Former NABJ president Bryan Monroe suffers a fatal heart attack at age 55

'He helped countless journalism professionals and students to hone their skills in achieving excellence in their craft.'

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Beloved journalist and educator Bryan Monroe has died at age 55. 

Monroe, who once served as president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), suffered a fatal heart attack at his home in Bethesda, Maryland, on Wednesday morning, according to a statement released by the organization.

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NABJ President Dorothy Tucker said Monroe “has been a trailblazer in our industry for years.”

She continued, “We are both shocked and deeply saddened by his passing. He helped countless journalism professionals and students to hone their skills in achieving excellence in their craft.” 

Tucker added: “Bryan texted me just a couple of days ago to check in on me. He was a true friend who provided advice, support and an ear when needed. I cannot imagine NABJ without him.”

Monroe led the NABJ from 2005 to 2007. He was also the Verizon chair and a professor at the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University in Philadelphia. As vice president and editorial director at EBONY and Jet magazines, Monroe conducted the first post-election interview with President Barack Obama. He is also the last journalist Michael Jackson spoke to before his death in 2009.

“He liked to connect people who were in different worlds — whether it was the media world, Hollywood, journalism, academia,” said Suzanne Malveaux, a longtime friend and CNN national correspondent. “He loved to cook. He brought people to be at his house often — well, not this past year, unfortunately. And he loved to bake.”

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In a message to faculty and staff on Wednesday, David Boardman, the Dean of Klein College Dean, called Monroe “a loyal friend, loving father, a gifted journalist and caring, dedicated teacher.” 

He also noted Monroe’s efforts to elevate journalists of color in newsrooms across the nation. 

“In fact, for the past two months, he has been co-leading a Klein College task force performing a content and culture audit for The Philadelphia Inquirer,” Boardman wrote.

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