OBITUARIES

Dori J. Maynard dies at 56; advocate of diversity in the newsroom

Dori J. Maynard, champion of diversity in journalism, dies at 56

Dori J. Maynard, a journalist who worked to increase diversity in newsrooms and develop greater understanding of the communities that news organizations cover, has died. She was 56.

Maynard died Tuesday at her home in West Oakland. She had lung cancer, said Evelyn Hsu, senior director of programs and operations at the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.

Since 2001, Maynard had been president of the Oakland-based institute, which is named after her father.

Robert Maynard co-founded the institute in 1977 in an effort to train minority journalists and promote accurate representation of minorities in the news media. He was the editor of the Oakland Tribune when he bought the paper in 1983, becoming the first African American to own a major metropolitan newspaper.

Dori Maynard championed the institute's Fault Lines project, which aims to expand the concept of diversity beyond race and encourage journalists to consider class, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, political views and other factors when evaluating stories.

"We have to understand that we are going to see things differently," Maynard said in a speech at a 2005 journalism conference. "We need to have conversations in our newsrooms with the goal of understanding each other but not necessarily agreeing. If we take out the need to agree, we take out the need to be right."

In a statement posted on its website, the Maynard Institute said she "advocated tirelessly ... reminding all that the work of bringing the diverse voices of America into news and public discourse is more vital than ever."

Maynard was born May 4, 1958, in New York and graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont with a bachelor's degree in American history. She was a reporter for the Bakersfield Californian, the Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Mass., and the Detroit Free Press and in 1993 was a Nieman fellow at Harvard University.

She edited a 1995 compilation of her father's columns, "Letters to My Children."

Maynard's husband, Oakland architect Charles Grant Lewis, died in 2008. She is survived by her mother, Elizabeth Rosen of Woodstock, N.Y.; a sister, Sara-Ann Rosen, of Los Angeles; and two brothers, David Maynard of Long Beach and Alex Maynard of San Diego.

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