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Aly Colón

Knight Professor in Journalism Ethics
Washington & Lee University
Lexington, Va.


Aly Colón became the John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Journalism Ethics at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., on July 1, 2014. 

Colón has a long background in news and journalism ethics, most recently serving as director of standards and practices at NBC News. He was assigned to Telemundo Network News,  the second-largest Spanish-language network in the United States, and was responsible for applying ethical decision-making to the news operation, providing ethics training to reporters and producers, and reviewing scripts, video and digital news coverage.

Colón is a former ethics group leader at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he taught and oversaw ethics training for young and mid-career journalists.  He has also consulted for and trained journalists in numerous newsrooms throughout the United States, and served as a diversity coach and consultant for Public Radio International, the American Society of News Editors and several other organizations.

Colón succeeds Edward Wasserman, who left in January 2013 to become dean of the graduate journalism program at the University of California, Berkeley. Afterwards, the Knight program was led  by interim Knight Chair Arthur Brisbane, former publisher of The Kansas City Star and public editor of The New York Times. Brisbane concluded a one-year appointment in May 2014.

A native of Santurce, Puerto Rico, Colón has lived in Germany, the Panama Canal Zone and 10 U.S. states. He has traveled through most of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and the Caribbean. 

He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University of New Orleans and a master’s in journalism from Stanford University. He began his newspaper career with Fairchild News Service in Seattle and worked at three daily newspapers, including The Seattle Times, where he was assistant metro editor and diversity reporter and coach.

Colón is married to Sheila Nolan Colón, a college educator and administrator. They have a daughter, Christina Jane.  

Grant Background

The Knight Chair will enable the university to develop a program with emphasis in three areas: (1) an expanded undergraduate curriculum in journalism ethics, of particular interest to journalism majors but open to all students, (2) increased offerings for continuing professional education in journalism ethics, on campus, at regional and national conferences, and in newsrooms throughout the country, and (3) education of the general public by creating a quick-response team of editors and teachers to address issues of journalism ethics while they are fresh in the public’s mind and by developing materials for newspapers, magazines and television.