Albert E. Fitzpatrick

NPF Award Winner: Albert E. Fitzpatrick - Albert E. Fitzpatrick

Albert E. Fitzpatrick 2005

Akron Beacon Journal

Albert E. Fitzpatrick, a retired Knight Ridder news executive and journalist, is the former executive editor of the Akron Beacon Journal where he worked for 29 years. He was the first black managing editor and executive editor of major metropolitan newspaper in the U.S.

He created the Minority Affairs Department at Knight Ridder, Inc in Miami, FL (parent company of the Beacon Journal) and retired as assistant vice president in 1994.

Fitzpatrick is founding chair of the National Association of Minority Media Executives; past president of the National Association of Black Journalists; past chairman of the Minorities Committee for Southern Newspapers Association, retired board member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and member of the Professional Advisory Board of the Kent State University School of Communications. He is the dean of the Albert E. Fitzpatrick Leadership Development Institute sponsored by the National Association of Minority Executives. He was the first African American to win the distinguished Ida B. Wells Award.

Fitzpatrick, the seventh of 12 children, started his journalism career as a part-time sports reporter for his hometown paper, the Elyria Chronicle Telegram. After spending six years in the Infantry and Air Force, Fitzpatrick enrolled at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and later transferred to Kent State where he majored in journalism and sociology. He graduated from Kent State in 1956.

He joined the Beacon Journal staff in that same year as a reporter on the state desk. He was the first black to join the company of 600 employees in any capacity. After serving two years as a reporter, he became farm editor and assistant state editor. He then became a copy editor on the news desk, Assistant News Editor and News Editor. He was later named Assistant Managing Editor and became Managing Editor in July 1973. He was appointed Executive Editor in 1977.

Fitzpatrick directed the Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Kent State disturbance in 1970. The Beacon Journal assigned 21 reporters and editors to cover the incident which cost four students their lives. After the initial breaking story the Beacon Journal had 27 stories of the Kent State incident the following day.

Fitzpatrick served on the Pulitzer Jury in 1975, 1976 and 1983. He has conducted seminars and workshops in nine African Countries including a UNESCO Conference in Yaounde, Cameroon. Other African visits included The Senegal, Liberia, The Sudan, Kenya (twice) Tanzania, Uganda and Botswana.

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NPF Award Winner: Albert E. Fitzpatrick

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