A federal jury decided Wednesday that the New York Daily News discriminated against four black journalists by giving them fewer promotions, worse assignments and lower salaries than were given to comparable white journalists.
The verdict in favor of copy editor Causewell Vaughan, reporter David Hardy, reporter Steven Duncan and editor Joan Shepard came late in the fourth day of deliberations in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
The journalists sought back pay and promotions they said they had been denied. The jury will decide next week whether to award compensatory and punitive damages. U.S. District Judge Miriam Cedarbaum will decide if the plaintiffs are entitled to promotions.
"The Daily News will appeal the case as it remains convinced that it did not discriminate against four of its black staff members in the late 1970s and early 1980s," said Jack Dunleavy, assistant to the publisher of the Daily News.
"The News believes its presentation to the federal jury was severely hampered by the trial judge's highly prejudicial rulings, which excluded key witnesses and evidence," Dunleavy said.
The trial marked the first time a racial discrimination suit against a major news organization had gone before a jury.