Malvin Russell Goode was the first African American news correspondent for a major television network. Goode was born on February 13, 1908, in White Plains, Virginia, but his family moved to Homestead, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, when he was very young. Goode, the third of four boys and two girls, attended public school in Homestead, Pennsylvania. While still in high school, Goode began working nights at U.S. Steel’s Homestead Mill where his father was employed, and continued his employment there even as he attended the University of Pittsburgh. He received a bachelor’s degree there in 1931. After graduation, he continued to work at the mill because jobs were difficult to find during the Great Depression.
In 1936 Goode finally left the Homestead Mill to become a probation officer for Pittsburgh’s juvenile court. He also worked at Pittsburgh’s Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). In 1942 he became the manager of the Pittsburgh Housing Authority, remaining at that post for six years.
In 1948 Goode, at the age of forty, became a journalist when he was offered a job as a reporter for the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the two largest black newspapers in the United States. He became a radio broadcaster in 1949, working for Pittsburgh’s AM radio station KQV, doing fifteen-minute news shows. Goode also worked for WHOD television station where he anchored a five-minute daily news show. He was named the station news director in 1952. While there, Goode became the first African American member of the National Association of Radio and Television News Directors.
In 1962 Goode, at the age of fifty-four, became the first black network news correspondent when he was hired by ABC Television News as its United Nations (UN) reporter in New York City. The position was created when former baseball player Jackie Robinson publicly had complained to ABC executives about the lack of black reporters. Goode was hired over forty other candidates.
After a few months on the job, Goode received his first major assignment: covering