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In the news: Robin Washington

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In the news: Robin Washington
Robin Washington COURTESY PHOTO

Former Bay State Banner Managing Editor Robin Washington has been appointed Forward Magazine’s new editor-at-large, a new position aimed at bringing diverse voices to the Jewish publication.

Washington, who was at the Banner from 1993 through 1996, was one of the founders of the Alliance of Black Jews in 1995, and among the first to use the term “Jew of color,” in an 1997 essay. He has served as a board member on the National Association of Black Journalists and Unity Journalists of Color and has lectured at numerous universities.

At the Forward, the nation’s oldest and leading Jewish journalism outlet, Washington will write an opinion column, develop and host an interview show, help recruit diverse contributors, interns and staff and consult across the organization’s leadership on addressing systemic racism.

“There is no stronger Black Jewish voice in journalism than Robin’s, and having him in our pages is a huge boon for our audience,” said Jodi Rudoren, the Forward’s editor-in-chief. “He knows the community, he knows the history, he asks tough questions, he has a sharp eye, a keen ear, a big heart and a real sense of humor. I am so proud to have him on our masthead.”

Washington, 64, grew up in Chicago, attending civil rights protests from the age of 3, and has a rich and varied career that includes stints as the top editor of the Duluth News Tribune and writing the “Roads Scholar,” a transportation column for the Boston Herald. He won an Emmy Award in 1989 for the documentary, “Vermont: The Whitest State in the Union” and numerous national honors for his landmark PBS documentary on the origins of the Civil Rights Movement, “You Don’t Have to Ride Jim Crow.”

Currently, Washington hosts a weekly news and public-affairs show, “Simply Superior,” on Wisconsin Public Radio, and remains a contributing reporter to WGBH Boston and an editor and mentor for American City Business Journals. He has also served on the editorial board of the Boston Globe and as interim commentary editor of The Marshall Project.

Last year, he published a study finding that 2% of the boards of directors of the member-groups of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations were Jews of color, a fraction of their portion of the community.

“As one who has been immersed in and fascinated by history, I’m thrilled to be part of a journalistic enterprise with such a storied, and fearless, past in chronicling the Jewish experience in America,” Washington said. “What’s equally important is its present and future, and helping to guide it toward accurately depicting and advocating for inclusion and equity — not as catchwords but as core Jewish values.”

The Forward, founded in 1897 as a Yiddish, socialist broadsheet, is a reader-supported, independent nonprofit. Fully digital since the spring of 2019, the Forward reaches 1.5 million to 2 million people each month, a third of them under 35 years old.

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