“Roy was a visionary and a guiding force at the Institute from its inception.”

–Dori Maynard, President, the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education

Roy Aarons, bottom right, helped to found the Maynard Institute, a leading organization for the formation of minority journalists. Bob Maynard is second from left in that row.
Roy Aarons founded the Sexual Orientation Issues in the News program at USC's Annenberg School of Communications.


At the Washington Post Roy met Robert C. Maynard, one of the Post’s few black journalists at the time. The two men became friends while covering the Newark race riots in 1967. Maynard was involved with a summer program for minority journalists at Columbia University, and urged Roy to join its faculty. The program moved to the University of California, Berkeley in 1976 as the Summer Program for Minority Journalists, and later became the Institute for Journalism Education, a model program in training and supporting minority journalists.

Roy was a founding board member, and served for many years. After Maynard’s death in 1993, the program was rechristened the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (MIJE). “Roy was a visionary and a guiding force at the Institute from its inception,” recalled Dori Maynard, Bob’s daughter and president of the Maynard Institute. “Whenever he saw injustice, he was going to fix it.” When Roy founded the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, he modeled its mission on MIJE’s.

Roy knew that coverage of the gay community, as with other minorities, required sophisticated training of journalists. In 1999, he joined the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications as a visiting professor of journalism, and founded and directed its Sexual Orientation Issues in the News program. Adapted by universities around the country, Roy’s landmark course analyzes how the media has helped shape public perception of gays and gay issues since the early 20th century.

Until his death, Roy also served as NLGJA’s representative to the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. On its 15th anniversary in 2006, NLGJA established the annual Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship Award for a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender student pursuing a journalism career. CNN provided $100,000 to fund the scholarship.