Driven By Podcast

39. “Education Was My Way Off The Farm” with Otis Sanford

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My guest this week is Otis Sanford.

This episode is loaded with experiences, insights, a deeper understanding of how journalism works and where it’s headed.

We talk about when he fell in love with journalism, political machines, why he doesn’t mind criticism, the funniest story he has covered, the politician who didn’t take things personally, and all of the journalism changes and more.

In 1975 Otis became the first male African American reporter for the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion ledger. Otis then would be the Assistant City Editor for the Pittsburgh Press, deputy City Editor of the Detroit Free Press, and the Commercial Appeal’s Managing Editor with a few other titles along the way :). He has also served as the chairman of the Mid America Press Institute. He was president of the Associated Press Managing Editors Association. In 2011 he joined the University of Memphis Department of Journalism Faculty, where he is the Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism. Otis currently writes a weekly column for the Daily Memphian.

Please enjoy this week’s episode with Otis Sanford!

Have a great week!


48 Seconds: First Male African American to work at the Clarion Ledger

1:14 Como, Mississippi growing up on the farm

1:53 The impact of cotton

3:31 Wanting to get off the farm

4:01 Father loved newspapers

4:47 Reading to my father

5:12 Fell in love by doing that

5:51 I first wanted to be a reporter at 12 years old

7:40 Looking up to Hank Aaron

7:51 The changes with the delivery of Journalism

8:18 Why print was the dominant way we got our news

9:46 Now a days its two days old because of deadlines

11:23 the impact of change of advertising budgets

15:53 It was a daily experience being able to read

19:47 How to compete in this digital age

20:17 How to communicate differently whether tv and radio

20:55 Be a good storyteller if you want to be an opinion journalist

21:45 Bob Woodward- He has the ability to get people to tell him anything

25:56 Good editor who was patient with me

30:42 How I created my leads

38:51 As long as your reading I’m fine with being criticized

41:24 Don’t make the same mistake twice

45:33 How people view race through their own lense

45:38 Why newspapers are influential

59:00 The mark of a good political leader

1:00:00 Any criticism I do it’s policy not personal

1:04:50 Growing up as a child of segregation

1:06:58 When social justice became part of my DNA

1:08:40 Growing up and that drove me

1:10:28 Importance of my parents support

1:13:01 My family wouldn’t let me give up

1:16:05 Don’t accept excuses just do it

1:18:51 How Phil Trenary crossed racial lines

1:22:23 As long as you care

1:23:15 I’m always trying to keep calm

1:34:31 I’ve stopped telling people the printed newspaper will be round for my whole lifetime

1:37:12 The demand of news will continue to grow


Matt Haaga State Farm
AB Jets
Otis Stanford Bio