Nancy Maynard began her career as a journalist as a teenager, following an incident in which, negative reports were printed in a local newspaper about her grammar school that had burned down. The reports were outrageous that she sought to make things right. Her career spanned nearly four years, and she was regarded highly by young colored journalists, who looked upon her for mentorship.
Maynard credited her success to her mother who too, was a successful journalist in a predominantly white field. Her father, a jazz musician supported her too in her endeavors. She worked on the student newspaper of her junior high school, and participated in newsroom activities whenever she could.
Her first job in the main stream media, as a copy boy supported her through her higher education in journalism at Long Island University. Her skills in journalism while in school were recognized by school editors, and after graduation, she joined New York post as reporting staff at the age of 20. She won the attention of legendary Ted Posten who had broken the race barrier in the post’s newsroom.
Being the only black woman, Maynard had difficulties in her relationships with information sources, particularly during the civil rights movement, mainly dominated by men. Facing difficulties with the newspaper company, Maynard sought to take her skills to another paper. This was after the assassination of Martin Luther King Junior.
Nancy Hitch Maynard, together with her husband of 50 years both cofounded the Robert C. Maynard Institute for journalism Education. In her institute, she promoted diversity in journalism, and at the same time, she boldly promoted minority journalists to other media institutes such as the American society of newspaper editors, firmly persuading them to do the right thing; that is look beyond race and hire the minority on the basis of their merit. She was seen as fearless and astute champion of diversity in the media industry.
Nancy Hicks Maynard, a foresighted pioneer in newsroom diversity and a former co-publisher of the Oakland Tribune, died September 21, 2008 in Los Angeles after a prolonged illness. She was 61. Her death resulted from the intertwined failure of several major organs, her family said. Prior to her marriage to Robert C. Maynard in 1975, Nancy Hicks was recognized along with her soon-to-be husband, as among the best and most accomplished of the vanguard of fewer than 50 black journalists who moved into significant roles in newspaper, radio and television journalism nationally during the urban conflagrations of the early years of the 1960s. Her several journalistic achievements included coverage of developments surrounding the mid-sixties urban rebellions, cutting-edge developments nationally in science and health ranging from the NASA Apollo program to the costs and effectiveness of Great Society-era health care programs including Medicaid and Medicare. (www.mije.org/nancymaynard )
She plays an important role in the African American community as a champion of diversity in the field of journalism. Ever since, the number of African American Journalists has dramatically increased.