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Peter Bhatia, the former editor and vice president of Oregon’s largest news organization, has been named the new director of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Bhatia, the former top editor of The Oregonian/Oregon Media Group and current Cronkite visiting professor, will lead business journalism training efforts for the Reynolds Center, the world’s premier provider of ongoing training for business reporters and editors. The center is supported through grants from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.
Bhatia joined Cronkite in summer 2014 as the Edith Kinney Gaylord Visiting Professor in Journalism Ethics following a 20-year career at The Oregonian. He replaces Micheline Maynard, the former New York Times senior business correspondent, who is leaving her current position for family reasons.
“The Reynolds Center has long provided an essential service for journalism. It is a spectacular opportunity to lead it and help find new opportunities for business journalism,” Bhatia said. “We will continue to do what we do well and expand into new areas of training and content that have application in our digital news world.”
As the new director, Bhatia will set the direction for the center and develop and deliver a variety of business journalism training programs for professional journalists, including webinars, workshops and conferences.
According to Reynolds Center President Andrew Leckey, the Donald W. Reynolds Endowed Chair in Business Journalism, Bhatia’s history with the Reynolds Center began over a decade ago. He served on the board involved in approval of the initial Reynolds Center grant and, as editor of The Oregonian, hosted some of the center’s first business journalism workshops.
“We’re delighted that someone of his stature in journalism and on the boards of organizations supporting the field will lend expertise and leadership to the Reynolds Center’s ongoing development,” Leckey said.
Bhatia is the first journalist of South Asian descent to lead a major daily newspaper in the U.S., running The Oregonian from 2010-2014. He also was the paper’s managing editor and executive editor, teaming with then-editor Sandra Mims Rowe. Rowe and Bhatia were named Editors of the Year by Editor & Publisher magazine in 2008. The Oregonian won six Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure.
Since joining the Cronkite School, Bhatia has taught journalism ethics and diversity and served as an editor of the award-winning Carnegie-Knight News21 investigation into gun rights and regulation. He also worked as a Web editor on Cronkite’s landmark documentary “Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona,” which was watched by 1 million viewers, airing on all 33 television stations in the state.
“As one of our era’s great editors, Peter brings a wealth of extraordinary skills, values and experiences to the Reynolds Center. We are thrilled to have him on board,” said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “We also are appreciative of the tremendous work this past year by Micki Maynard, who laid the groundwork for success at the Reynolds Center.”
Early in his career, Bhatia was executive editor of The Fresno Bee, managing editor of The Sacramento Bee, editor of the York (Pennsylvania) Dispatch and Sunday News, managing editor of the Dallas Times Herald, deputy managing editor of the San Francisco Examiner and a reporter and editor at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash. Newsrooms he has led have won nine Pulitzer Prizes, including the six in Portland. He is a six-time Pulitzer juror.
A native of Pullman, Wash., Bhatia is a graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in history. He was inducted into the South Asian Journalists Association Hall of Fame in 2007 and received the Asian American Journalists Association Pioneer in Journalism Award in 2004. He also is a member of the South Asian Journalists Association, the Asian American Journalists Association, Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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, it has committed more than $115 million nationwide through its journalism program.