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First black NBC correspondent dies
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First black NBC correspondent dies

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BETHESDA, Md. (AP) -- William C. Matney Jr., the first black correspondent for NBC News, died of respiratory failure June 13. He was 76.

Matney's journalism career in print and broadcast spanned more than 30 years. He served as a correspondent for NBC and ABC from 1963-1978, where his beats included Capitol Hill and the White House.

Born in West Virginia, Matney graduated from the University of Michigan with a journalism degree. He took his first reporting job in 1946 with The Michigan Chronicle. He eventually became managing editor, a post he held for 10 years.

In 1962, Matney became the first black reporter and writer for The Detroit News. He was recruited in 1963 by NBC News and was based in Chicago.

Matney's NBC colleague, Fred Thomas, said he was a thorough journalist who specialized in mentoring younger reporters. Matney rarely mentioned the fact that he had broken a color barrier at the network.

``He just said if you do a good job, that's all that counts,'' Thomas said.

Matney took a particular interest in covering stories about race, often producing them himself, said his daughter, Angelique Matney. He also was the founding editor of ``Who's Who Among Black Americans.''

Matney retired from network news in 1978 and then was a public affairs official for the U.S. Census Bureau until 1993.

He was married from 1944-1953 to Anna Laura Shaw. His second wife of 26 years, Irene Matney, died in 1970. Survivors include daughters Alma and Angelique; son William III; and three grandchildren.

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