Who Was Maynard Eaton?
Maynard Eaton was an award-winning journalist and media communications professional with a career spanning more than three decades. During his career, he has been recognized as a broadcast journalist, political columnist, media/ public relations consultant, free-lance writer/editor and as a journalism professor.
An 8-time EMMY Award winning television news reporter, Maynard Eaton is in the vanguard of America’s first black news reporters on prime time television, and has been distinguished as a one of Atlanta's most influential media professionals.
Maynard Eaton has conducted innumerable high-profile interviews throughout his career, including heads of state, politicians, renown entertainers and athletes, and Civil Rights heroes and sheroes. Known for his news reporting at Atlanta City Hall as well as under the gold dome of Georgia’s Capitol, Maynard Eaton has provided unprecedented news content and coverage. His television news reporting era forever endeared him to the citizens of Atlanta, and they continue to hail him in the streets of Atlanta to remind him of it.
Eaton became well-known in the 90’s as a political columnist and writer for Atlanta black print media, particularly The Atlanta Voice. In addition, during his tenure as managing editor of The Atlanta Tribune, a monthly African American business magazine, readership and advertising revenue doubled.
Maynard Eaton became the founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), and the President of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists (AABJ). Mr. Eaton also served as an Associate Professor of Broadcast and Print Journalism in the Communications Department of Clark Atlanta University.
Mr. Eaton broke ground in innovative media strategies and platforms and took on Managing Editor for the World African Network [WAN], the nation's first African American-owned Internet news service, directing a 12-member news team into the late 90’s.
In another historical first for African Americans in innovative news media platforms, Eaton served as the Southeast Bureau Chief and political correspondent for Black Entertainment Television [BET] from 1990-93.
Maynard Eaton was one of three Atlanta journalists selected as a panelist for the televised 1998 Georgia Governor's race debate. Eaton was also selected in 1988 by the Georgia Democratic Party to write and produce the welcoming video presentation for the Party’s convention in Atlanta.
In 1997 and 2001, Eaton received the honor to serve as a panelist in the Atlanta Mayoral televised debates.
Eaton served as Deputy Press Secretary for former Georgia Lt. Governor Mark Taylor during Taylor’s second term, and has served as a media advisor/writer to other prominent Democratic political figures, including Mayor Shirley Franklin, Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis, and then-Atlanta Mayoral Candidate Kasim Reed.
Working across political parties, Mr. Eaton served as Press Secretary for GA Republican Congressional candidate Dr. Deborah Honeycutt in 2008 and campaign consultant to Republican Presidential candidate Steve Forbes in 1999-2000.
Eaton made his presence felt in the public political news dialogue in the new millennium, and regularly appeared as a political analyst on the Bill Campbell Morning Show broadcast on WAOK-AM, and a panelist on Atlanta This Week, a TV news talk format showcasing prominent journalists of the day.
Taking the art of interview and dialogue to another level, Maynard Eaton co-founded a unique “info-tainment” format during the first decade of the twenty-first century called NEWSMAKERS Live which became popular and known for Eaton’s intense and revealing interviews of prominent personalities and political figures.
Since January of 2011, Eaton has been the National Communications Director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference [SCLC], and Editor of the National SCLC Magazine. Bringing his expertise to bear, Eaton has supported Dr. King’s organization through a critical transition period. Eaton has ensured venerable SCLC leaders such as Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian, Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr., Dr. Charles Steele, and numerous other SCLC leaders have been highlighted prominently in the media. As National Communications Director, he has strengthened SCLC’s media relations through a continuum of news conferences, annual conventions, special Civil Rights events, national and international media interviews, and SCLC’s national publication. In service to Dr. King’s legacy and America’s Civil Rights Movement, Eaton worked to bring an unprecedented level of media coverage for SCLC during the historic 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, coordinating with other Civil Rights organizations and their teams in a sea of national and international media.
Maynard Eaton continues to service prominent Atlanta leaders through his Eaton Media Group and serves the citizens of Atlanta as an active Board member of People TV, Atlanta’s public access television station. Eaton mentors and provides editorial expertise and partnership to numerous emerging Atlanta media professionals and outlets, with a focus of growing innovative platforms in the Southeast region of our nation.
