Black History Month Profile: Robert Pierre
Longtime Washington Post reporter and editor Robert Pierre, a 1990 graduate of the Manship School, has amassed more than 20 years journalism experience and is now president of his own marketing and public relations company, Bald Cypress Media Group, based in Washington, D.C.
Pierre served as the first black editor-in-chief of The Daily Reveille while at the Manship School. After graduation, he was hired as a staff writer for The Times Picayune, and by 1993, Pierre became a reporter at The Washington Post.
Pierre was a part of the team of Post reporters who won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting massacre in 2007. He was also a key collaborator and writer of the series “Being a Black Man: At the Corner of Progress and Peril,” and he co-authored “A Day Late and a Dollar Short: High Hopes and Deferred Dreams in Obama’s ‘Post-Racial’ America.”
Before leaving the Post in 2012, Pierre headed an internal startup, The Root DC, which is an online extension of The Root and the Post’s local staff covering the black community. Pierre has taught journalism courses at Dillard University in New Orleans and Howard University in D.C. He is a longtime member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Washington Center for Politics and Journalism.
In a perfect world, Pierre says, there would be no need for Black History Month or minority journalism organizations because the depth of all our stories would already be displayed and integrated into the American narrative. But, in reality, stories of different cultures, races and genders are often obscured, dismissed or misconstrued by so-called mainstream media.
“Take Black History Month, there are stories told and surfaced every February that most people, including African Americans, would never hear if not for a month devoted to telling those stories,” Pierre says. “Those are not just stories about civil rights and race and slavery but stories of the humanity of people whose lives were, and are, rich. They love their families. They root for their children. They like to sing, dance, shout and skateboard. They read books. They love. They grieve. And when they’re tired, they sleep.”
“To the extent that the people who are telling stories and teaching our storytellers come from varied racial, economic, religious and geographic backgrounds, it should make it easier for us to remember this about people, no matter the color of their skin.”
The Manship School is in “the ranks of the country’s strongest programs,” according to a team of outside experts.