Kent State journalism Knight Chair candidates down to four

Emily Andrews

The search for the next Knight Chair, a tenured position within the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is down to four candidates.

There are only 20 Knight Chairs in the country and Kent State received the 20th position. The person who fills the position will start Fall 2007.

By April, a decision will have been made and the recipient will be in final negotiations, said Barbara Hipsman-Springer, search director for the chairholder, and professor in journalism and mass communications.

The Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism will be a media professional with a history of scholastic activity and First Amendment awareness. He or she must be able to persuade others of the importance scholastic journalism can play in a democracy. With the assistance of Kent State’s new Center for Scholastic Journalism, this individual will help set an agenda to excite high school journalism students.

“The candidate needs to have an understanding of issues facing high school students and a willingness and knowledge of how to attract funding for projects that would improve democracy in action and in practice at the pre-college level,” Hipsman-Springer said.

There have been many steps in decreasing the number of applicants from about 35 to four.

The applicants ranged from newspaper editors to directors of major non-profit journalism programs, Hipsman-Springer said.

The four finalists are Alice Bonner, Mark Goodman, John R. Irby and Michael Roberts.

Alice Bonner

Bonner was director of journalism education for The Freedom Forum, coordinator of news staff reporting for the Gannett Company Inc. and held various positions at The Washington Post and many other jobs.

“From the start of my career, I have consistently helped to mentor and train young journalists in a variety of settings. I know my way around the professional and academic worlds of journalism, and I am acquainted with many of the leaders and institutions of scholastic journalism,” Bonner said in her application.

Mark Goodman

Goodman, among his many credentials, is an executive director of the Student Press Law Center and primary author of Law of the Student Press.

“As executive director of the Student Press Law Center for the past 21 years, I’ve had an incredible opportunity to advise and counsel high school and college journalists and their teachers/advisers and to support their efforts to produce quality journalism free from censorship,” Goodman said in his application.

John R. Irby

Irby has held a variety of jobs including associate professor, journalism degree program coordinator and associate director at Washington State and more than 25 years of newspaper experience.

“This is a critical period for journalism with government secrecy, administration control, converging and ever-changing platforms, competitions and technologies,” Irby said in his application. “But there is great hope for the future because of our student journalists.”

Michael Roberts

Roberts has a lot of experience including deputy managing editor of staff development/projects at The Arizona Republic, a principal presenter for The Associated Press Managing Editors NewsTrain’s two-day workshops and training editor/writing coach for The Cincinnati Enquirer.

“I am someone who has always welcomed and thrived in situations where I am creating new things. I am the person people turn to for solutions, new approaches, and new programs, to manage change and establish new and sustainable operations,” Roberts said in his application.

What the job entails

The responsibilities of the Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism, according to the application, include the following:

• Seek opportunities to present the case for scholastic journalism’s future as a cornerstone to build civic involvement in a younger generation in national settings such as media conventions and forums.

• Collaborate with professional and scholastic journalism associations to improve communication between the worlds of work and academy on the secondary and collegiate levels.

• Work with the Center for Scholastic Journalism and the journalism school’s faculty to develop innovative research reflecting the state of scholastic journalism, possibly issuing periodic white papers showing how those committed to scholastic journalism can make an impact.

• Develop courses and workshops for current and future journalism teachers and student media advisers, including foundation offerings for newly recruited and under-trained advisers and innovative offerings to rejuvenate long-time advisers.

• Coordinate fundraising for both scholastic journalism national projects and workshops for high school advisers.

“The Knight Chair is basically the head of the Scholastic Media Program … but the Knight Chair will also teach courses at Kent State, so Journalism and Mass Communication students can have him or her as their teacher,” said Tim Magaw, sophomore newspaper journalism major and student on the search committee. Magaw is also the Daily Kent Stater‘s administration reporter. “I’d be excited to have any of them for my teacher.”

Kent State has been active in scholastic journalism for more than 60 years. The university has hosted the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ High School Journalism Institute for high school educators for six years. It also hosts two high school press associations, the Northeast Ohio Scholastic Press Association and the Journalism Association of Ohio Schools.

“(The applicants) should feel strongly that democracy is founded in journalism and have the ability to access facts and present them to people who vote and live everyday life,” Hipsman-Springer said.

Attend the candidates lectures

The final four candidates will give lectures on the First Amendment:

Goodman, Thursday; Roberts, March 1 and Bonner, March 8. Irby spoke Thursday. The lectures begin at 4 p.m. in Room 315 in the Student Center.

Contact College of Communication and Information and student media reporter Emily Andrews at [email protected].