Mr. Eaton continues his tradition -- in a style revered and all his own -- of interviewing prominent leaders, especially on “NEWSMAKERS Live”, a platform that remains respected for its uncommon, exclusive political and current dialogue in metropolitan Atlanta.
Let it thus be duly noted, on this 14th day of November 2014, at the Commemoration Event of his 65th birthday that Maynard Eaton be recognized, acknowledged, and honored for the distinctly unique and unparalleled contributions he has made over the past two decades in the City of Atlanta through his television news reporting, print journalism, media and public relations, “quintessential” interviews and dynamic dialogue.
Eaton was also a founding member and contributing political writer for the Georgia Online News Service [GONSO] and a journalism professor at Clark-Atlanta University.
In 2008 Eaton served as press secretary for Republican Congressional candidate Dr. Deborah Honeycutt and worked as a media consultant/writer for then- Atlanta Mayoral Candidate Kasim Reed.
From 1991 to-date, Eaton has been a political columnist for The Atlanta Voice, Atlanta’s premiere, African-American weekly newspaper. His award-winning column, Politics 411, is provocative and informative with a readership of more than 50,000. He is also a contributing writer for The Sunday Paper, a popular weekly alternative publication, and has been a media consultant to Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and Macon’s Mayor C. Jack Ellis.
Eaton regularly appeared as a political analyst on the Bill Campbell Morning Show which aired on WAOK-AM in Atlanta. He was a regular panelist on Atlanta This Week, a weekly TV news talk show, featuring prominent Georgia journalists.
During the 1999 and 2000 political seasons, Eaton served as a writer and media consultant for Republican presidential aspirant, Steve Forbes. During that time, he was one of three Atlanta journalists selected as a panelist for the televised 1998, Georgia Governor’s race debate; and the 1997 and 2001 Atlanta Mayor’s debate. He also served as an Associate Professor of Broadcast and Print Journalism in the Communications Department of Clark Atlanta University.
From 1990 to 1993, Eaton served as the Southeast Bureau Chief and political correspondent for Black Entertainment Television [BET]. He was a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), and former president of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists (AABJ).
In 1988, the Georgia Democratic Party selected Eaton to write and produce their video presentation welcoming all the Democrat delegates to the Atlanta Convention.
From 1986 to 1991, Eaton operated as managing editor for The Atlanta Tribune, a premier African-American monthly, business magazine. During this tenure, The Tribune’s readership and advertising revenue doubled. Following that he was the managing editor of World African Network [WAN], the nation’s first African-American owned Internet news service where he directed a 12-member news team until 1998.
Awards and Honors
Eaton has garnered numerous awards and accolades during his illustrious career. Most recently, he was named 2008 Journalist of the Year by the Rainbow/PUSH civil rights group. From 1978 to 1986, Eaton was a multi-award winning political reporter for WXIA-TV in Atlanta. He won eight EMMY Awards for television news reporting/writing, while at WXIA, WPLG-TV in Miami and WVEC-TV in Norfolk. He has also been honored for his work as a political commentator for WTLK-TV and WATL-TV in Atlanta; a producer/reporter for World News Monitor; southeast field producer for USA Today television; and writer/talent for Ebony Journal and Prime Time, two highly regarded and locally produced television magazine shows.
In addition to honors in broadcasting, Eaton won two Atlanta Association of Black Journalist awards for his excellence in writing and reporting, including the Journalist of the Year award in 1985 from the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists [AABJ] and several significant honors from the National Association of Black Journalists [NAABJ]. He has received honors from Communication Excellence to Black Audiences [CEBA], and three writing awards from the Associated Press. He landed a 2nd place honor with the National Newspaper Publishers Award (NNPA) in 2007; a coveted Gannett News Service reporting award and, for ten consecutive years, has been named on the list of prestigious individuals with Who’s Who in Black Atlanta. Eaton has also written cover stories for that prestigious publication on Ambassador Andrew Young, civil rights icon Rev. Joseph Lowery and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.
Eaton received his Master of Arts degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he was mentored by the late Fred Friendly (former president of CBS News), and holds a BA degree in Mass Media Arts from Hampton University.