Former L.A. Times editor to serve as first Knight Visiting Lecturer

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December 15, 2005, 10:08 am

December 15, 2005 — The Shorenstein Center is delighted to announce that we will host the first Knight Visiting Lecturer, a position for distinguished journalists who will study, analyze and comment on the future of journalism in America and around the world.

John S. Carroll, former editor of The Los Angeles Times, is the first to receive this appointment. He will be based within the Kennedy School of Government here at the Shorenstein Center. The position is funded with a $200,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The new lectureship will provide distinguished journalists with positions at major universities of their choosing for a year of reflection, research and teaching. The lectureship is intended for highly respected, senior journalists who embody both excellence and the highest ethical standards. Earlier this year, Carroll retired after five years as top editor of The Los Angeles Times, during which the paper won 13 Pulitzer Prizes.

“John Carroll is one of the most important journalists of his generation,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation. “We’re glad to help make possible an opportunity to reflect on his experience and on journalism in society at a time of transformational change. Students and scholars at Harvard will benefit, as well as the virtual, worldwide community of people who care about the uses of information in an open society.”

“My topic is an urgent one: nothing less than the fate of journalism,” said Carroll. “The economic underpinnings of our craft are eroding. At the same time, the Web is offering rich opportunities for journalism in new forms. And, in the current scramble for market share, the work of the principled journalist is being lost in a din of marketing and propaganda.”

“As a matter of public policy, a self-governing nation simply cannot do without real journalism,” added Carroll. “As a practical matter, we must find ways to make it pay. These are some of the concerns I intend to explore — urgently and, I hope, realistically — in this new role at Harvard. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.”

As Knight Visiting Lecturer, Carroll will spend the spring semester beginning January 2006 doing research. During the year, he will deliver a major address regarding the state of the news media. Carroll has been a strong voice arguing the importance of high quality news reporting as essential to American democracy, and he has been critical of corporations that have demanded excessive profit levels. In the fall semester, he will teach a course at the Kennedy School titled “Journalistic Values in a Time of Upheaval.”

“John Carroll stands for everything honorable and fine in journalism,” said Alex S. Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center. “We are enormously honored to have him with us as the inaugural Knight Visiting Lecturer, and we salute the vision of Knight Foundation for making it possible.”

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes journalistic excellence worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities. Since 1950, when it was created, the foundation has approved more than $260 million in journalism grants. Learn more online at knightfdn.org.