Dorothy Gilliam was the first black woman reporter at the Washington Post. She knows the communications industry from top to bottom. Her career has blazed a trail for minorities in the media. She is an author, a television commentator and a seasoned journalist. She’s been a reporter, an editor and a columnist at one of the country’s leading news organizations, The Washington Post.
In January 2019 Dorothy released a non-fiction biography “TRAILBLAZER: pioneering a journalist’s fight to make the media look more like America”, Gilliam details her experiences as a Civil Rights Journalist. She recalls what it was like to be considered a second-class citizen. Given the support from her family, church and community, however, left her well aware that she was loved, was a valuable person, and could succeed in life.
Dorothy is the founder and director of the Washington Post’s highly successful Young Journalists Development Program which creates and strengthens student media and encourages high school students to pursue careers in journalism. At The Post, Gilliam received funding from the Knight Foundation to publish Reaching Generation Next, a handbook creating partnerships between news organizations and high schools.
“The Prime Movers program is a unique partnership between SMPA, the Knight Foundation, major news organizations and area high schools.” The corporation will bring media education and training opportunities to students who may not otherwise have them, and it will serve the ultimate goal of increasing diversity in America’s television, radio, and newspaper newsrooms.
George Washington’s School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA), with 17 full-time faculty members and more than 400 students, teaches how ideas and information are communicated through the media. The school combines liberal arts education with professional skills, promoting a combination of theory and practice.
Gilliam started at The Post in 1961 and worked as a reporter on the metropolitan desk for three years. She then worked as a reporter for the television program, Panorama, on WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C. She returned to The Post in 1972 as an assistant editor of the Style section and began writing her column in 1979.
She is the author of Paul Robeson: All American. (1976, Random House) Gilliam is one of the most respected minority journalists in the country.
Among the honors she has received are: The Ann O’Hare McCormick Award from the New York Newspaper Woman’s Club, Journalist of the Year; Washington Media Awards from the Capital Press Club, Alumni of the Year; Columbia Graduate School of Journalism Alumni of the Year Award; and the University of Missouri Honor Medal in Journalism.
Ms. Gilliam’s background reflects her interests in teaching socially conscious thought and public service. She has been the chair of the board of directors of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education in California; is former president of the 3,000 member National Association of Black Journalists (NAB), and a member of groups’ Hall of Fame; a fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; and was a 1991 Fellow at the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia University studying racial diversity in the American media.
A former Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Gilliam has served as a board member for the Fund for Investigative Journalism and has served as chair of the Institute for Journalism Education.
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Gilliam received a BA from Lincoln University and MA from the Columbia School of Journalism. She is the mother of three daughters.