Grady College Dean Cully Clark and Grady benefactor Don Carter share a laugh during an appreciation reception hosted by the college.
A $250,000 gift by former journalist and University of Georgia alumnus Don E. Carter will support an increased focus on public affairs journalism in UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
A three-course public affairs journalism emphasis will begin this fall, led by John F. Greenman, holder of the distinguished professorship named for Carter and his late wife, Carolyn.
Carter said he elevated a professorship he and Carolyn created eight years ago to a distinguished professorship to further public affairs journalism. The distinguished professorship will eventually become the Don E. and Carolyn McKenzie Carter Chair of Journalism because of an earlier deferred gift from the Carters.
“Carolyn and I both believed we need to train more journalists to cover public affairs in all media,” Carter said. “Coverage of government, business, sports and other public issues is essential to our democracy.”
Carter, of Sea Island, was recognized at an appreciation reception hosted by Grady College on April 14, at which time Grady Dean E Culpepper “Cully” Clark announced the Don E. and Carolyn McKenzie Carter Distinguished Professorship.
“From the Grady College to Atlanta and from there to Macon, Washington, New York and Miami, Don and Carolyn spread their passion for journalism to all corners,” Clark said.“In Don’s last posting as vice president for news at Knight-Ridder, he steered that organization through what is widely regarded as its halcyon days at the top of journalism. One cannot imagine Grady today without the love, affection, and gifts they have showered upon this great college over the last 70 years. The Carter commitment to journalism will serve the college for generations more.”
Kent Middleton, head of Grady’s Department of Journalism, said the Carter endowment will be invaluable for students in the public affairs journalism emphasis courses that Greenman and associate professor Barry Hollander will begin teaching fall semester.
“We intend this to be more than a curriculum,” Greenman said. “We want to develop a student professional journalism association that focuses on watchdog and accountability journalism. We want to send our students for additional training at professional institutes like Poynter. We want to see their work widely published. Carter money will help fuel this work.”
Greenman noted that Carter money also helps fuel work of the Carter Professor furthering journalistic courage and coverage of poverty. “We pay closer attention to journalistic courage than any other journalism school in the United States, and we’re helping journalists cover poverty as an aspect of any beat,” he said.
The Carters, both of whom enjoyed long careers in journalism, were inducted into the inaugural class of the Grady Fellowship in 2008. “We are proud,” the Carters noted at the time, “that we have a strong and dedicated College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. During this period of media merger, technology acceleration and public doubts, we believe it helps assure us of continued free rights, fair government and economic progress.”
Greenman retired in 2004 from Knight-Ridder as president and publisher of the Ledger-Enquirer in Columbus, Ga., a position he held for 10 years. Earlier he held editorial and executive positions at Ohio’s Akron Beacon Journal where he helped direct coverage of the attempted takeover of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, coverage that won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.
“Professor Greenman has contributed much to Grady College and the journalism profession since becoming Carter Professor in 2004,” Clark said. “Most notably, he has led the department’s renewed commitment to excellence in public affairs journalism.”
Greenman teaches reporting as well as a course in Credibility: News Media and Public Trust. He also directs a lecture, symposium and medal series honoring journalistic courage.
A leader in online education, he created a website that trains journalists to cover poverty, including related issues of economics, labor, education and health. He also lectures yearly at the Maynard Media Academy at Harvard University and has conducted intensive specialized reporting conferences to train reporters and editors to cover important issues.
“In many ways,” Middleton said, “Professor Greenman honors the careers of Don and Carolyn Carter through his teaching, outreach and service.”
Both Georgia natives, the Carters began work upon graduation for Atlanta newspapers—Carolyn for the Atlanta Constitution and Don for the Atlanta Journal. They met while covering the same story for the then-competing newspapers and married early in World War II after Don began Army duty.
Carolyn, a 1940 Grady alumna, was the first female photographer for the Constitution and enjoyed a long career of professional and civic service and an active retirement until her death in 2010.
A 1938 Grady alumnus, Don was a leading journalist and newspaper executive, retiring in 1982 as vice president for news for Knight-Ridder, then the most respected newspaper chain in the United States. During his career he reported, edited, and managed newspapers in Macon, Ga., Atlanta, New York City, Washington and Miami. As a student he was editor-in-chief of UGA’s student newspaper, The Red & Black. Today, the 94-year-old continues his long membership on the board of The Red and Black Publishing Company.
Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers undergraduate majors in advertising, digital and broadcast journalism, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and mass media arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, see www.grady.uga.edu or follow @UGAGrady on Twitter.