Columbia, Mo. (June 20, 2006) — Jeffrey Dvorkin, the first ombudsman for a major U.S. broadcast news organization, has been named the new executive director of the Committee of Concerned Journalists and the Goldenson Chair in Community Broadcasting at the Missouri School of Journalism.
Dean Mills, dean of journalism, announced the appointment today. Dvorkin comes from NPR, where he has served as ombudsman since 2000. He will join the School’s Washington, D.C., offices in the National Press Building, which also will serve as home to the CCJ Washington staff. The School received a $2.28 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation last October to establish a training and research partnership with CCJ.
“CCJ has been extraordinarily effective in enlisting journalists and other citizens in innovative programs to improve journalism,” said Mills. “We look forward to this partnership, in which we will add Missouri’s research strengths to build programs of training, research and collaborations with citizens to build better news media.”
In his position Dvorkin will work closely with the School and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. Dvorkin will direct the CCJ’s Traveling Curriculum, a training program designed to engage journalists in a critical discussion about what it is they do and why they do it. He will also work to expand the Committee’s work with a membership of several thousand reporters, editors, managers and owners to promote standards and engage the public in a common effort to assure the social and economic value of a journalism of verification.
Since the launch of CCJ’s Traveling Curriculum in February 2001, the program has trained nearly 6,800 journalists in print, broadcast and online organizations. In total, 260 sessions have been held in nearly 80 newsrooms and with 26 organizations and educational institutions focusing on critical thinking and understanding of the core principles of a journalism of verification.
Bill Kovach, the founding chairman of CCJ, described the appointment of Dvorkin and the affiliation of the CCJ with the Reynolds Institute as, “an important opportunity to work together to share an expanding base of intellectual and practical capital with news organizations around the country. Tom Rosenstiel, the founding vice chairman of the committee, and I plan to work closely with Jeffrey, Dean Mills and all the others at the University of Missouri in building and cementing this relationship.”
Alumni and friends of the School established the Goldenson Chair in 1982 to allow for the development of education and research programs that would help local stations better serve their communities. It is named for Leonard H. Goldenson, who died in 1999. He was founder and the former chairman of the board of American Broadcasting Company, Inc.
The School and the Institute’s nationally recognized research capabilities will provide the CCJ with access to an extensive body of knowledge about the media industry.
“As changes continue to challenge the media, we need the best information combined with the bedrock purposes of journalism to assure a strong future on behalf of our democracy,” said Pam Johnson, executive director of the Reynolds Journalism Institute.
The focus of the CCJ and the Goldenson Chair will work together to improve news programming for citizens, said Dvorkin.
“I’m delighted to be working with a group of such thoughtful and talented people who have given the Missouri School of Journalism its highly deserved reputation for excellence in our profession. CCJ is the perfect place where we can make a difference in American journalism by using training and research to better both our journalism and our media organizations for the benefit of all citizens,” he said.
Dvorkin joined NPR in 1997 as vice president for news, overseeing the company’s global journalism division. Three years later, he was appointed to the new position of ombudsman. In that role, he served as advocate for NPR’s 30 million listeners and defined the duties of an ombudsman within the broadcast journalism community. He investigated listener comments and concerns with NPR journalism and instigated civil dialogue on news and reporting issues through his regular bylined column at www.NPR.org and appearances on NPR programs.
Dvorkin has been involved in journalistic training in Slovenia, Poland, Hungary, Turkey, Portugal and Chile. He is a member and past president of the Organization of News Ombudsmen, an international organization of 100 journalists representing both print and broadcast news organizations. In 2003 he co-authored with Alan Stavitsky, associate dean of journalism at the University of Oregon, the “Ethics Guide for Public Radio Journalism.”
Previously Dvorkin was the managing editor and chief journalist of CBC Radio in Toronto, Canada.
Born in Calgary, Canada, Dvorkin has an honors bachelor of arts degree in European history and French literature from the University of Alberta, a master of arts degree in European history from the University of Toronto and a master of philosophy degree in international history from the London School of Economics.
The School announced a $31 million gift from The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation for the creation of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute in February 2004. The award is the largest private donation ever to the University of Missouri. The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by Mr. Reynolds. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.
Earlier this month the Institute announced the appointment of Rick Shaw as director of Pictures of the Year International (POYi), a 63-year-old international photojournalism competition and educational program.