unc logo

Collection Number: 05237

Collection Title: Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998 (bulk 1968-1981)

This collection has access restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


expand/collapse Expand/collapse Collection Overview

Size 1.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 450 items)
Abstract Richard David Smyser became the founding editor of the Oak Ridger in Oakridge, Tenn., in 1949 and retired from that position in 1993. Smyser served as president of both the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Associated Press Managing Editors Association. He was dedicated to increasing the employment of minorities in the field of journalism and to making publications more inclusive of minorities. As leader of the Minorities Committee of ASNE in the late 1970s, Smyser established the goal of bringing newspaper workforces into parity with the population of the United States by the year 2000. The collection consists of correspondence, reports, lectures, pamphlets, clippings, notes, and other writings of journalist and newspaper editor Richard D. Smyser, chiefly pertaining to issues of minorities and journalism. The bulk of the material is from 1968-1982; during this time the Kerner Commission released its report detailing problems with employment of minorities in journalism. Smyser was dedicated to improving this situation and revisiting the report in ten years (1978), and he used his position as founding editor of the Oak Ridge, Tenn., Oak Ridger to work towards his goals. A majority of the papers included derive from Smyser's activities with the professional organizations, especially the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) and the Associated Press Managing Editors Association (APME). Also included are materials from numerous conferences addressing the issue of minorities and journalism.
Creator Smyser, Richard D. (Richard David), 1923-2005.
Language English
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
This collection contains additional materials that are not processed and are currently not available to researchers. For information about access to these materials, contact Research and Instructional Services staff. Please be advised that preparing unprocessed materials for access can be a lengthy process.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Richard D. Smyser Papers #5237, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Lucy Tashman of Decatur, Ga., in October 2005 (Acc. 100211).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Richard David Smyser was born on 19 August 1923 in York, Pa. The 1944 graduate of Penn State University began his career at the Chester (Pa.) Times (now the Delaware County Daily Times), and in 1949 became the founding editor of the Oak Ridger. He served as managing editor and editor of the Oak Ridge, Tenn., newspaper for over 40 years, retiring in 1993. Smyser held terms as president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and as president of the Associated Press Managing Editors Association, and chaired numerous committees of each organization during his career, focusing especially on issues of minorities and journalism. He was dedicated to increasing the employment of minorities in the field of journalism and to making publications more inclusive of minorities. As leader of the Minorities Committee of ASNE in the late 1970s, Smyser established the goal of bringing newspaper workforces into parity with the population of the United States by the year 2000.

The Penn State Board of Trustees awarded Smyser its Distinguished Alumni Award in 1985, and in 1986-1987 he held the position of Atwood Professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage Department of Journalism and Public Communications. Smyser is perhaps most well known for being credited, erroneously, with eliciting President Richard M. Nixon's "I am not a crook" declaration at an APME convention in Orlando, Fla., on 11 November 1973. Nixon made this statement at the end of his answer to a question posed by Smyser; however, he was referring to a previous question, in which he had been asked if his income taxes were properly reported. Smyser died on 14 March 2005 at the age of 81.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection consists of correspondence, reports, lectures, pamphlets, clippings, notes, and other writings of journalist and newspaper editor Richard D. Smyser, chiefly pertaining to issues of minorities and journalism. The bulk of the material is from 1968-1982; during this time the Kerner Commission released its report detailing problems with employment of minorities in journalism. Smyser was dedicated to improving this situation and revisiting the report in ten years (1978), and he used his position as founding editor of the Oak Ridge, Tenn., Oak Ridger to work towards his goals. A majority of the papers included derive from Smyser's activities with the professional organizations, especially the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) and the Associated Press Managing Editors Association (APME). Also included are materials from numerous conferences addressing the issue of minorities and journalism.

Back to Top

Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998.

Approximately 450 items.

Arrangement: alphabetically by folder name.

Note that, with few exceptions, original folder titles have been maintained.

Folder 1

American Press Institute Seminar, March 1956 #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 1

Folder 2

APME #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 2

Folder 3

APME: FOI (Freedom of Information) Committee Chairman, 1963-1965 (Free Press and Fair Trial) #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 3

Folder 4

APME: General News Committee, 1968, and other Committee Reports #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 4

Folder 5

ASNE: Minorities: Article on Year 2000 Goal and Supporting Materials, August 1995 #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 5

Folder 6

Athens, Ga., 3-4 December 1981 #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 6

Folder 7

Florida A&M, January 1981 #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 7

Folder 8

Free Press versus Fair Trial Readings #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 8

Folder 9

Gil Smith: Circulation Survey #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 9

Folder 10

Media-Minorities Conferences, 1980-1981 #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 10

Folder 11

Minorities Campus Conferences, 1980-1983 #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 11

Folder 12

Minorities: Nancy Hicks letter, 30 September 1977 #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 12

Folder 13

Minorities Seminar, Cleveland, Ohio, 25 October 1984 #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 13

Folder 14-22

Folder 14

Folder 15

Folder 16

Folder 17

Folder 18

Folder 19

Folder 20

Folder 21

Folder 22

Miscellaneous Papers #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 14-22

Folder 23

National Conference on Minorities and the News, 6-8 April 1978 #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 23

Folder 24

Northwestern, 25-26 March 1982 #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 24

Folder 25

Oak Ridge, 8-10 February 1978 #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 25

Folder 26

Penn State, 1980 #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 26

Folder 27

Penn State, 16-18 June 1981 #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 27

Folder 28-29

Folder 28

Folder 29

Speeches #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 28-29

Folder 30

Tucson, 27 February 1980 #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 30

Folder 31

University of Missouri, 18-20 February 1981 #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 31

Folder 32

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 22-24 March 1981 #05237, Series: "Richard D. Smyser Papers, 1956-1998." Folder 32

Back to Top

Processing Information

Processed by: Jodi Berkowitz, January 2006

Encoded by: Jodi Berkowitz, January 2006

Back to Top