George E. Curry is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, also writes a weekly syndicated column for NNPA, a federation of more than 200 African-American newspapers.
Curry, who served as editor-in-chief of the NNPA News Service from 2001 until 2007, returned to lead the news service for a second time on April 2, 2012. His work at the NNPA has ranged from being inside the Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in the University of Michigan and University of Texas affirmative action cases to traveling to Doha, Qatar to report on America's war with Iraq.
Before joining the NNPA, Curry was editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine for seven years. Under his leadership, Emerge won more than 40 national journalism awards. Curry is proudest of his 4-year campaign to win the release of Kemba Smith, a 22-year-old woman who was given a mandatory sentence of 24 1/2 years in prison for her minor role in a drug ring. In May 1996, Emerge published a cover story titled "Kemba's Nightmare." President Clinton pardoned Kemba in December 2000, marking the end of her nightmare.
While serving as editor of Emerge, Curry was elected president of the American Society of Magazine Editors, the first African-American to hold the association's top office. Before taking over as editor of Emerge, Curry served as New York bureau chief and as a Washington correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. Prior to joining the Tribune, he worked for 11 years as a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and for two years as a reporter for Sports Illustrated.
Curry is the author of Jake Gaither: America's Most Famous Black Coach (Dodd, Mead & Co., 1977), editor of The Affirmative Action Debate (Perseus Books, 1996) and The Best of Emerge Magazine, (Ballantine Books, 2003). He was editor of the National Urban League's 2006 State of Black America report.
Born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Curry graduated from Druid High School of that city before enrolling at Knoxville College in Tennessee. At Knoxville, he was editor of the school paper, quarterback and co-captain of the football team, a student member of the school's Board of Trustees and attended Harvard and Yale on summer history scholarships.
While working as a Washington correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, he wrote and served as chief correspondent for the widely-praised television documentary, "Assault on Affirmative Action," which was aired as part of the "Frontline" series on PBS. He was featured in a segment of "One Plus One," a national PBS documentary on mentoring. He was also featured in a 2013 French documentary on the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation titled, "Abraham Lincoln, the Road to Freedom."
Curry was part of the weeklong Nightline special, "America in Black and White." He has also appeared on the CBS Evening News, ABC's World News Tonight, The Today Show, 20/20, Good Morning America, CNN, C-SPAN, BET, Fox Network News, MSNBC and ESPN.
After delivering the 1999 commencement address at Kentucky State University, he was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters degree. In May 2000, Lane College in Jackson, Tenn. also presented Curry with an honorary doctorate after his commencement speech. Later that year, the University of Missouri presented Curry with its Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism, the same honor it had earlier bestowed on such luminaries as Joseph Pulitzer, Walter Cronkite, John H. Johnson, and Winston Churchill. In 2003, the National Association of Black Journalists named him "Journalist of the Year."
Curry became the founding director of the St. Louis Minority Journalism Workshop in 1977. Seven years later, he became founding director of the Washington Association of Black Journalists' annual high school journalism workshop. In February 1990, Curry organized a similar workshop in New York City.
He is chairman of the Board of Directors of Young D.C., a regional teen-produced newspaper, immediate past chairman of the Knoxville College Board of Trustees, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Kemba N. Smith Foundation and St. Paul Saturdays, a leadership training program for young African-American males in St. Louis. Curry was also a trustee of the National Press Foundation, chairing a committee that funded more than 15 workshops patterned after the one he directed in St. Louis.
His work in journalism has taken him to Egypt, England, France, Italy, China, Morocco, South Africa, Germany, Malaysia, Thailand, Cuba, Brazil, Ghana, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, Mexico, Canada and Austria. In August 2012, he was part of the official U.S. delegation and a presenter at the U.S.-Brazil seminar on educational equity in Brasilia, Brazil.
Curry is a member of the National Speakers Association and the International Federation for Professional Speakers. His speeches have been televised on C-SPAN and reprinted in Vital Speeches of the Day magazine.
- August 2013