By Zoe Earle,
Special to the AFRO
Author and journalist Bonnie Newman Davis spoke with students and supporters at Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communications on May 4 to discuss her newly released book, “Truth Tellers.”
“Publish or perish,” is an expression Newman Davis used to describe the driving idea for the book.
“When in academia you are expected to not only teach, but to write as well,” said Newman Davis.
As a constant contributor to the NABJ Journal, the lack of recognition for female journalists came into sharp focus for Newman Davis. While recalling an article she did on mentor and Washington Post columnist Dorothy Gilliam, she decided to venture out by writing about other trailblazing Black women in journalism.
Newman Davis shared that the original title for the book was “The Evolution of Black Women Journalists,” but she felt as though it was too academic and dry.
A conversation with a group of friends got her thinking.
“I wanted to find words that represent Black women journalists and their objective, which is to get to the truth. That is how the title ‘Truth Tellers’ came about,” said Newman Davis.
When asked about her writing process, Newman Davis jokingly answered that having a deadline helps. What some may see as procrastination, she doesn’t because she is always thinking about the text: “I’m basically writing it out in my head as I go through my daily activities.”
During her explanation, she was transparent in explaining that a writer can’t always do it all on their own. Newman Davis acknowledged that she had a team working with her to finish her book, which included eight other Black women writers and a writing coach who held her accountable.
The book has enthralled readers with various stories about 24 Black women in journalism from all over the country. Among themes readers can pick up on is creativity, love for written word, and the care and concern for the Black community that motivated all these magnificent women.
Newman Davis began to tell students about her background. As an undergraduate attending North Carolina A&T State University, her interest in journalism peaked. Newman Davis was an English major who took journalism classes, and she continued to perfect her craft through internships. One she recalled was at Greensboro News and Record, where she was a reporter that covered content from schools to government.
In the more recent years of Newman Davis’ career, she was selected as the managing editor of the Richmond Free Press, a Black-owned weekly newspaper. She writes about sports, politics, creates editorials and contributes anything that influences the layout of the paper.
Newman Davis has also taught as a professor at various institutions of higher learning including North Carolina A&T State University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Hampton University.
Zoe Earle is a Morgan State University student of the School of Global Journalism and Communication.