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receives $1.5 million grant to fund investigative chair
Lynn, Humanities Editor
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The University
of Illinois Department of Journalism, which has added two Pulitzer Prize-winning
journalists to its faculty in the past two years, has received a $1.5
million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to support
a new tenured chair in investigative reporting.
The grant will support the
department's "growing emphasis on teaching investigative and enterprise
reporting," according to the Knight Foundation. The chair also will
help the journalism department "become the pre-eminent journalism program
for investigative and enterprise reporting in the country," said Ron
Yates, the head of the UI journalism department, adding that the new
chair also will "further solidify the department's long-time commitment
to public affairs journalism."
The Knight Chair is the first
outside endowed chair in the UI's journalism department and College
of Communications. It is the second chair the department has received
in the past year. Leon Dash, also a professor in Afro-American studies
at the UI, was awarded a UI Swanlund Chair in February.
In addition to the two chairs,
a new $500,000 professorship in business and financial reporting was
awarded to the department by UI accountancy alumnus Tom Sleeman in memory
of his late wife, June, a 1954 graduate of the journalism department.
A national search will begin
immediately to fill the Knight Chair, Yates said.
Illinois' award was one
of 25 journalism grants -- totaling more than $21 million to non-profit
journalism and public affairs organizations -- the Knight Foundation
approved at its September meeting. A Knight Chair also was granted to
the University of California at Berkeley. Illinois and Berkeley earned
the 15th and 16th Knight Chairs in the foundation's program.
"Both schools emphasized
what they do best in crafting their proposals," said Del Brinkman, the
foundation's director of journalism programs. "Illinois has recruited
a strong faculty steeped in the intricacies of investigative journalism,
and Berkeley is at the epicenter of technology. Their Knight Chairs
will expand the pool of talented journalist/educators now engaged in
sharing what they know with the journalists of the 21st century."
In addition to an already
strong faculty, the UI journalism department has hired several high-profile
journalists, two of whom have won Pulitzer Prizes.
Before joining the UI journalism
department in August of 1997, Yates, a recipient of numerous awards
in journalism, held a variety of positions during his career with the
Chicago Tribune: senior business writer; chief Asia correspondent and
Tokyo bureau chief; national editor; and metropolitan editor.
Other new faculty members:
Dash, a Pulitzer Prize-winning
investigative reporter for explanatory journalism, formerly with the
Washington Post, joined the journalism department in the fall of 1998.
Bill Gaines, twice
a recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, became
the department's first journalist-in-residence in the fall of 1999.
formerly a staff writer for the Washington Post, and winner of numerous
awards, began teaching at Illinois in 1996.
formerly president of CNN/USA and earlier an executive with ABC and
CBS News, was named an adjunct journalism professor in early 1998, and
has been teaching at the UI one week a semester since 1997. He has won
numerous awards, including 37 Emmys and three George Foster Peabody