Award-winning reporter, educator Charlotte Grimes named Knight Chair in Political Reporting for S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
Award-winning reporter, educator Charlotte Grimes named Knight Chair in Political Reporting for S.I. Newhouse School of Public CommunicationsFebruary 19, 2003Nicci Brownnicbrown@syr.edu
Charlotte Grimes, a highly respected and award-winning journalist well known for her contributions to political reporting and journalism education, has been named the Knight Chair in Political Reporting at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Grimes will officially take on the role in fall, 2003.
“This is a dream job and I’m thrilled to have this extraordinary opportunity to contribute to journalism and journalism education,” Grimes says. “It’s a privilege and a pleasure to be part of the Newhouse School and the Knight Foundation-two outstanding examples of excellence.”
Grimes comes to the position with a strong foundation in journalism, journalism education, and politics. She has more than 25 years reporting experience-12 of them in the Washington bureau of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch-during which she covered local and national campaigns and elections, and issues such as the politics and policy of health care and international trade, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the United Nations during the Persian Gulf War.
Since joining academe in 1996, Grimes has been a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University; a visiting professor at the Newhouse School; a Fellow at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University; and director of the Semester in Washington internship program for the Scripps Howard Foundation. Until November 2002, she was head of the journalism program at Hampton University, a member of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, where she laid the groundwork for the new Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.
David M. Rubin, dean of the Newhouse School, believes Grimes’ philosophy on journalism will fit well at Newhouse. “In Charlotte Grimes we have a veteran Washington journalist with a particular perspective on political reporting; that is, she has always tried to make politics relevant to her readers by demonstrating how the decisions of politicians affect their daily lives. We at Newhouse agree that good political reporting is a lot more than coverage of campaign fundraising and election strategies. The most important political coverage occurs between elections, when the electorate should really be following what elected officials are, in fact, doing. We are hoping Professor Grimes will help us all understand how to expand that sort of coverage in print, broadcasting, and on line.”
Eric Newton, The Knight Foundation’s director of Journalism Initiatives, is equally confident of Grimes’ suitability for the job. “Knight chairs inspire excellence in the classroom and the newsroom,” he says. “Charlotte Grimes will help both the current generation of political reporters and the next one find better ways to report accurately, fairly and with meaningful context.”
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awarded Syracuse University $1.5 million for the chair position in 1999. Since 1990, the foundation has funded 17 Knight Chairs in Journalism at major U.S. schools, an investment of $25.5 million. Knight Chairholders include noted journalists William Raspberry, Haynes Johnson, Sylvia Nasar, Ken Bode, Melinda McAdams and Michael Pollan.
Grimes, who has reported from Nicaragua, Mexico, China and Japan, says she is looking forward to teaching the next generation of political reporters. “Politics are about power, who has it and how they use-or abuse-it,” she says. “Through politics, we choose those who govern us; shape our country and our hometowns; express our needs, fears, hopes and dreams. Politics are woven throughout our daily lives. And political reporting, I think, must reflect that. If we do our job well-keeping a watchful eye on power and telling the stories of democracy-we help our fellow citizens fulfill their roles and demonstrate the value of a free press.”
Professor Grimes is a native of Andalusia, Ala. She is married to Tom W. Whitford, a former feature writer turned artist.
The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University is one of the largest and most respected professional communications schools in the nation. Its faculty includes industry leaders and internationally known scholars and researchers. Its degree programs are consistently ranked amongst the best in the U.S. and include advertising, broadcast journalism, magazine, newspaper, public relations, television-radio-film and visual and interactive communications.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities.