Metro Weekly

News anchor Max Robinson to be honored at special panel discussion

The lasting legacy of Max Robinson, the late, history-making news anchor, is the subject of a free panel next Wednesday

Max Robinson at ABC World News Tonight desk

“Max Robinson was very loved in the D.C. community,” says Abby Fenton, chief external affairs officer for Whitman-Walker Health. “He was somebody people looked up to and saw as a real pioneer.”

Over the course of two decades, Robinson was a well-known television fixture, working as a reporter for D.C.’s NBC affiliate, and later as a local news anchor for the CBS. In 1978, he was hired as a co-anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight, where he made history as the first African-American anchor of a national news program.

A founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists, Robinson won two Emmys for The Other Washington, a news documentary chronicling the lives of African-American residents in D.C.’s Anacostia neighborhood. He died in December of 1988, of complications from HIV/AIDS.

In memory of Robinson, and in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Southeast D.C. health center that bears his name, Whitman-Walker Health and PNC Bank will host a panel discussion on his legacy at the Lincoln Theatre next Wednesday morning, Feb. 21.

The panel, moderated by Robinson’s CBS co-anchor Gordon Peterson, will feature remarks from network colleagues Maureen Bunyan and Bruce Johnson, Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune, and Mark Robinson, Max’s son, who works for the Montgomery County Sentinel.

“I’m really interested to hear the perspective of my dad’s colleagues who were in journalism at the time,” says Mark Robinson. “They will be able to convey a wealth of knowledge about the impact my dad had on journalism. I want people to remember him in context with the history of broadcast journalism, and his place in it.”

Pioneers of Black Journalism: Honoring the Legacy of Max Robinson is Wednesday, Feb. 21, from 8-11 a.m. at the Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW.

A light breakfast will be served at 8 a.m., with the panel discussion starting at 9 a.m. The event is free and open to the public, but attendees must RSVP by emailing or calling 202-204-5531.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at

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