TheGrio's 100: Carol Jenkins, a media leader advocating for tomorrow's female journalists

theGRIOs 100- Carol Jenkins is an Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist who is most widely known as the former co-anchor of WNBC-TV's 6 p.m. newscast. Yet she also started the Women's Media Center, a non-profit group dedicated to helping women succeed in media.

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Carol Jenkins is an Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist who is most widely known as the former co-anchor of WNBC-TV’s 6 p.m. newscast, a position she held for 23 years.

In addition to her anchoring position, Jenkins was the executive producer of the PBS Documentary “What I Want My Words To Do To You,” which won an award at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival.

She is also the co-author of “Black Titan, A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire,” which in 2004 was selected by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association as one of the best non-fiction books of the year.

Furthermore, Jenkins was the founder and president of the Women’s Media Center, a non-profit group dedicated to helping women succeed in media. In recent times, she serves on the group’s board of directors.

Carol Jenkins is making history … as one of the leading black females in media. With her decades-long career in front of the camera, and her behind-the-scenes roles as a producer and author, Jenkins has been a force in the media world, a place where women of color often face struggles to achieve longstanding and high-ranking roles.

What’s next for Carol?

Jenkins occasionally blogs about the media, specifically pertaining to women of color, on her website. She also continues to go on speaking engagements and consult with companies about their media needs. She’s in the process of working on a book about her family’s history in journalism.

In her own words …

“When my father and stepfather engaged in journalism — creating and working for the black press, it was due to extreme segregation. In the 1970s, I was among the first wave of black television reporters — and women,” Jenkins said during an interview for the Women’s Media Center. “That inclusion came on the heels of rioting in the streets and federal mandates. It was a major source of wonderment that women and people of color would be allowed to participate. Now we see that there is still ground to cover — that the assumption that equality would be a natural process was faulty.”

A little-known fact about women owning commercials

Women own only 6 percent of all commercial broadcast TV stations in the U.S., while minorities own only 3 percent of them, according to a 2006 Free Press study.

For more information, click here.

Q: What’s next in this chapter of your life?

A: I’m still fascinated by the possibilities of the internet. I have several projects in development, as well as a couple of film projects. But upmost on my agenda in the completion of my book—a look at the several generations of my family who worked in the media: reporting, publishing, writing.. It will be a look at the history of media and how people of color and women contributed and were treated..

Q: What’s a fact about you that many people don’t know?

A: That I was in Spike Lee’s film “Girl Six.” Playing an anchor, though, not a “call” girl. I also did a six week off-Broadway run in Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues.”Good think I stuck to my day job!

Q:. What’s your favorite quote?

A: Well, of the moment, it’s a Warren Buffett quote:
1. Stick to what you’re good at.
2. Have a lot of cash on hand (In his case, $20B)
3. Answer the phone when it rings.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration?

A: I had pretty amazing examples in my parents and extended family, all of whom surmounted obstacles that would have daunted less strong and inventive people. My daughter and I wrote about my aunt and uncle in “Black Titan: A,G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire.” Literally from slave cabin to hugely successful businessman. I’m writing about my parents in the new book.

Q: Who are/were your mentors?

A: My mother, Elizabeth Gardner Jenkins, was my best mentor. She showed me how to have a great career without shortchanging your loved ones. She was hard working and compassionate and encouraging.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to achieve their dreams?

A: The hard part is identifying what you really want. Then, selecting really helpful mentors. Then, staying focused long enough to get something done. My uncle, who had Ten Rules of Success, advocated wearing the same suit for a year or so as you accumulate security, and paying yourself first. Still good advice.