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Published: Thursday, 1/26/2006

Journalist as guest

BY CLYDE HUGHES
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Ed Gordon Ed Gordon
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Ed Gordon is known by many African-Americans for his trail-blazing stint as anchor for Black Entertainment Television News and to larger audiences as the first journalist to interview O.J. Simpson after he was found not guilty in the murder of his ex-wife.

Gordon, an Emmy Award-winning journalist and Detroit native, said he doesn't mind if people remember him for those things, as long as they don't forget about what he is doing now. He is the host of News and Notes with Ed Gordon, an interview and information program heard daily on National Public Radio, as well as a contributing correspondent to CBS's 60 Minutes Wednesday.

Gordon will headline a program for Granny's Haven, Inc. and Phillips Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church at the Wyndham Hotel, 2 Seagate, tomorrow. "The Night of Elegance with Ed Gordon" will begin at 6:30 p.m.

"There aren't very many African-Americans with their own shows," said Gordon in a telephone interview this week. "I'm excited, though, to shoulder that burden."

Gordon's show focuses on news, trends, and topical issues of interest to the African-American community. The NPR gig is a coming home of sorts for Gordon, who started his career in the late 1980s at the Public Broadcasting System affiliate in Detroit. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University.

He also worked for NBC where he produced reports for the Today Show and Dateline. He has interviewed many news makers such as Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, embattled U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, actor Jamie Foxx among others.

He said he still meets people who remember his interview with O.J. Simpson, but younger people tend to remember his celebrity interviews the most.

"You can tell when people found me by the interviews I've done," Gordon said. "Older people will remember O.J., but the younger people talk about my interview with [singer] R. Kelly or Janet Jackson."

Gordon was the face of BET news division as host of BET Tonight and BET News. He created an interview series Conversation with Ed Gordon during his stint with the network. He said he was dismayed when BET moved away from more traditional news programming recently, but more disappointed by the lack of options for news of interest to blacks.

"The problem is that BET should not have been the only option," Gordon said. "There should have been two or three competitors to BET. There's Cathy Hughes [Radio One], Oprah has her own show. In print, there's Johnson's Publishing and Black Enterprise and that's about it. It's important to get ownership. When you think about it, everything we think and do is controlled by the media."

Gordon said even though the Iraq War continues to dominate the bulk of the headlines, stories like the recent layoffs at Ford and other American automotive companies have the potential of affecting his audience, particularly African-Americans as greatly.

"The automotive industry helped build the black middle class," Gordon said. "If 20 years ago you would have said Ford would have had these kind of layoffs, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. This will have a profound impact on all of us."

Gordon, who has relatives in Toledo, said he's looking forward to visiting the city once again and has fond memories of Toledo growing up.

He is also president of the Gordon Media Group, a multi-service production company. In addition to his Emmy, he has captured awards for his news broadcasting work from the NAACP and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Contact Clyde Hughes at chughes@theblade.com or 419-724-6095.



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