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Newspaper Publisher Named Edith Gaylord Professor

May 13, 2008

headshot of Chris Anderson

N. Christian Anderson III, who led the Orange County Register to two Pulitzer Prizes as editor and later became the newspaper’s award-winning publisher, will join Arizona State University this fall as the Edith Kinney Gaylord Visiting Professor in Journalism Ethics.

Anderson, who was named the Publisher of the Year by Editor & Publisher magazine last year, will teach two journalism ethics courses at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication during the fall semester.

He will be the third Gaylord Visiting Professor at the Cronkite School, following former St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editor Ellen Soeteber and former Akron Beacon Journal Publisher James Crutchfield.

“Chris Anderson is one of the most innovative newsroom leaders of his generation,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan. “Our students have been enormously fortunate to learn from two terrific journalists in Ellen Soeteber and Jim Crutchfield, and now they will benefit greatly from the wisdom, passion and values that Chris will bring from the newsroom to the classroom.”

The Edith Kinney Gaylord Visiting Professorship in Journalism Ethics, named in honor of the late pioneering newswoman, was created with a generous gift from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation of Oklahoma City. Gaylord created the foundation in 1982 to improve the quality and ethical standards of journalism.

“We are thrilled that Chris Anderson is joining the Cronkite School as the Edith Kinney Gaylord Visiting Professor in Journalism Ethics,” said Robert J. Ross, president and chief executive officer of the foundation. “Chris’s distinguished background makes him uniquely qualified to take on the important role of teaching the next generation of journalists about the importance of ethics in all media.”

Anderson became editor of the Register in 1980 at age 30. He is credited with turning the newspaper into one of the nation’s largest and most well respected.

Under his leadership, the Register won its first Pulitzer Prize, awarded for photography for coverage of the 1984 Summer Olympics. Five years later, the newspaper won the Pulitzer for specialized reporting for its investigation of night goggles used by the military.

Anderson is credited with pushing a series of newsroom innovations, including the bold use of color, photography and graphics. The National Press Foundation named him Editor of the Year in 1989.

In 1990, Anderson became executive editor of Freedom Newspapers Inc., the media corporation that owns the Register, and two years later he was named the newspaper’s executive vice president and associate publisher.

Anderson left the Register in 1994 to become publisher of the Colorado Springs Gazette. He returned to the Register as publisher and chief executive officer in 1999, and was named senior vice president of Freedom Communications in 2001. He stepped down from the positions in September.

Anderson will be the third former president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors on the Cronkite School faculty, joining former Minneapolis Star Tribune Editor Tim McGuire, the school’s Frank Russell Chair in the Business of Journalism, and former Sacramento Bee Executive Editor Rick Rodriguez.

“I am delighted to join the outstanding faculty of the Cronkite School and to have this opportunity to help students think about the many ethical challenges that journalists face,” Anderson said. “In this time of change for news organizations, the one constant is the demand from customers for information that is credible and reflective of the fullness of the communities where they live.”

Anderson will start just as the Cronkite School moves from its long-time home on ASU’s Tempe campus to the university’s new campus in downtown Phoenix, the nation’s fifth largest city. The school’s new home, a six-story, $71 million media education complex that opens in August, will be within walking distance of major market TV, radio, online, newspaper and magazine outlets.

The Cronkite School, a nationally recognized professional journalism program with 1,400 undergraduate and graduate students, is home of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, the New Media Innovation Lab and the Reynolds High School Journalism Institute.

Gaylord created the Ethics and Excellence Foundation in 1982 to improve the quality of the practice of journalism by supporting creative projects and research that promote “excellence in journalism and instills and encourages high ethical standards in journalism.”

Gaylord, the daughter of Daily Oklahoman Publisher E.K. Gaylord, launched her journalism career at her father’s newspaper in 1937 after graduating from college. In 1942, she joined The Associated Press in New York and the following year went to the AP’s Washington bureau, where she covered the Roosevelt administration and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt during World War II.