Renowned Reporter and Editor for Courier-Journal to Speak at Annual Joe Creason Lecture
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 18, 2014) — Mervin R. Aubespin, a media consultant, will deliver the 37th annual University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications' Joe Creason Lecture at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, in the Worsham Theater of the UK Student Center. The lecture, titled "35 Years in Journalism – What I’ve Learned and the People I Have Met Along the Way,” is free and open to the public.
Aubespin retired from The Courier-Journal in 2002 ending a 35-year journalism career as staff artist, news reporter and associate editor.
Aubespin began his journalism career at The Courier-Journal in 1967 as a news artist. He was the first African American to hold that position at the newspaper. Like many early African-American journalists, the Louisiana native got the call to be a reporter when racial violence broke out in western Louisville in 1968, and he was asked by editors to assume the role of news reporter. There were almost no minorities in the newsroom at that time. Sending his white colleague back to the newspaper for safety reasons, he spent the next 48 hours reporting on the disturbances, often at considerable personal danger.
Following the racial disturbances, the publisher of the newspaper decided that he was worth more to the news operation as a reporter and his career as a journalist was launched. As a reporter, his beat included local and national civil rights, which gave him significant opportunities to report on the African-American community. It was a task and challenge that he took seriously and resulted in hundreds of stories on African-American issues, institutions and personalities. He also co-authored a 40-story seven-day series on the status of African Americans in Louisville that won two national awards.
Before joining the staff of the newspaper, Aubespin was an active participant in local civil rights demonstrations for public accommodations in 1961 and other civil rights activities across the South. During the 1950s and early 1960s he worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and others on a variety of civil rights issues in the South, including the bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala. and the march from Selma to Montgomery.
In 1987, Aubespin was promoted to associate editor, a first for the newspaper. As an editor, he monitored the newspaper’s efforts at including minorities in its everyday coverage. As a recruiter for his newspaper, he traveled across the country, visiting universities, job fairs and organizations seeking talent for The Courier-Journal. In addition, he was administrator of the newspaper’s summer internship program and a member of the publisher’s Operating Committee.
Aubespin has been recipient of dozens of local and national awards for his reporting on African-American issues and his leadership in providing employment opportunities across the country to minorities in journalism. Two journalism scholarships and one national award are named for him.
A former president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), he has served as a consultant on media to the United Nations Development Programs (UNDP) and has led UN sponsored journalism trips to several African countries and to Guatemala.
Aubespin is a member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame and the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame. He was honored by Actors Theatre of Louisville with the “Keeper of the Chronicle Award” for his commitment and coverage of the African-American community in Louisville. In 2010 he received the Mayor’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Award for his civic activism and work for racial equality. He is co-author of a book, "Two Centuries of Black Louisville," a history of African Americans in Louisville over 200 years.
Aubespin is a graduate of Tuskegee University (B.A., Industrial Arts) and the Minority Journalism Program at Columbia University.
"We’re delighted to have one of Kentucky’s best known journalists deliver the 2014 Creason Lecture," said Beth Barnes, director of the School of Journalism and Telecommunications. "Merv Aubespin has been a leader in journalism and civil rights in the Commonwealth and nationally. He has had an amazing career, and I’m looking forward to this opportunity for our students and the community to hear about the people and events he covered during that time.”
The Joe Creason Lecture Series brings an outstanding journalist to the university to meet and talk with students, and to speak before an assembly of students, faculty and the general public. The lecture series honors the memory of Joe Creason, a Kentuckian who wrote for The Courier-Journal and The Courier-Journal Sunday Magazine. The lecture series was made possible through a matching grant from the Bingham Enterprises Foundation of Kentucky and gifts donated by UK alumni and friends of Joe Creason.
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