Pearl Stewart to Present 12th Annual Michael Davis Lecture

Photo of Pearl Stewart, courtesy of the Chicago Defender.

Pearl Stewart, the first African-American woman to become editor of a major daily newspaper, will present the Michael Davis Lecture Feb. 21 at Southeast Missouri State University.Photo courtesy of The Chicago Defender.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Feb. 8, 2006 – Pearl Stewart, the first African-American woman to become editor of a major daily newspaper and adjunct professor at the University of Southern Mississippi , will present the Department of Communication’s Michael Davis Lecture Feb. 21 at Southeast Missouri State University.

The Common Hour lecture is scheduled for noon in Glenn Auditorium of Dempster Hall.  The event is free and open to the public and is part of the University’s Black History Month festivities.

The Michael Davis Lecture recognizes the contributions of African-Americans in the media.  The event also honors the late Michael Davis, a mass communications student at Southeast who died as a result of a hazing incident.

 Stewart was editor of the Oakland (Calif.) Tribune in 1992 and 1993, the first African-American woman to become editor of a major daily newspaper.  She had previously worked at the Tribune as a reporter and features editor.

Stewart was a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, where she worked in the Oakland bureau covering local government, neighborhoods and education.  She has freelanced for various publications including the East Bay Express, Black Enterprise, Essence.com, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Diverse Issues in Higher Education, where she is currently a correspondent.

In 2002, while teaching journalism at Florida A&M University, she founded Black College Wire, an online news service and training program, which operates with grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

She has also taught at Dillard and Xavier Universities in New Orleans, Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Louisiana State in Baton Rouge.

In fall 1995, Stewart was selected as a resident fellow at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center for Press Politics and Public Policy, where her research paper on “Women of Color as Media Executives” was published in 1997 in the book Politics and the Press, which was edited by Pippa Norris and published by Lynne Rienner.  She also conducted a two-week seminar in investigative reporting for journalists in Lusaka, Zambia.

Stewart earned a master of arts degree in communication from American University.  Her bachelor of arts degree is from Howard University in Afro-American Studies with a minor in journalism.  At Howard, she was editor of the campus newspaper, The Hilltop. 

For additional information on this event, contact Dr. Stuart Towns, chair of the Department of Communication, at (573) 651-2241.