Journalist Emery King on Race, Trump and Network News

Emery King spent part of his life traveling the world with Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan as the NBC White House Correspondent, but realized there was a ceiling for Black network news anchors

Journalist, news anchor, documentarian and producer Emery King, was born in Gary, Ind. before his career took him to Chicago and then Washington, D.C.

“Our function was to inform, to educate, and engage the public on issues that were significant to their community and their lives—to give voice to the voiceless and to shine a light in dark corners.” — Emery King, journalist

As an accomplished pianist, he wanted to be a performer and pursue music, but the public would come to know him in a completely different way — standing on the White House lawn covering the Carter and Reagan Administrations at the White House Correspondent for NBC. Early in his career, he was instilled with a philosophy in journalism that would be his mantra for decades to come:

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In This Episode

  • Emery shares “a day in the life” covering both President Carter and President Reagan, the pace at which he worked following these leaders around the world, and the differences in how these two presidents worked. When his aspirations to sit at the anchor desk materialized, he realized there was a ceiling and each network had one broadcasting spot for a person of color. He decided to return to local news and landed in Detroit. 

“What I found most fascinating and rewarding to me was the respect of the people in this community, and the love, because once they accept you, once Detroiters accept you, you’re golden.” — Emery King, News Anchor

  • Emery King worked in network news at a very different time, before the 24-hour news cycle, but is heartened by what he now sees from today’s journalists. However, he holds the media accountable for their role in President Donald Trump occupying the highest office in the land.

“They gave [Trump] all kinds of time during the primary that was just really unwarranted and uncalled for. They put him in office.”

  • Emery talks about his departure from the Detroit network, WDIV, the outpouring of public support he received and the network’s efforts to rehire him when they realized how important he was to their audience. Emery would go on to produce documentaries focusing on African American history and would be hired by Detroit’s future mayor, Mike Duggan, who ran the Detroit Medical Center in Detroit. Gov. Jennifer Graholm recruited Emery to serve as the Chairman of the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council bringing a new industry to the state of Michigan.

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  • Ann Delisi
    Ann Delisi hosts Essential Music, the Essential Conversations podcast series and the Essential Cooking broadcast and podcast. Born and raised in the Motor City, Ann is a broadcaster, interviewer, producer, music host, storyteller and proud Detroiter.