The vice president and news director for New York's WNBC has been named the 1998 recipient of Kansas University's Ida B. Wells award.
Paula Walker Madison, vice president and news director for NBC's flagship station, WNBC in New York City, has been named the winner of the 1998 Ida B. Wells Award for exemplary achievements in providing employment opportunities for minorities in media.
The award, commemorating the life and courage of Ida B. Wells, honors Madison for increasing diversity in employment and news programming.
The Wells Award is based at Kansas University.
``Ida Wells used her early 20th-century newspaper to crusade against lynching, and Paula Madison has used her position as a media manager to improve America through fairer inclusion of minorities in print and broadcast news,'' said Samuel Adams, associate professor of journalism at KU and Wells curator.
Added Jimmy Gentry, dean of KU's William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communication: ``Paula Madison is proof that one person can make a difference.''
The award presentations rotate annually between the conventions of its co-sponsors, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Conference of Editorial Writers. The 1998 award was given June 30 in Washington, D.C., during the NABJ convention.
Madison was named vice president and news director of WNBC in March 1996, making her the first African-American woman to hold that position in the New York market. She was promoted to news director after serving as the station's assistant news director for seven years.
Under her direction, ``NewsChannel 4 at 11 p.m.'' won the May 1998 sweep period by its largest margin in 11 years, and ``Today in New York,'' the station's 5:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekday newscast, regained its early morning news ratings crown.
Madison also headed numerous stand-alone reports for NewsChannel 4, including an hour-long look at the New York City public school system and a half-hour report on police brutality and race relations in the tri-state area.
In addition, Madison has devoted large portions of daily newscasts to in-depth examinations including a 20-minute segment on the latest breakthroughs in the war against cancer and a 90-minute look at ``Kids, Schools and Violence.''
Also under her direction, ``NewsChannel 4'' won a George Foster Peabody award for ``Passport to Kill,'' a 15-minute report by Ti-Hua Chang.
Among hires to her diverse staff since she became WNBC news director are a dozen African-American, Hispanic and Asian professionals.
She came to WNBC from KHOU-TV in Houston, where she was news director. Earlier, she was news director at KOTV-TV in Tulsa, a news manager at WFAA-TV in Dallas and a community affairs director at WFAA-TV.
After graduating from Vassar in 1974, she began her journalism career as a reporter for Syracuse Herald Journal, later reporting at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram before becoming assistant city editor at the Dallas Times-Herald.