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Grant supports ethics professorship

March 23, 2009

A new grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation will support a visiting professorship at Arizona State University in honor of pioneering newswoman Edith Kinney Gaylord.

The Edith Kinney Gaylord Visiting Professor in Journalism Ethics at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, started by the Oklahoma City-based foundation in 2006, will continue for another three years, foundation officials said.

Robert J. Ross, president and chief executive officer of the foundation, said the professorship helps ensure that “all Cronkite students get a solid foundation in the ethical standards upon which Gaylord built her career.”

Ms. Gaylord, the daughter of Daily Oklahoman Publisher E.K. Gaylord, launched her journalism career at her father’s newspaper in 1937 after graduating from college. In 1942 Ms. Gaylord joined The Associated Press in New York and the following year went to the AP’s Washington bureau where she covered the Roosevelt administration and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt during World War II.

The visiting professor, who will be named later this spring, will teach “Journalism Ethics and Diversity” – required of all Cronkite students – and work with students and faculty individually and in small groups. The inaugural Gaylord visiting professor was former Akron Beacon Journal Publisher James Crutchfield. He was succeeded by former St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editor Ellen Soeteber and N. Christian Anderson III, former editor and publisher of the Orange County Register. 

Dean Christopher Callahan said the ethics professorship has played a major role in the school’s increased focus on journalism ethics.

“All of our students must take a class in ethics and diversity, and we think that’s more important now than ever,” Callahan said. “For newspapers, television news and online media outlets to survive and thrive, they must improve the bonds of trust between them and their readers and viewers.”

The visiting professor will join a Cronkite faculty that includes journalism notables such as former Washington Post Editor Len Downie; digital media specialist Dan Gillmor; former CNN anchor Aaron Brown; former Minneapolis Star Tribune Editor Tim McGuire; former BET Vice President Retha Hill; and former Sacramento Bee Editor Rick Rodriguez.

Gaylord created the Ethics and Excellence Foundation in 1982 to improve the quality of the practice of journalism by supporting creative projects and research that promote “excellence in journalism and instills and encourages high ethical standards in journalism.”