Ted Koppel, Dr. Jesse Lewis talk journalism in Birmingham - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Ted Koppel, Dr. Jesse Lewis talk journalism in Birmingham

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Dr. Jesse Lewis, left, talks to veteran ABC broadcaster Ted Koppel in Birmingham Thursday, September 12, 2013. (abc3340.com) Dr. Jesse Lewis, left, talks to veteran ABC broadcaster Ted Koppel in Birmingham Thursday, September 12, 2013. (abc3340.com)
BIRMINGHAM - AL -

Two journalism veterans who got their start covering the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama united tonight. ABC broadcaster Ted Koppel interviewed Birmingham Times founder, Dr. Jesse Lewis.

This event highlighted the impact of the stories, pictures, and video that followed the Civil Rights Movement.  Dr. Jesse Lewis founded the Birmingham Times newspaper in 1963.  It covered the untold stories of the African American community and consequently, made history. 

Veteran ABC broadcast journalist, Ted Koppel came to Alabama to cover his first big assignment - the Selma March. 

"With the bombing of the church and the deaths of those young children, it focused quite literally global attention on Birmingham," Koppel said. 

He told us, it's the local media that had the most impact on Civil Rights coverage - and the Birmingham Times - created by Dr. Jesse Lewis in 1963. 

Lewis started the Birmingham Times in an era where the only stories about African American families.. were negative ones. 

"I just decided that we needed to tell a positive story about black people and not only tell a story, but record history," Dr. Lewis said.

"The white media didn't pay any attention to the affairs to the affairs of African Americans unless they committed some heinous crime," Koppel said. "Then they got all the attention in the world. Black newspapers have played an enormously huge part in this country and the Birmingham Times is one of them."

 Starting a newspaper, focusing on the African American community was no easy task in the heart of the Movement. 

"It's never been easy and that doesn't bother me," Dr. Lewis said. "I've never done anything easy in my lifetime."

"Certainly things have changed drastically over the last 50 years, for the most part, to the good," Koppel said.

Dr. Lewis told us tonight, after achieving great success as President of Lawson State-, an appointment to Gov. Wallace's staff, and the Times founder, along with 4 degrees and a Ph.D., he plans to strive for one more: 

"I've never finished high school, so when I turn 90 I'm going to finish 10th, 11th, and 12th," Lewis said. "I just want my high school diploma!"

Alabama Power announced the "Foundation for Progress in Journalism" created in Dr. Lewis' name.  The foundation is aimed at training the next generation of journalists. 

 

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