I left the Miami Herald a week ago after 13 great years as the newspaper’s World Editor. The story appeared in Richard Prince’s Journal-isms, which I’m sharing below.
Yearwood Leaves Miami Herald After 13 Years
John Yearwood, who as world editor of the Miami Herald became increasingly active in international press freedom issues as executive board chair of the Vienna-based International Press Institute, ended 13 years at the Herald on Wednesday.
“I’ve voluntarily left the Miami Herald after a terrific 13-year run,” Yearwood said in an electronic response to those emailing him at the Herald.
Aminda “Mindy” Marqués Gonzalez, Herald executive editor and vice president, messaged Journal-isms Thursday, “We have not named a replacement yet.”
Yearwood posted a photo of himself on his Twitter account Wednesday with Patrick Talamantes, president and CEO of the McClatchy Co., the Herald’s corporate parent.
“Great way to spend my last day with #McClatchy. Terrific meeting at HQ with @ptalamantes, president & CEO. #grtguy,” Yearwood wrote. McClatchy’s corporate headquarters are in Sacramento, Calif. Yearwood was in Silicon Valley for a conference of Rights Con Silicon Valley 2016, which calls itself “the world’s leading conference convened on the future of the internet.”
Yearwood, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, has been the Herald’s world editor since 2003. He had been national/international editor and assistant city editor for government and politics at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and spent 10 years at the Dallas Morning News, where he reported from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
“I’m incredibly fortunate and blessed to have been able to do everything I wanted at the Herald — far more than I ever thought possible when I arrived 13 years ago,” Yearwood emailed Journal-isms on Thursday.
“It’s been a great run that includes coordinating the landmark Afro-Latin American series, coverage of the Great Quake in Haiti and dramatic changes in Cuba, rescuing a staffer detained in Venezuela and initiating Herald scholarships to honor its first African-American reporter. Along the way, I helped galvanize Miami after the quake to save Ayikodans, Haiti’s brilliant modern dance company, a cultural institution.
“I was honored on my last day to spend some time with Pat Talamantes, McClatchy’s president and CEO, in a great discussion of some of the issues confronting the company and industry.
“I plan to take the next month to complete some significant global travel commitments then decide with my family whether to accept a position in journalism or go in a different direction.
“Whatever I decide to do, however, I intend to continue my strong commitment to a free press and free expression. I’m incredibly proud of our work at the International Press Institute, where we just wrapped up our 65th World Congress in Doha, Qatar, and are considering meeting in the U.S. next year.”
“It’s been a great run that includes leading the landmark Afro-Latin American series, coverage of the Great Quake in Haiti and dramatic changes in Cuba, and initiating Herald scholarships to honor its first African-American reporter. Along the day, I helped galvanize Miami after the quake to save Ayikodans, Haiti’s brilliant modern dance company, a cultural institution.
According to Yearwood’s bio, “his department has won multiple awards under his leadership, including two McClatchy Company President’s Awards and the Arthur Ross Award for best coverage of Latin America. . . .”
Yearwood has been treasurer of the National Association of Black Journalists and a board member of Unity: Journalists of Color, Inc.
In 2013, the French-American Foundation asked him whether his “foreign origins, and thus a personal connection to multiple cultures, enriched your ability to report on global issues and questions pertaining to immigration?”
Yearwood replied, “Absolutely. I could not do my job as effectively if I didn’t have a personal connection to the many cultures we cover. For example, I coordinated coverage of a breakthrough series several years ago about Afro-Latin Americans. Although it’s been four years, we still get requests to republish it or for me to speak about the series.
“In fact, the Library of Congress called last fall to ask if I would make a presentation to them about the series. A lesson plan was even developed from it for high school students. Our goal was to increase the visibility of Africans in Latin America.
“In the end, the series ended up being more complex that even I envisioned. It added tons of knowledge to what we knew about blacks in the Americas. It was a huge undertaking but, again, it’s something that we probably would not have done had I not had that regional cultural sensitivity.” [Added March 31]