From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

McGruder, Robert G. "Bob"

(born: 1942  -  died: 2002) 

Robert G. McGruder, born in Louisville, KY, was the executive editor of the Detroit Free Press and is remembered for his leadership in the field of journalism.

He became the first African American reporter for the Plain Dealer (Cleveland) newspaper in 1963. McGruder then served two years in the U.S. Army, after which he returned to journalism. In 1996 he became the first African American executive editor of the Free Press. He was also the first African American to become president of the Associated Press Managing Editors (APME).

McGruder received the William Taylor Distinguished Alumni Award from Kent State University School of Journalism (now the Kent State School of Media and Journalism); he was a 1963 graduate of the school. In 2002, he received the Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity Award from Wayne State University. (Helen Thomas is also a Kentucky native). The prior year, McGruder received the John S. Knight Gold Medal, the highest honor given to a Knight Ridder employee. The McGruder Award is named in Bob McGruder's honor in recognition of individual efforts in hiring and retaining minority journalists.

For more see "Robert McGruder, executive editor of the Detroit Free Press, dies at age 60," The Associated Press, Domestic News, 4/12/2002; "Free Press editor praised for ideals - his life and career are remembered for both greatness and goodness," Detroit Free Press, 4/19/2002, NWS Section, p. 1A; and "McGruder Award recipients named - diversity prize honors late Free Press editor," Detroit Free Press, 10/25/2002.

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Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Plain dealer, The (newspaper) (Cleveland)
NKAA Source: The Associated Press State & Local Wire
NKAA Source: Detroit free press (newspaper)

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“McGruder, Robert G. "Bob",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 23, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-06-26 16:53:28