The Root: The Prince Story Became Personal in Newsrooms Across the Country

The personal became the professional this week as the sudden death at 57 Thursday of pop music icon Prince led news organizations to include the reminiscences of staff members who grew up listening to—or later reporting on—the superstar.

That personal involvement was part of a flood of coverage that engulfed a news media seeking a respite from presidential primary politics and demonstrated again how a diversity of backgrounds can make news coverage richer. It didn’t hurt that Prince appealed to the age demographic of so many who report and make decisions about news.

For a few unforgettable weeks in 1985, I had a girlfriend who used to lip-sync all the vocal parts of ‘Erotic City’ like she was a fully deputized member of Prince’s entourage,” Tony Norman wrote Friday in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Leona Allen wrote Thursday for the Dallas Morning News, “I discovered him around about 8th grade, with his big ol’ afro that he returned to in recent years. I had to hide some of the lyrics to his songs from my parents. . . .”

Alejandro Danois wrote Thursday for the Shadow League, “Prince’s music was the soundtrack of my adolescence and his presence hovered just beneath everything else that influenced me in the ’80s, ’90s, 2000’s and beyond.” In the Guardian, Steven W. Thrasher, who is biracial and was the 2012 Journalist of the Year for the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, became one of many who wrote that Prince challenged notions of manliness. “In recent years, long after I figured I was gay, I started buying Prince on vinyl: five albums have gotten me through writing this: 1999, Parade, Controversy, For You, and Around the World in a Day,” he wrote Thursday in the Guardian.

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