‘Someone Who Looked Like Me’: DC Publisher Tells How Jim Vance Inspired African Americans

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Denise Rolark Barnes was just a teenager when a young African-American reporter named Jim Vance came to Washington in 1969.

"[I was] really excited to see someone who looked like me who really had a connection to the community to be on television," Barnes said.

Vance quickly became a household name and he developed a following of loyal viewers who would stick with him and NBC4 for decades to come.

Barnes said Vance was on the frontline of a diversity movement, covering stories people cared about.

"More African Americans were going into elective office and so it was an interesting era. Jim Vance seemed to come into D.C. owning it and claiming it," she said.

Barnes is now a publisher of the Washington Informer, a newspaper founded by her late father and dedicated to covering African American issues.

"I just wish some of the young people that are aspiring to these careers in journalsim, broadcast journalism, could really take some time to learn about Jim Vance and his contributions to this community," she said.

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