In Memoriam: Steven Manley Jones
Steve Jones was born in Washington, D.C., on May 11,1956, the youngest of the late William and Irene Moore Jones’ two children.
Steve’s early education was in the District of Columbia Public Schools where he graduated from H.D. Woodson High School. He continued his education at Howard University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism. While at Howard, Steve had an internship in the Sports Department of The Enquirer newspaper in Columbus, Ga.
Steve launched his professional journalism career as a sports writer for The Oakland Press in Pontiac, Mich., in 1978. He moved on to The Evening Press and The Sun Bulletin newspapers in Binghamton, N.Y. Steve joined USA TODAY in 1985 as a copy editor for the fledgling
newspaper. He remained with the organization for nearly 28 years in a variety of positions, including layout editor, science editor, copy desk chief and movies and music editor. During that time he wrote a number of book reviews and stories about music, science fiction, martial arts films, comic books and the American West. In 1994, he inspired and co-authored a USA TODAY project on black fathers.
From 1992 to 1995 he co-wrote a video review column, Staying Home at the Movies, which was distributed weekly by Gannett News Service. During the last 19 years of his career at USA TODAY, Steve was a widely acclaimed music critic. He introduced readers to a wide variety of artists and trends, and he shed light on the cultural and artistic significance of everything from Michael Jackson’s tragic odyssey to the Bay Area’s youth-culture hyphy craze. He interviewed such
legends as Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and James Brown, as well as contemporary superstars like Jay-Z, Kanye West and Alicia Keys. He was also an adjunct professor at Howard University, his alma mater, during the 1990s.
Steve received the National Association of Black Journalists Arts & Entertainment Task Force Legacy Award in 2006. Steve’s friends, family and co-workers affectionately called him “The Doctor” and “Doc” because of his vast knowledge of many subjects. He was caring, a thinker, a storyteller, a consummate professional, and a cool and unflappable student of the world who never argued about anything except the Redskins.
Steve was a proud and devoted father to sons, J amel, 26, and Delante Jones, 17. Under Steve’s guidance, both young men have thrived. He is also survived by his brother, William Andrew Jones Jr., of Jacksonville, N.C., and a host of family and friends.