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Ava Thompson Greenwell: ‘Ladies Leading: The Black Women Who Control Television News’

Black Women in Entertainment

Ava Thompson Greenwell: ‘Ladies Leading: The Black Women Who Control Television News’

Hosted by Elvis Mitchell Aug. 31, 2021 EDUCATION

This week on The Treatment, Elvis welcomes Ava Thompson Greenwell, professor at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. Greenwell is also the author of the book “Ladies Leading: The Black Women Who Control Television News.” A former TV news reporter, Greenwell tells The Treatment that the microaggressions that Black women face in journalism can feel like a physical burden to carry, something a woman she interviewed called a “heavy backpack.” She says that “intellectual theft syndrome” where one’s ideas are co-opted by colleagues without credit, is an unfortunately common phenomenon in newsrooms as well. However, she says the recent hiring of two Black women in top positions at ABC News and MSNBC is a hopeful sign for the industry.

The following interview has been abbreviated and edited for clarity.

KCRW: Welcome to The Treatment, the home edition. I’m Elvis Mitchell. My guest today learned about microaggressions the way that most of us do who experienced them: the hard way, through living them. Ava Thompson Greenwell teaches reporting at the Medill School of Journalism, but she got her start as an on-air reporter and learned where the real power was in TV, which is to say, the people who run the newsrooms, the news directors. Her book, “Ladies Leading” is a look at the history of journalism for people of color, specifically, on the way women of color

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I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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