Aretha Franklin and Clarence Waldron
By Joy Childs
Sentinel Contributing Writer
When your peers refer to you as “the dean of Black reporters in entertainment and the arts,” it means you occupy a position of extreme trust for which you should be rewarded. So it is with JET senior staff writer Clarence Waldron: The writer/editor of feature stories, who has helped determine the news direction of that national weekly magazine for more than 25 years, is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Legacy Award by the National Association of Black Journalists to be presented at its annual convention and career fair at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego from July 28 to August 1.
Hundreds of Black journalists from around the country will converge on that southern California town, self-titled “America’s Finest City,” for “The NABJ at 35: The Power of Change.” The organization’s Arts and Entertainment Task Force, which first presented the Legacy Award in 1997 at the convention in Chicago, created it to acknowledge unsung entertainment journalists who, like Waldron, specialize in chronicling the high-profile lives and careers of celebrities, including pop culture icons Maya Angelou, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Tony Bennett; human rights activists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson; and scholars Michael Eric Dyson, Henry Louis Gates and Cornel West.
As this year’s recipient, Waldron joins an elite group of Black journalists that includes the late John H. Johnson and EBONY’s former Managing Editor Lynn Norment.
Waldron holds a master’s degree in journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York and a bachelor’s in English Literature from Columbia College of Columbia University. Prior to joining the JET staff, he was an award-winning general assignment reporter for The Press, the daily newspaper in Atlantic City, N.J. In fall 1998, Waldron became an adjunct lecturer of “Editing and Writing the News” at Medill at Northwestern University.
For more information about the NABJ’s annual convention and career fair, go to www.nabj.org.