Sunday, January 4, 2009

The first black news anchors in Europe

When Harry Roselmack started reading the news for a big televison station in France it seemed the face of Europe was changing. But since Obama’s victory black Europe is nail biting over its progress over the years. Although Black European news anchors are the visible sign of progress, some stories of the first black news readers show that change doesn’t come easy.

France

Harry Roselmack became the first black news anchor on France's TF1 2007, the largest privately owned television station in Europe. But his appointment was only temporarily, he was a just a sit in news anchor Patrick Poivre d'Arvor who to long six-week vacation. Roselmack’s appointment had everything to do with the France riots in 2005. He saw himself as a kind of beneficiary of that unrest. Roselmack was born in France, but is from Martinique descent.

But why did it took black France so long to get there? In an interview Roselmack sketches the French black society before he became news anchor: "Before 2000, two Black people would cross the street and not speak to each other, because we didn't see ourselves as Black, but French." To those who might not have felt this way before, skin color now seems to make a difference

Audrey Pulvar is the first black news anchor in France. She worked for Antilles television in Martinique before she was hired in 2004 to become the first Black presenter of the main evening news on a national French TV station. The difference with Roselmack is that he anchored the news for a far more bigger audience.

But for Pulvar the beginning was not easy. When she first came to France in 2000, looking for a TV job, she was told point-blank that "the French public is not ready" for a nonwhite face to present the news. Even more junior on-camera jobs were off limits; "I already have a black and I don't need another one," one television executive told her. In the interview Pulvar stated: "I had to prove myself continually, more than any White in a similar situation." Pulvar was born in Martinique.

United Kingdom

Barbara Blake Hannah was the first black news Anchor on British TV in 1968. Her TV presence was short, but her story reveals much of the working climate in those days. About her experience she wrote: ‘After nine months my contract was terminated and I was told that the producers were under pressure from viewers who called in daily to say, "Get that n****r off our screens." My producer tried to break it to me gently, but it still hurt, especially when I was replaced by an Australian girl.’ Blake was born in Jamaica.


Trevor McDonald became the first male black news anchor in the UK on ITN. He began reporting in 1973, and in 1989 he became one of the presenters of News at 5.40 on ITV. He ended his career in 2008. McDonald won more awards than any other British broadcaster, and was knighted to Sir in 1999. McDonald is born in Trinidad.

Moira Stuart was the second black British female newsreader in the UK. Since 1981, she has presented virtually every news bulletin the BBC devised. She was voted Best Newscaster of the Year in 1988 by the TV and Radio Industries Club Awards. In 2007 she quitted after it became clear that her age was becoming a problem. Steward was born in London to African-Caribbean parents.

Netherlands

Noraly Beyer is seen as the first black news anchor in the Netherlands. For 23 years from 1985 to 2008 she presented the news for the NOS, the Dutch BBC. Beyer is a strong advocate of black presence in the media and theatre. Beyer was born on the Dutch Antilles to Surinam parents.


Eugenie Herlaar is officially the first black News presenter in The Netherlands. Herlaar was a news reporter from 1965 to 1969. In 1975 she became the first black anchorwoman in the Netherlands to present the evening news. And she also was the first female on the news. In an interview Herlaar says that she never was aware of the fact that she was the first non-white presenting the news. Herlaar presented the news only in 1975, the year that the former colony Suriname became independent. Herlaar was born on the Dutch Antilles.

Germany

Germany has no black new anchors, but it does have a ‘minority’ anchor. In 2007 Dunya Hayali became the first 'minority' co-anchorwoman for Germany's prime time news program 'Heute-journal'. Haili has Iraqi parents. Hayali's appointment came after the so-called ‘integration summit’ which was chaired by the German leader Angela Merkel. Merkel wanted to avoid the ethnic friction experienced in Britain and France.

Black television journalists in Germany are rare. About one of the journalists The Times wrote a revealing story: 'The most high-profile black journalist in television – virtually the only one in front of a camera – is Cherno Jobatey, a half-Ghanian presenter of the ZDF breakfast programme. For years he wore white trainers under his suit so that viewers could refer to him as the “reporter in gym shoes” rather than the “black reporter”. Now he has taken to wearing leather shoes – a sign of growing social acceptance.'

The first!

The first black European news anchor is Eugenie Herlaar from the Netherlands. But the three old news veterans Trevor McDonald, Moira Stuart and Noraly Beyer who stopped reading the news where the most visible news readers.

Read:
The news from Paris: there are only three TV anchors who are 'coloring' the French airwaves
For French Blacks, a Face on TV News Is Only a Start
It wasn't Trevor or Moira - I was the first black British TV presenter
Newsreader leads way for minorities (Germany)

(This post was updated on 11/9/2010, Barbara Blake Hannah was added as the first black news Anchor on British TV)

9 Comments:

Black Presence said...

Really interesting Article, I'd be interested in doing some form of collaboration with your site. Let me know if you are interested.

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Anonymous said...

GGGIAN1

SAYS


KEEP THE FIYAH BLAZING!!!!!!!!!

Afro-Europe said...

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I am glad to see that you have mentioned Barbara Blake Hannah from Jamaica, she was the UK's first black female tv presenter, i only wish this fact was more recognized as Moira Stewart seems to get all the credit....

Afro-Europe said...

Thanks for the comment. If you have some information where I can find a picture of Barbara Blake Hannah reading the news, please let me know. I will place the photo in the post.

jamediapro said...

Photos of Barbara Blake on the job at THAMES TV can be found on Facebook/GROWING OUT: BLACK HAIR & BLACK PRIDE. This is Mrs. Blake Hannah's book about her experiences.If you give me an email address, I will send them to you, along with reviews of the book and report on the launch by Mrs. Beverly Manley, former First lady of Jamaica.

Afro-Europe said...

Jamediapro, thanks for the information! My email is afroeuropeblog@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hello Afro-Europe,

Thanks for this article. It is very informative.
I have one question regarding Audrey Pulvar. You said that she was told "I already have a black and I don't need another one".

Do you have the reference for this please? I would like to add it to an essay that I am doing but I need the original source where you got this information.

If Audrey Pulvar just said it in an interview, would you be able to give me the link to the interview please?

Thanks very much in advance,

Sincerely,

Shane

Afro-Europe said...

Hi Shane, I really wish I could help you, but this is a quote from an old French interview and I unfortunately have no reference of it anymore.

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