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Cronkite professor named Fulbright Chair in Portugal

February 04, 2010

Professor Steve Doig of ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has been named a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Portugal.

Considered the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Scholar Program, only about 40 scholars with significant publication and teaching records are picked each year for the distinguished chairs at universities across Europe and elsewhere.

Doig, who holds the Knight Chair in Journalism at the Cronkite School, was selected for the Portugal 50th Anniversary Distinguished Chair, named in honor of the establishment of the Fulbright program in Portugal half a century ago. The Fulbright program is America’s flagship international education exchange program and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Doig will teach a graduate class in precision journalism and computer-assisted reporting at Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Lisbon this fall. He will teach students how to acquire public data and use computer software and statistical tools to tell stories about crime, education, elections, demographics, the economy and other governmental and social problems.

“Journalists in most European countries are only beginning to discover the power of precision journalism,” Doig said. “Most in the Portuguese press still have a considerable way to go. The journalism school at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa is very interested in raising the professionalism of newsrooms in the country.”

Doig also will conduct seminars around the country for students, faculty and professional journalists interested in computer-assisted and investigative reporting, develop precision journalism curricula and materials for faculty in Portugal and help organize a professional investigative journalism organization in the country.

“I hope to put all this in the context of the importance of an unfettered, independent and vigilant press as an essential part of a democratic society,” Doig said.

Faculty at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa has been talking about developing a precision journalism curriculum for years, according to Joao Saagua, dean of Faculdade de Ciencias Sociais e Humanas at Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Doig’s arrival means it will finally happen, he wrote.

Doig is a pioneer in precision journalism, which utilizes social science tools and techniques to produce better reporting. He is a 23-year newspaper veteran who used computer analysis of government records to produce numerous award-winning investigative stories for The Miami Herald in Florida, including a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Since joining ASU in 1996, Doig has traveled to teach and train journalism students and professionals in Spain, Brazil, Indonesia, Norway, Belgium, England, Canada, Mexico and the Netherlands.

At the Cronkite School, Doig has taught classes in precision journalism, media statistics, reporting public affairs and media research methods as well as a graduate-level news writing and reporting class.

Since it was established in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 294,000 people the opportunity to teach, study or research abroad and in the U.S. The program operates in more than 155 countries throughout the world.