Letters: Reflecting on an Interview with Muhammad Ali

Dear Editors:

Congratulations on the “Journalism’s Brave New World” issue of the magazine. It reminded me of my earlier career in journalism.

As a columnist for The Argus while at Wesleyan, I proposed a series of articles reporting the events on New England campuses, and during this era (1974–75), I had an opportunity to delve into some topical issues, as you can see here.

It was an exciting time, and although there was only one journalism faculty member, dear Jack Paton ’49, P’75, I greatly appreciated my courses.

When I became the first African American, full-time news reporter at WPRI-TV, Providence, Rhode Island, in 1977, I was one of only two women in a 25-person newsroom. The racial discrimination and sexual harassment were overt and tough for a 22-year-old, barely out of Wesleyan. I covered everything, statewide, in those days: politics, crime, strikes, human interest, and visits from the glitterati.

One of these, Muhammad Ali, who had an exhibition bout in Providence, provided me with an exclusive interview opportunity. When he passed away, my local station here in Sacramento, California, honored me with the opportunity to reflect on that conversation with him.

Although life led me, ultimately, into a career in higher education, Wesleyan and my New England roots helped me make a contribution.

Adrienne Scott ’76
Roseville, California