“NewsLady” (Author House, $18.95) is the memoir of a trailblazing African-American woman journalist whose life is about “firsts.” Carole Simpson was the first woman to broadcast radio news in Chicago, the first African-American woman to anchor a local newscast in the same city, the first African-American woman national network television correspondent, the first African-American woman to anchor a national network newscast — and the first woman or minority to moderate a presidential debate.
Upon learning that those following in her footsteps were experiencing many of the racist and sexist incidents she faced down in her four decades-long career as a broadcast journalist, the former ABC News Weekend anchor felt compelled to write her memoirs. Her re-released autobiography now contains previously unpublished material in which she points out the problems she had with women and other Black employees. “There are some controversial aspects to this new version,” said Simpson. “I talk about the ‘dirty little secret’ in Black America: We are prejudiced against each other.”
Simpson has reported on — and walked alongside — Martin Luther King as he marched. She helped anchor ABC News’ live coverage of the release of Nelson Mandela from his 27-year imprisonment. She covered the U.S. Congress.
Simpson has been a pioneer for both women and minorities in the vital field of journalism. Now, her blog is an effort to comment on the news of today in the context of her 40 years in news, and her last five years in journalism education.
In this behind-the-scenes look, Simpson paints a dim portrait of the prejudices against her race and gender that complicated an already difficult climb in the competitive television news industry. Until now, she has remained somewhat discreet about her own personal views. Now, she believes it is time to share her insights on the news. That resolve is clear when she gives her take on the controversial rise and fall of Max Robinson, the first African-America to anchor a major nightly newscast. Simpson reflects on her time working with Robinson, who died of AIDS at age 49. “This may be one of the few things written about Max Robinson since his death,” noted Simpson.
Despite the final insults she received at the hands of now-deposed ABC News President David Westin, which caused her to leave her 24-year stay at the Disney-owned company, Simpson offers remarkable frank advice for others to help avoid the problems she surmounted. Hers is a story of survival in a male-dominated profession that placed the highest premium on white males. In this book she recounts how she endured and conquered sex discrimination and racial prejudice to reach the top ranks of her profession. Along the way she covered some of the most important news events over the four decades of her illustrious broadcasting career. Her inspirational story is for all trying to succeed in a corporate environment.
“I recount events in this book that show how many tried and how many succeeded in doing me harm,” said Simpson. “But before, during and after my television career, I was able to overcome and prospered. I was blessed.”