TGR: Wartime Media


The Gantt Report, by Lucius Gantt

     At one time during my long media career, I was hired as the news and public affairs director of a radio station in Florida’s capitol city and subsequently hired as the Executive Producer of “Vibrations”, a highly rated television news and talk show that ran for 15 years in Tallahassee.

     During that time, I trained many men and women that became national network news anchors and correspondents, local news persons and public and private communications and media professionals.

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     In my mind, my most accomplished protege was Reggie Harris. 

     Harris left Tallahassee to work in Jacksonville, Florida and Dallas, Texas before being hired as an anchorman and international news correspondent for the NBC News affiliate in New York City, the number one media market in the United States.

       While working in New York, Reggie won a New York Emmy Award and he was selected as The National Association of Black Journalist’s “Journalist of the Year” for his reporting from Africa during the violent conflict in Rwanda.

       Reggie was not able to receive the award in person because of work assignments but he did send the NABJ an acceptance video. 

      After thanking the group for his award, Reggie Harris told NABJ members he wanted to thank his first news director, “Lucius Gantt, who taught me how to GET THE FACTS”!

      You see, journalists working under me could only bring me factual, verifiable and corroborated information to get their stories aired on radio or television.

      I didn’t want to hear about and consider opinions, innuendo, theories and so forth. My reporters had to dig deep, so to speak.

     The media coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war is lacking on both sides.

     Russian media is state controlled for the most part so they pretty much parrot what the government wants published and broadcasted.

     Coverage from western journalists cannot truly be trusted either. 

     Instead of using Ukrainian journalists in a meaningful way, western reporters are flown in from thousands of miles away to primarily cover speeches by the Ukrainian President, government officials and provide occasional sound bites from their friends and war informants.

     If you want to cover bombings, war crimes and suffering by the Ukrainian people, you have to go where those things are happening and talk to the people that were there when the alleged atrocities happened.

     Reporting on the war from cushy studios in New York, Washington or even from Poland are not really enough.

     The heartbreaking stories told by wives that lost husbands, mothers that lost sons and families that held bombed, shot and dying children in their arms will cause rivers of tears around the world.

     Racism and bigotry were a way of life until the world began to see dogs attacking Black people, non-violent protesters getting showered with high power water hoses and women and children getting beaten on the Edmund Pettis Bridge.

      If you switch from one network news channel to the next, all the news shows seem alike because they imitate each other.

     An excerpt from The Gantt Report was selected to be placed in the “Freedom of Speech” section of the Chicago Tribune’s National Freedom Museum.

      The excerpt was about the war in Iraq. It discussed how “embedded” journalists covered the war and said the reporters covering that war should get academy awards for “acting like journalists”!

     Reporters are still “acting” in Ukraine!

     The best reports about the war in Ukraine will always come from the Ukrainian people.Reply