Former Black Journalist Leader Dies

Published February 11, 2008

Posted Dec. 26, 2007- Thomas Morgan III, a respected reporter and editor lauded for his bold guidance of the Black journalists association as well as his “kind and sympathetic and thoughtful” leadership in the newsroom, died last week from an apparent heart attack in Southampton, Mass.

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He was 56. During his many years in the profession, he worked as a reporter and editor at a number of publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Miami Herald.

He served as president of the National Association of Black Journalists from 1989 to 1991 and was the association’s first openly gay president.

As Richard Prince reported in his online column, “Journal-isms,” “…while he did not dwell on his sexual orientation while in office, he later became an inspiration to other [B]lack gay journalists and sat on the board of New York's Gay Men's Health Crisis organization.”

In 2005, Morgan was inducted into the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association's Hall of Fame. At the time of the induction, “Journal-isms” reports, Marcus Mabry, who at the time wrote for Newsweek, said, "There are those ridiculous attempts to divide. What are you [B]lack first or gay first? A human being or a child of God? The dichotomies are ridiculous."

According to Prince, as president, Morgan “expanded its student projects to include a broadcast component, which today is known as NABJ TV, established NABJ ‘Short Courses,’ formalized its fellowships to Africa, and created the NABJ Hall of Fame … Morgan additionally served on the programming committee for the first Unity convention in 1994, an event that boosted NABJ membership.”

When Morgan took over the helm of NABJ in 1989, Prince reports, there were about 1,900 members. That number has nearly doubled.

Written by BET-Staff

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