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Mayborn lecturer to be inducted into NABJ Hall of Fame

Mayborn lecturer to be inducted into NABJ Hall of Fame

Mayborn lecturer to be inducted into NABJ Hall of Fame
November 05
16:00 2021

Neil Foote, a principal lecturer at the Mayborn School of Journalism, has been named an inductee to the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame.

Foote will be one of eight members recognized this year for their work in journalism and communication in a virtual ceremony on Dec. 4. He said getting this award is a true honor and Foote sees it as a special recognition for his accomplishments in the journalism field.

“This tells me that there are some folks who have seen the body of my work over the past 40 years […] and recognize that it is significant enough to stand with the other excellent folks who are in the hall of fame,” Foote said. “For me to be part of that group is pretty significant.”

Foote first began his journalistic career as a newspaper reporter, working at the Miami Herald and The Washington Post. Additionally, he made efforts toward diversifying newsrooms at the American Society of Newspaper Editors and helped lead the digital team for The Dallas Morning News in the late ‘90s. Foote also directed public relations for media personality Tom Joyner’s company and foundation and helped found Joyner’s website, BlackAmericaWeb.com.

In addition to his other work, he is also the president and founder of his own media consulting firm, Foote Communications, LLC.

Foote has been with the Mayborn School of Journalism for the past 15 years as a professor and principal lecturer. He also serves as the conference director of the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference and the advisor for the school’s NABJ chapter.

“Neil is such an integral part of the Mayborn school,” Mayborn Dean Andrea Miller said. “I feel like this is just the beginning for him and what he can do for the school and what he does for his students.”

Since founding the South Florida Association of Black Journalists in 1981, Foote has been part of NABJ in “one way or another.” Throughout his time with the organization, Foote has served in multiple roles, including NABJ Region III Director and the President of the Washington Association of Black Journalists.

“He’s certainly had an impact in the industry, but he’s also worked hard,” professor Dorothy Bland said. “I  think he deserves every accolade that he has received, and to be inducted in the NABJ Hall of Fame is a tremendous honor.”

Foote said being recognized by the organization he has worked with for decades tells him others have noticed all his work over the past years to advance the efforts of Black journalists and reporters of color.

“It’s a nice cherry on top of a delicious sundae,” Foote said. “And I’m hoping that others, whether they were in my class […] or are my current students will see this and be inspired to pursue this industry with the fervor, gusto and excitement that I have in my career.”

According to Foote’s students and colleagues, he has left a lasting impact not only as a journalist but as a professor and mentor as well. University alumnus Saad Yousuf, a former student of Foote, said Foote’s encouraging approach to his students greatly impacted both Yousuf’s educational and professional career.

“I just don’t know that there’s another professor that really cares about a student’s actual career path, not just the grade they make in the class, like Professor Foote does,” Yousuf said.

Another former student and NABJ mentee of Foote, alumna Cydne Robinson said she sees his induction as a marker for all of the work he has put into becoming an influential role model in the Black community.

“This honor doesn’t go unnoticed,” Robinson said. “It is wonderful to see [Foote’s work] come to fruition. I truly cannot be any more proud of him.”

Foote said although this award recognizes his decades worth of work in the field, he is far from done. He plans to contribute in as many ways possible to his community to inspire students and help his colleagues create more exposure of the Mayborn School.

“Even though I’m not a young man, I feel like a young man,” Foote said. “I’ve still got a lot of projects I want to pursue and will hopefully inspire our next generation of journalists.”

Looking back on his accomplishments, Foote said he hopes that through his work, others have seen his passion for journalism. He also hopes others recognize he has been authentic in his beliefs of wanting young journalists to succeed and advocating for diversity in newsrooms and the public relations industry.

“The story I hope is told is that Neil Foote was busy all the time, and everything he did seemed to have a purpose,” Foote said.

Featured Image: Neil Foote speaks about the National Association of Black Journalists at the Mayborn Conference at Interabang Books in Dallas on Oct. 15, 2021. Photo by Bailey Jordan

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Samantha Thornfelt

Samantha Thornfelt

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