Coral Gables, Fla. — The School of Communication of the University of Miami announced today the appointment of two internationally renowned journalists to prestigious Knight Chairs in Journalism endowed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. With the appointments, the University of Miami becomes the 21st institution in the nation to have Knight Chairs.
Joseph B. Treaster, a reporter and former foreign correspondent for The New York Times and author of three books, was named the Knight Chair in Cross-Cultural Communication and Rich Beckman, a prize-winning international photojournalist, writer, producer and professor at the University of North Carolina, was designated the Knight Chair in Visual Journalism. Both, selected in a worldwide search over several months, will serve as full professors in the School of Communication and carry out projects for the School’s Knight Center for International Media while fulfilling their academic duties as professors at the School of Communication.
“The two Knight Chair appointments mark a big step in our growth as a University in becoming a major player in the global communication field,” said President Donna E. Shalala. “These two outstanding journalists have proven records in their fields and can help us excel in the new multimedia world.”
Dr. Sam L Grogg, dean of the School of Communication, said the commitment by Knight Foundation and the appointment of the internationally known journalists “sends a clear signal that the University of Miami’s School of Communication is a leading program in the fields of international and multimedia journalism.”
The Knight Center for International Media was established at the School of Communication last year with funding from Knight Foundation.
Eric Newton, Knight’s vice president/Journalism, said: “For humanity to face its greatest challenges, news must flow more effectively across national borders. These chairs will take on the task of inventing new ways to help that happen.”
Sanjeev Chatterjee, executive director of the Knight Center and vice cean at the School of Communication, said: “The Knight Chairs will allow us to greatly enhance our collaborative work ethic and help us extend the scope of the kind of cross-border impact we are seeking.” The two Knight Chair appointees will work closely with Chatterjee.
Treaster, a graduate of the University of Miami and Columbia University, has been on the staff of The New York Times for more than 30 years and has reported for The Times and other publications on wars, politics, diplomacy, disasters and business in Asia, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and throughout the United States.
He has received more than a dozen journalism awards, including three from the Overseas Press Club of America and has recently been named a Visiting Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. His latest book, Hurricane Force: In the Path of America’s Deadliest Storms, was published in June.
At the University of Miami, Treaster will continue contributing to The Times and national magazines and will write books on national and international themes and contribute to the Knight Center’s documentary film and multimedia projects.
“I’m delighted to be joining the University of Miami faculty and the Knight Center,’’ Treaster said. “I was drawn to the university by the vision and energy of Dean Sam Grogg, Thomas LeBlanc, the provost, and, of course, Donna Shalala, one of the coolest, most impressive presidents in academia. The University of Miami has become a magnet for the highest-achieving students in North and South America. Many students come from as far away as Europe and Asia.
“I found it difficult to even think about leaving New York and The New York Times. But Miami is one of the most diverse, dynamic cities in the hemisphere - a living laboratory, really, for cross-cultural communication and understanding,” Treaster said.
Beckman, a graduate of The Ohio State University and the University of Minnesota, is a leading new media journalism educator and internationally known photojournalist specializing in the environment. He is a former columnist for Sports Afield magazine and has directed documentary photojournalism projects in the United States and around the world, on subjects ranging from the island cultures of the West Indies to the behavior of grizzly bears and other endangered wild life in North America and Africa.
Beckman has been honored with prizes from the Pictures of the Year International competition, the National Press Photographers Association, the Online News Association, The Society for News Design and others. He has won awards for his teaching at the University of North Carolina and has taught abroad on Fulbright and other programs in South Africa, Spain and Chile. At the University of Miami, he will experiment with the impact of dynamic, multimedia visual communication and bring a high level of expertise to bear on enhancing the Knight Center’s multimedia applications.
“I feel that I have been given an opportunity to influence the future of journalism as both the industry and academy adapt to changing technologies that have moved mass communication into both hyper-local and global environments,” Beckman said. “I view the Center as an international cross-cultural gathering place where ideas and practical storytelling applications will be born and nurtured - a place where our passion for journalism and our compassion for people will thrive.”
Since 1990, Knight Foundation has endowed Knight Chairs in Journalism at 21 top U.S. colleges and universities. Their purpose is to allow practicing journalists to bring real world experience into higher education.
For more information, visit http://knight.miami.edu
The University of Miami School of Communication seeks to prepare analytical and responsible communication professionals for success in a global society. The School offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in journalism, broadcasting, advertising, public relations, visual journalism, communication studies and motion pictures, with a total current enrollment of approximately 1500 students and 60 full-time faculty members.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.