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November 20, 2008
By Zanny Marsh
The Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno has received a $2 million grant to endow a faculty chair, The Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Business Journalism.
The grant was one of four awarded to three universities by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to train students in business journalism. The Reynolds School will focus on teaching students how to cover the emerging “green” economy, which will be built on alternative fuels.
“Our trustees have funded a significant initiative aimed at improving the quantity and quality of business journalism within this country, and this new endowed chair at the Reynolds School of Journalism is an important component of that initiative,” said Fred W. Smith, chairman of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.
“The overall initiative provides for a network of Reynolds-funded institutions led by the Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University to collaborate on increasing the presence of business journalism curriculum on university campuses and also on providing strong training for midcareer journalists faced with the need for better understanding of financial and economic issues. Certainly, the historic marketplace events of the past year have pointed clearly to the need for this heightened understanding by journalists of these often-complicated issues.”
“All great universities build on great faculty and students,” said Milton Glick, president of the University. “But the Reynolds School also is built on the exceptional support of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, alumni, families of alums and others. Their support in these tough economic times ensures that quality journalism will continue at the university—and out in the world, where citizens depend on it.”
“The importance of business journalism is obvious when you look at the news of the last few months,” said Jerry Ceppos, dean of the Reynolds School. “It is a complex subject that requires specialized training, which we now can offer thanks to this gift. The focus on the environment will complement our graduate program in environmental journalism. We also plan to work with the 18 centers or departments at the university that deal with the environment.”
As an example of cross-campus relationships, Ceppos said that one of the most important aspects of the gift is the development of a course in “economics for journalists” in the College of Business. “We couldn’t possibly have offered such a targeted course without the active involvement of our business colleagues,” Ceppos said.
In addition to the $2 million endowment, the foundation announced a grant of $211,117 to the Reynolds School to provide support for the first year of the business-journalism program, before the endowment pays out income.
The business-journalism chair is one of five endowed chairs at the Reynolds School. Four have been funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. In addition to the business chair, they are the Reynolds Chair in Critical Thinking and Ethical Practices, the Reynolds Chair of Media Technology and the Fred W. Smith Chair in Journalism. A new Paul A. Leonard Chair in Ethics and Writing in Journalism also has been announced.
In addition to the chair at the University of Nevada, Reno, the foundation announced new chairs in business journalism at the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri and at the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. These chairs follow the launch in 1999 of a Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Business Journalism at Washington & Lee University in Virginia.
Chairs at the four universities will cooperate on research about such business-journalism issues as mid-career training of media professionals and development of new curricular concepts to encourage broader business-journalism offerings on campuses across the country. The chairs' collaborative efforts will be overseen by the Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University, which was created by the foundation in 2003 and charged with inspiring improvement in the quality of business journalism nationwide.
The foundation’s recent grants to improve business journalism totaled $9,753,977 and include a new round of operating support for the national center. The new grants bring to $77 million the amount that the foundation has given through its journalism initiative over the past 10 years. Of that amount, almost $18 million has been targeted at the business-journalism initiative.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.
The Reynolds School of Journalism is Nevada’s only accredited journalism school.