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Robert G. McGruder

Robert G. McGruder

2003

Pioneering African-American journalist and news executive, champion of diversity in newsrooms. A Louisville native, he grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and Campbellsburg, Ky. Graduated from Kent State University in 1963 and worked for the Dayton Journal Herald before becoming the first African-American reporter for the Plain Dealer in Cleveland in 1963. Served two years in the U.S. Army, returning to the Plain Dealer in 1966. Served as an assistant city editor from 1971 to 1973 before returning to reporting; named city editor in 1978 and managing editor in 1981. Joined the Detroit Free Press in 1986 as deputy managing editor; named managing editor/news in 1987, then managing editor in 1993. First African-American president of the Associated Press Managing Editors (1995), and the first to head news operations at the Free Press when promoted to executive editor in 1996. Received the 2001 John S. Knight Gold Medal, the highest honor given an employee of Knight-Ridder, parent of the Free Press. Five-time Pulitzer Prize juror. Died April 12, 2002 at age 60.