had a very narrow education and understanding of the different institutions that have been created. I was looking at a certain niche, a certain kind of institution. And the more that I was at the University and the more that I saw what the vision was for HBCUs and the need for HBCUs, as are led me into other activities.

9:42 For 18 years she ran the leadership youth academy at Howard University (summer Journalism workshop and eventually advertising workshop) with support from the Knight Foundation to bring in students provide them with help.

10:30 Started a similar program at College Park with the Baltimore Sun. It was designed to….(Started over at 10:50)

10:50 At College Park they started a scholars program with the Baltimore Sun helping minorities from Maryland high schools get a scholarship to school and an internship with the Baltimore Sun to prepare them to enter the industry. Mentions a few of the success stories from the program and the purposes of the program.

12:45 Talked about how she became aware of the issues of minorities in media. Starting in Austin, then visiting with a Senator, before heading to Washington to work in Senator Yarborrow’s office. He was interested in helping people have a voice, and took me under his wing. She became his “one-woman-army” and he introduced her that way to many people including Cesar Chavez, Ted Kennedy, and others.

16:10 She worked for him and wrote his statements and ghosted numerous articles. She had opportunities to continue her interest in news, education, and other issues. The Senator encouraged her to continue her education and she started to date someone she had known in high school. They eventually married.

17:45 She was offered a position in Prince George’s County and the Senator lost his re-election. So after his last day she started teaching.

19:21 Throughout her jobs she was very involved in the media, got a Master’s degree at American University, and never thought she would get a PhD. She watched people getting PhD’s and decided she needed to use the tuition benefits and just do it.

20:20 Throughout that experience she met people in education and media and became involved with internship programs and press associations allowing her the opportunity to diversify.

20:50 By diversifying the type of work she was doing widened her opportunities to meet people. It wasn’t a conscious choice or event, but it just happened.

21:45 It was the way she was raised. She didn’t know she was a minority until the first day of one of her classes when a student asked her what she was doing there. She was assigned a communications class and a student asked why she wanted to teach “with all these black people”. She responded by saying that it didn’t matter. It was an opportunity to come, teach, work with different people.

23:30 At that time the College Park Campus wasn’t that welcoming to women. Most were white males in positions of authority. And was even counseled to stay in administration because she “would never be given tenure as a faculty member”. And in the back of her mind she said, “Well, I’ll show you.” It was that mindset that not everyone had the same opportunities.

24:45 Two years after she left College Park, there was a class action lawsuit on behalf of the women faculty regarding issues of promotions and other things. So it wasn’t something that a lot of people talked about, but she experienced it. That is another reason she was so excited to have the opportunity to teach again at Howard University.

26:01 She really tried to push her students out of their comfort zone and look outside the box, and take opportunities regardless of where it was located.

27:40 She tried to push herself to be part of as many organizations as might benefit her students, as well as attending conferences where people were doing different types of research that might provide a different perspective. And she recommended that same practice to her colleagues.

29:07 When dealing with the graduate program and the research agenda provided unique challenges that were different from other areas. She discovered that many people were set in their ways and didn’t have an open mind. There were opportunities to work with universities overseas in order to find different perspectives.

30:35 The blessing and the curse of working at Howard University in Washington DC is there are so many opportunities that you can be overwhelmed. You have to balance those things and set some boundaries. Those opportunities include visiting the White House, Legislature, meeting foreign dignitaries, etc., and you want make sure that you help your students pick the right opportunities.

32:15 The agenda that she espoused in leadership positions- Starting with PRSA, she enjoyed being involved in building the diversity of that organization and the industry they represent. Early memory about a workshop for a Washington PR firm that an old high school student worked for. In AEJMC there are divisions and commissions devoted to equal opportunities where I try to ask a lot of questions and work behind the scenes to ensure that things are equal. She doesn’t consider herself a special leader in any specific organization, but “just a good soldier”.

36:55 She feels there is a serious concern about the way the society is becoming a product of technology. They don’t spend as much time thinking or talking. Things are centered around technology and equal representation in those industries is “abysmal”. She doesn’t see as much of a push to improve things there either.

38:15 She feels that the NABJ and NAHJ are struggling because the industry is struggling due to a news and broadcast focus. As the industry evolves, with new organizations, she worries about the opportunities for people in a communications specific position. Communication, especially among the young is dying. They would rather text someone in the room than talk to them. And that’s a problem. We have to understand how people think and believe, and you don’t get that from texting.

40:23 Even working as a supervisor, she finds that students have a hard time actually communicating in person. And she’s concerned that’s going to affect our society.

40:52 She wants to make sure that everyone has the opportunities. “I don’t know the answer, yet, of how to ensure that as our world becomes so much more technology oriented. But I know in my heart, that we’ve still got to be able to talk and reason, and think quickly on our feet and be able to able to write so that people can understand. That’s never going to go away, and we’ve got to be able to do it well.”

AEJMC Trailblazers of Diversity

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