Michael Cottman - Biography  

Michael H. Cottman, an award-winning journalist and author,
is a regular contributor to NBCBLK/NBC News.

[javascript protected email address]    www.michaelhcottman.com   (301) 537-5947

  • Cottman covers the 2016 presidential campaign and writes about the Obama administration, social justice issues, pop culture, and America's ever-changing multicultural landscape.

  • Cottman has received numerous awards including journalism's highest honor, the Pulitzer Prize, which he earned with a team of reporters and editors at Newsday in 1992 for Newsday’s coverage of a deadly subway crash in New York.

  • He also serves as a Senior Correspondent for BlackAmericaWeb.com, a division of Radio One/REACH Media, the nation's largest black-owned media company. He offers political analysis about President Barack Obama and focuses on the administration’s economic, education and health-care policies.

  • Cottman has interviewed White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett on several occasions about how the president’s new housing and economic initiatives will benefit disenfranchised Americans during the president’s second term in office.

  • A former reporter for The Washington Post, Newsday, The Atlanta Constitution and The Miami Herald, Cottman has also served as a lecturer in the Department of Journalism at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

  • Cottman’s interview with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for a story published in Ebony magazine, September 2014, was Holder’s last lengthy, sit-down interview before he announced his resignation as head of the U.S Department of Justice.

  • He appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2000 to discuss his book, "The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie." He has also been a guest on CNN; NPR; PBS; C-SPAN Booknotes; ABC News and CBS News affiliates, The Learning Channel, The History Channel and Al Jazeera TV.

  • Cottman has provided political analysis for “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” XM Satellite Radio, and several national Radio One stations, which are owned by radio personality Tom Joyner and businesswoman Cathy Hughes. In addition, Cottman has appeared on National Public Radio (NPR) “Tell Me More” with Michel Martin.

  • In 2012, Cottman hosted an hour-long radio program on American University’s radio station, WAMU, called “Conversations,” a show that offered the Washington, D.C. audience interviews and insights from D.C. residents about timely national, local, and international issues.

  • In addition, Cottman is the author of three books, including The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie, (Crown/Random House) the story of a sunken 17th Century slave ship that sank off the coast of Florida in 1700 and Cottman’s underwater exploration of the 300-year-old vessel.

  • Cottman is currently writing a book for National Geographic about the Henrietta Marie slave ship. The book for young adults, Shackles From The Deep, is scheduled for publication April, 2017.

  • He was also the creator of the popular segment “Ask The White House with Michael Cottman” that was featured on BlackAmericaWeb.com and “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” where White House Cabinet members and senior advisors answered questions from black Americans. The first two guests for the segment were First Lady Michelle Obama and White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett.

  • In 2008, Cottman covered Barack Obama’s historic presidential campaign, traveling with Obama to key campaign stops and interviewing Obama exclusively one-on-one on the campaign plane two weeks before Obama was elected as the nation’s first African American president.

  • Cottman has written about politics, social trends, race, and America's expanding multi-cultural society. He has interviewed and written about some of the world's most prominent news makers, including President Barack Obama, United States Attorney General Eric Holder; White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, former South African President Nelson Mandela, the late John F. Kennedy Jr., former New York Mayors Ed Koch, David Dinkins and Rudolph Guliani, and former President Bill Clinton.

  • In the early 1990s, Cottman served as a political analyst for WRKS-FM radio and also served as a regular analyst for a journalism political roundtable on New York City’s PBS television station, WNET.

  • Cottman also worked with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to create a national, multi-media project, “Voyage to Discovery,” an education initiative that focuses on the African American contribution to the maritime industry spanning 300 years and efforts to teach students of color about careers in marine biology and oceanography. www.voyagetodiscovery.org In February 2011, the White House listed “Voyage to Discovery” as one of its top education/history initiatives during Black History Month.

  • His articles have also been published in The Washington Post Sunday Magazine; CNN.com, Essence and Black Enterprise. As a writer who enjoys creative diversity, Cottman also wrote a three-part series in 2005 about life, culture and scuba diving in Malaysia.

  • Cottman spent four years researching the origin of the Henrietta Marie and retraced the route of the slave ship, traveling to every port of call and scuba diving inlets where the ship anchored. He traveled to three continents to reconstruct the slaving voyages of the Henrietta Marie and, as a certified scuba diver, helped explore the remains of the vessel which yielded 20,000 artifacts, including the largest collection of slave-ship shackles ever found on one site. It is the only sunken slave ship in the United States to be scientifically documented.

  • In 1993, Cottman was part of a group of black scuba divers that placed a one-ton monument on the site of the slave ship to commemorate the African people who died aboard the Henrietta Marie and those lost during the Middle Passage. Today, the monument is the only underwater memorial of its kind in the nation.

  • A bronze plaque is embedded on the concrete monument. The inscription reads: "Henrietta Marie: In memory and recognition of the courage, pain and suffering of enslaved African people. Speak her name and gently touch the souls of our ancestors."

  • Cottman, who has logged dozens of dives on the slave-ship site, co-sponsors annual trips to the wreck of the Henrietta Marie for certified divers. The site is protected by several federal marine agencies. In June 2005, Cottman joined several NABS members in taking a group of public school students to the Henrietta Marie site, marking the first time African American public school students had visited the wreck.

  • He also served on a special advisory board for the National Geographic Society, assisted in the multi-media development of National Geographic’s highly-acclaimed "Real Pirates" exhibit, which reveals the life of pirates through the artifacts of the Whydah, a slave ship-turned pirate ship that sank off the coast of Cape Cod nearly 300 years ago.

  • Cottman was featured in a 2008 National Geographic documentary entitled "The Pirate Code," the story of a 300-year-old shipwreck, The Whydah, and the life Black Sam Bellamy - a legend during the Golden Age of Piracy that follows one man’s quest to resurrect Black Sam’s ship from its watery grave. Cottman also appeared in a 2007 documentary by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) entitled "Moira Stuart: In Search of Wilberforce," the story of the British involvement in trans-Atlantic slave trade.

  • He frequently lectures about journalism, African-American history, contemporary social issues, the politics of race, underwater exploration and the African slave trade. He was a 2007 recipient of a newly-created political journalism fellowship sponsored by the Knight Foundation and The University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communication.

  • Cottman's journalism travels have taken him across the United States reporting on social conditions in communities from Miami to Los Angeles. He has also reported from West Africa, South Africa, North Africa, (Morocco) France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Central America, and throughout the Caribbean.

  • In 1998, Cottman traveled to Dakar, Senegal to write about President Bill Clinton's historic trip to Africa, the most extensive visit to Africa by a U.S. President. In 2005, Cottman served as the keynote speaker for Great Britain's annual Slavery Remembrance Day, held in Liverpool, England.

  • Some of his other presentations include: The Smithsonian; National Geographic Society; The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); The Getty Foundation; the National Museums Liverpool, Liverpool, England; The Georgia Aquarium, the Dusable Museum of Chicago; Wayne State University; The Junior League of Richmond; the National Association of Black Genealogists; the Detroit African-American History Museum; The Daytona Beach Museum of Arts and Science; the National Aquarium in Baltimore, The Boston Aquarium; Howard University, Clark Atlanta University, The University of North Carolina, Virginia Tech University, The Little Rock Museum of History, the Augusta Museum of History, The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture; the Mote Marine Research Laboratory, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

  • Cottman attended Clark Atlanta University where he majored in journalism. He also belongs to a number of professional associations, including The Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society, and the National Association of Black Scuba Divers. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) certified Cottman as an Advanced Open Water scuba diver in 1991.