Maxie Cleveland “Max” Robinson, Jr. (May 1, 1939 – December 20, 1988) was an American broadcast journalist, most notably serving as co-anchor on ABC World News Tonight alongside Frank Reynolds and Peter Jennings from 1978 until 1983. Robinson is noted as the first African-American broadcast network news anchor in the United States. Robinson was a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists.
Robinson began his television career in 1959, when he was hired for a news job at WTOV-TV in Portsmouth, Virginia. Robinson had to read the news while hidden behind a slide of the station’s logo. One night, Robinson had the slide removed, and was fired the next day. He later went to WRC-TV in Washington, DC, and stayed for three years, winning six journalism awards for coverage of civil-rights events such as the riots that followed the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was during this time that Robinson won two regional Emmys for a documentary he made on black life in Anacostia entitled The Other Washington. In 1969, Robinson joined the Eyewitness News team at WTOP-TV (now WUSA-TV) in Washington, D.C.. Robinson was teamed with anchor Gordon Peterson, becoming the first African-American anchor on a local television news program, and the newscast took off. During that time, he was so well-liked by viewers that when Hanafi Muslims took hostages at the B’nai B’rith building in Washington they would speak only with Robinson.
In 1978, when Roone Arledge was looking to revamp ABC News’ nightly news broadcast into World News Tonight, he remembered Robinson from a 60 Minutes interview, and hired him to be a part of his new three-anchor format. Robinson would anchor national news from Chicago, while Peter Jennings would anchor international news in London and Frank Reynolds would be the main anchor from Washington. Robinson thus became the first black man to anchor a nightly network news broadcast. The three-man co-anchor team was a ratings success, and launched spoofs regarding how the three would pitch stories to each other during the telecast by saying the other’s name: “Frank”…”Max”….”Peter,” etc. -Wikipedia
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