Charles Jackson: … is the Oakland Tribune’s editor at large. He was my editor during my Chips Quinn Scholar journalism internship during the summer of 1994. I got word that he’s in a Bay Area hospice at the moment after a long battle with cancer, and he’s strongly in my thoughts today.
NewsWatch: About Us: Jackson has been the editor at the Oakland Tribune since March 1998. In 1999, the Society of Professional Journalists Northern California Chapter recognized him with their Career Achievement award. During his 34-year journalism career, Jackson has worked as a reporter, copy editor, make-up editor, city editor, and news editor at many papers including the Wichita Eagle-Beacon, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Dallas Times Herald, the Washington Post, and the Cincinnati Inquirer. Charles has been at the forefront in the fight for newsroom diversity throughout his career.
Good journalism teachers, take a bow: Jackson of The Oakland Tribune admitted that although he was a bright student, his “mind wandered a lot. I made straight As but a C in citizenship.” Teachers steered him into journalism and theater to get him focused. “They figured if I could act up, I could also act. And I did.” He also spent four years on the school newspaper, drove his adviser nuts and was told that “I’d never make it in journalism because I was not serious enough. Little did she know.”
“With the information age explosion,” Jackson continued, “we need writers. We need people who know how to handle words.”
Minority hiring in newsrooms sees slow progress: “Demographics in the U.S. are changing,” said Oakland (Calif.) Tribune editor Charles Jackson. Members of minority groups make up nearly 48 percent of his staff. “It’s imperative that newspapers seek out reporters who reflect the diversity in the community you cover.”
That takes networking, Jackson added.
“I’ve been doing this for three years,” he said. “I am African American and I know a whole bunch of people. I can call my sources and hire people of color whom I have trained. … Good people of color are at a premium,” said Jackson.
Chips Quinn Scholars trade advice, call for more diversity: Regarding her internship at The Oakland Tribune, she said: “I’m looking at (editor) Charles Jackson and I’m about to cry, I’m so happy to see him. You couldn’t pay me enough to trade those three months.”
EPMJ focuses on technology, coverage at summer session: On the first day of instruction, editors learned the details of plans to introduce them to new technology in the newspaper industry. Charles Jackson, director of programs for the Maynard Institute, promised to take the eight fellows on a ride into journalism�s 21st Century.
Jackson had spent months putting together an ambitious list of goals for the class. He said it would be a summer of firsts for the program, which had just ended its 17th year. The class of �96 would be the first to be instructed in the art of pagination. It would also be the first to be involved in on�line publishing.
�For people of color, it�s essential to be part of the change that is taking place in journalism, he said. Jackson said there was a danger that people of color would be poorly covered by new electronic media if minority journalists did not have a role in making decisions.
Editors got their first taste of the latest technology when they were introduced to EPMJ�s new Internet Web site.
Jackson worked with production coordinator, John Seelye, to develop an on�line site for the program. They got support from two advisers from Phoenix Newspapers Inc., Dan Hontz, an on�line editor; and Howard Finberg, senior editor of information technology. The result is an EPMJ Web site linked to Arizona Central, the on�line operation of Phoenix Newspapers.
Soon after the eight editors arrived in Tucson, their pictures were posted on the Web site. The cover page of the web site featured a color photograph of Old Tucson taken by the program�s photographer, George Leinonen.
In ensuing weeks, the pages of the broadsheet would be posted on the Internet Web site. And there would be updates on the progress of the eight�week program.
The class would be the first to publish its newspaper on�line and to print its broadsheet publication, the Tucson News, using QuarkXPress.
All this was planned by Jackson before the summer began. And the editors learned that Jackson would deliver all he promised. The curriculum covering new technology would supplement EPMJ�s traditional program of instruction covering the skills of copy editing, headline writing, page design and management.