Malvin R. Goode was a pioneer in broadcast journalism, becoming the first African-American news correspondent for a major television network on this day in 1962. Goode arrived at the pinnacle of his career later in life, but his accomplishment serves as a testament to the work ethic he developed in the steel mills of Pittsburgh.
Malvin Russell Goode was born February 13, 1908 in White Plains, Virginia. He was raised primarily in Homestead, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh. As a high school and college student at the University of Pittsburgh, Goode worked in the steel mills in the larger city to the north.
The Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brother was then employed by the YMCA in Pittsburgh as its boys work director. Goode was instrumental in working to end racial discrimination at the Pittsburgh locations of the YMCA. After his time there, he moved to the city’s housing authority. In 1948, Goode started his journalism career at the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper remaining there for the next 14 years.
During his journalism career, Goode began working in broadcast radio with KQV and worked his way up to hosting a daily five-minute news program on WHOD. He was named WHOD’s news director in 1952. Ten years later, Goode’s big break came when he became ABC’s first Black network news correspondent. Goode was reportedly hired after baseball icon Jackie Robinson complained to the network executives that there weren’t enough Black reporters on air. At the time, Goode was 54 years old.
Goode’s reported on the Cuban Missile Crisis and the debates happening within the halls of the United Nations. Despite his late entry to journalism, Goode gained the respect of his peers and was even cited as a mentor to celebrated news anchor Peter Jennings. In 1963, Goode and others taught journalism to African students via a seminar series in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tanzania. In 1968, he also covered the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Among Goode’s awards and acknowledgments, he became the first Black member of the Radio and Television News Director Association. In 1972, he became president of the United Nations Correspondents Association. He was also a member of 100 Black Men in New York and worked with the National Black Network. Goode is the recipient of the Mary McLeod Bethune Award from Bethune-Cookman College and the Michelle Clark Award from the Columbia University School of Journalism.
Goode was married to Mary Lavelle and the couple had six children together. Goode died of a stroke at the age of 87 in Pittsburgh. His funeral at Lincoln Avenue Church of God in Pittsburgh was attended by the aforementioned Jennings and many of Goode’s journalism peers.