Eaton, Saporta and Black Media
ATLANTA, GA, CASCADE PRESS (CP), Maynard Eaton is a good journalist. He is not a good journalist because he has been decorated with eight Emmy’s. Eaton is a good journalist simply because he has the proverbial nose for news. He can smell a good story and he is well equipped to tell that story, either in print, on television or on the radio.
Educationally, Eaton is well prepared for his line of work. He earned a bachelor degree from the historic Hampton Institute – now known as Hampton University – where he served as the catcher on the Hampton baseball team. Anyone who has known me for any length of time, knows I need a disclaimer for this piece. I am a bit bias towards any guy who writes well, as I fancy I do; and played collegiate baseball, like I did.
Following the Hampton experience, Eaton earned a Masters Degree in Journalism from Columbia University. Interesting to note, Columbia does not offer an undergraduate degree in Journalism. They prefer for their “J-Students” to come into their graduate program with another discipline under their belt, so that they will have a wide range of knowledge to apply the journalistic skills they will learn at Columbia. This approach has earned Columbia the reputation as one of the best”J-Schools” in the nation.
Late last year, I was delighted to learn that Eaton had been hired by Maria Saporta to write a weekly column in the Saporta Report, an online newspaper that covers primarily business development in Atlanta. I have been a regular reader of the Saporta Report for several years, but largely skimmed it to understand where the business community stood on economic development in the city.
When he came aboard, I was excited and actually looked forward to receiving a copy of the Saporta Report in my email box. Although, there have always been skilled Black writers at the Saporta Report, none of them have Eaton’s broad history in the Atlanta community. I could count on Eaton’s reporting to tell me what was happening in the artistic community in Black Atlanta in a way that made me proud to live in the city.
Boldly, he ventured into presidential politics. He invited alternative voices in the Atlanta community to express their views on why Blacks are blindly loyal to the Democratic Party. I thought this was a risky piece for him to write in the Saporta Report. It prompted a mutual friend of mine and Eaton to mention to me that Saporta would pull the plug on Eaton if he was not careful. Then word came last week, that the wife of a candidate for Solicitor General of Fulton County complained about a story Eaton had written on the solicitor’s race.
Saporta abruptly cut ties with Eaton. I had read the news story in question before I learned that he had been fired. I found the story refreshing among the other articles in the Saporta Report, hard hitting and balanced. I would never have guessed that the solicitor’s story would have led to Eaton’s dismissal.
Obviously, Miss Saporta can run her newspaper anyway she wants to run it. Her business model seems to be successful and I have never been one to criticize success.
Eaton, in a Monday morning news conference this week, said he holds no ill will over his termination. Also, he said, “I am a journalist and I will continue to write for the rest of my life, that is what I have always done.”
And he should do just that, continue to write, continue to tell our stories as only Maynard can.