My Times in Black and White: Race and Power at the New York Times [NOOK Book]

Overview

A rags-to-riches story of the climb from urban poverty to the New York Times, this insider’s view of struggle and change at the nation’s premier newspaper reconstructs the most controversial period in the paper’s history and records how journalists reported and edited the biggest events of the past two decades. A candid discussion on race, this memoir is the inspirational story of a man who covered presidents, documented extraordinary social and cultural challenges, led his team to an unprecedented number of ...

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My Times in Black and White: Race and Power at the New York Times

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Overview

A rags-to-riches story of the climb from urban poverty to the New York Times, this insider’s view of struggle and change at the nation’s premier newspaper reconstructs the most controversial period in the paper’s history and records how journalists reported and edited the biggest events of the past two decades. A candid discussion on race, this memoir is the inspirational story of a man who covered presidents, documented extraordinary social and cultural challenges, led his team to an unprecedented number of Pulitzers, stumbled disastrously during an unjust scandal, and in the end discovered the true value of his life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Boyd's appointment to the role of managing editor of the New York Times in 2001 made him the first African-American to hold one of the paper's top two editing positions, and his leadership helped the Times garner numerous Pulitzers. But colleagues found him gruff and imposing—a perception he attributed to racial bias—and he was forced to resign after a young reporter named Jayson Blair was caught plagiarizing and fabricating stories in 2003. In this memoir, Boyd, who died in 2006, comes across as a relentlessly ambitious man who overcame poverty, racism, and a rocky personal life to become one of the most powerful newsmen of his day. Unfortunately, Boyd proves to be a merely competent narrator: the prose is smooth but lacks flair, and the vignettes themselves are disappointingly dry. The notable exception is the treatment of the Blair scandal: Boyd's blow-by-blow is animated by indignation and gives a rare glimpse into the rancorous world of newsroom politics. Although as a source of objective truth the memoir is more suspect than a news story, Boyd's perspective is crucial to understanding the crisis that unfolded at the Times in 2003. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
Posthumous memoir of the first African-American managing editor of the New York Times. Boyd (1950-2006) was the youngest child in a poor St. Louis family, and his young mother died when he was three. The subsequent departure of his father caused the feelings of "fatalism" that would saturate his early adulthood. Raised by his stern yet loving grandmother, Boyd sought guidance and protection from his older brother, a cousin and, during his teens, the Coopers, a compassionate Jewish family. Through forced bussing and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Boyd emerged impassioned by writing and was awarded a scholarship to the University of Missouri, along with a copyboy job at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. As his confidence and professional acumen grew-along with his awareness of "openly racist attitudes and slights"-he fell in love with and married Sheila, a fellow writer. Though the marriage dissolved years later, Boyd's career blossomed-first as a White House correspondent, followed by years of laborious, racially challenging ladder-climbing he calls "the ugly underside of life at the Times." The author's courageous fight for racial equality both inside and outside the workplace never ceased, and he smartly remarks that in America's newsrooms, African-Americans "have been tolerated but rarely embraced." Eventually the fact-heavy text becomes consumed with episodes of newsroom drama, including his love/hate relationship with the Times' "pragmatic" executive editor Howell Raines. After remarrying and starting a family, Boyd's bubble burst with his involuntary resignation following the fallout from the Jayson Blair plagiarism scandal in 2003. Photographs and chapters prefaced byanecdotal commentary from peers and friends add integrity to a comprehensive, noteworthy memoir. An important, culturally sensitive portrait of success, failure and atonement.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569765586
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/1/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 910,263
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Gerald M. Boyd was the first black managing editor at the New York Times. During his 20 year tenure with the Times, he served various roles, including White House correspondent. Prior to his work at the Times, he had a career at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A Neiman Fellow at Harvard, he was a board member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and was named the Journalist of the Year by the National Associated of Black Journalists. Robin D. Stone is the author of No Secrets, No Lies: How Black Families Can Heal from Sexual Abuse. Her work has appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, Detroit Free Press, and Essence magazine. The widow of Gerald M. Boyd, she lives in New York City with the couple’s son, Zachary.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 15, 2010

    From an outsider's perspective, a definitive account of the inner workings of The New York Times

    As the highest-ranking black editor in the history of the New York Times, Gerald Boyd overcame the entrenched racism of the industry with a combination of skill, will, a brilliant news "gut," political savvy, and an authentic feeling for communities oft-overlooked on establishment front pages: the poor, people of color, the disenfranchised. His memoir is a poignant recounting of his journey from an oft-hungry, effectively orphaned boyhood in St. Louis to the summit of power at America's iconic newspaper. His plummet from grace, as a collateral victim of the Jayson Blair plagiarism scandal, was a harsh reminder that the forces he'd out-maneuvered had remained as virulent as ever. No matter how many Pulitzers Boyd helped the Times win, he'd have powerful enemies--both outside his newspaper and within it--who never accepted that he belonged there.

    No other "inside" book on the Times is as clear-sighted and knowing as this one. Precisely because Boyd was perceived as an outsider, he understood the Times as it truly was, in both its triumphs and its shame. All in all, a devastating indictment by a great and greatly-sinned-against journalist.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    Excellent read! Grateful for the inside view of the powerful NY

    Excellent read! Grateful for the inside view of the powerful NY Times that no one probably had the guts to talk about!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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