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Top Media Executive to Join Cronkite Faculty as Russell Chair

June 29, 2016

Julia Wallace, a top Cox Media Group executive and a leading editor of newspapers in Atlanta and Phoenix, is joining Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication as the Frank Russell Chair for the Business of Journalism.

Wallace, who currently leads Cox Media Group Ohio’s converged TV, newspaper, radio and digital group, is joining Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication as the Frank Russell Chair. She previously served as editor-in-chief of The Atlanta Journal Constitution and managing editor of The Arizona Republic.

Wallace will begin teaching classes on the future of news, new business models and innovative ways of thinking about journalism at the Cronkite School in January.

As market vice president for Cox Media Group Ohio, Wallace helped to create a converged TV, newspaper, radio and digital operation that has led to significant success on every platform. WHIO-TV ranks as the No. 1 CBS affiliate in terms of share of audience in the country. She also has expanded the development of digital products, increasing audience reach and engagement.

Previously, Wallace led The Atlanta Journal Constitution from 2002-2010, where she became the first female editor-in-chief in the newspaper’s history. During her tenure, the paper won two Pulitzer Prizes, and she was named Editor of the Year by Editor & Publisher magazine in 2004. Before joining Atlanta, she was managing editor of the Arizona Republic from 1998-2000.

“I’m so delighted to be joining the Cronkite School,” Wallace said. “The media business is changing fast, and the school is at the forefront of that change. I can’t think of a better place to work with this generation of students. They will be critical to determining the future of journalism.”

The Frank Russell Chair was created in 2000 through a $1 million gift from Central Newspapers Inc., which owned The Arizona Republic and The Indianapolis Star before selling the newspapers to Gannett. Then-Arizona Republic Publisher John Oppedahl led the effort to create the Russell Chair in honor of the former Republic publisher. Oppedahl hoped the Russell Chair would help give Cronkite School journalism students an understanding of the business side of the news industry.

“We are thrilled to welcome Julia as the new Russell Chair,” said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “Her three decades of experience as an award-winning journalist and a pioneering media executive make her a perfect fit to help us teach and guide the next generation of journalism innovators.”

Wallace began her career in Norfolk, Va., at the Ledger-Star and then the Dallas Times Herald. In 1982, she joined USA Today as a reporter just weeks after the newspaper’s launch and worked her way up to managing editor/special projects. During that time, she worked in news, sports and special projects. 

She joined the Chicago Sun-Times in 1992 as managing editor. She left in 1996 and to lead the Salem Statesman Journal in Oregon as executive editor. In 1998, she became managing editor at The Arizona Republic before moving to Atlanta in 2001.

Originally from Rock Island, Ill., Wallace graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism with her bachelor’s degree. In 2006, she was inducted into the Medill School of Journalism Hall of Achievement and received the Alumni Merit Award from Northwestern.

Wallace is a national board member for the Alzheimer’s Association and a board member of the Ohio Association of Broadcasters.    

She replaces Tim McGuire, the former longtime Minneapolis Star Tribune editor, who held the Russell Chair from 2006 until his retirement in May of this year.