Visiting Professor to Focus on Ethics in Journalism

Gene Foreman, Visiting Distinguished Professor of Ethics in Journalism
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Gene Foreman, Visiting Distinguished Professor of Ethics in Journalism

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Gene Foreman, a journalist with 41 years of experience as a reporter and editor, is the first Visiting Distinguished Professor of Ethics in Journalism in the Walter J. Lemke Department of Journalism at the University of Arkansas.

The visiting professorship is a component of the University of Arkansas Center for Media Ethics, developed by Patsy G. Watkins, associate professor in the journalism department.  The center reflects the growing attention nationwide by media ethicists to the ways in which technological developments have changed the nature of reporting. Support for the visiting professorship was provided by Chancellor G. David Gearhart as a reflection of his family’s history in journalism and his interest in the subject.

The goal was to bring a visiting distinguished professor who is nationally known and respected by journalism professionals to be in residence at the U of A each fall semester .

“Gene Foreman was the obvious first choice for the Distinguished Professorship, said Watkins.  “He has a national reputation as a highly respected and ethical journalist, and is the author of a widely used textbook on media ethics that I use in my own class. In addition he hails from Arkansas, and during his career worked at the Arkansas Gazette, Pine Bluff Commercial and the Arkansas Democrat. He has been a terrific colleague so far this semester, bringing enormous energy and thoughtful guidance to the plans for the center.”

Foreman will speak to journalism classes about ethics issues throughout the semester. He'll also present a public lecture at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 in Hillside Auditorium and he will lead a professional seminar in journalism ethics Nov. 8 at the Reynolds Center.

In addition, he is working with Watkins, associate professor Gerald B. Jordan and a faculty/graduate student steering committee to develop a website to provide information about contemporary issues in journalism ethics and a place for academic research on the topic. The website will also encourage blog posts from students, faculty and readers and offer links to ethics readings and sites from other journalism and related organizations.

Ultimately journalism department plans to establish ethics as a graduation requirement, expanding faculty to teach several sections of ethics classes to accomplish this.

Foreman is the author of The Ethical Journalist: Making Responsible Decisions in the Pursuit of News, a textbook published in 2009. He retired as a journalist in 1998 after 25 years managing newsroom operations at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Previously he was the managing editor of the Pine Bluff Commercial and the Arkansas Democrat. He also worked as a reporter and assignment editor at the Arkansas Gazette, a copy editor at the New York Times, and the senior editor in charge of news and copy desks at Newsday. He was president of the Associated Press Managing Editors in 1990 and was a board member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors from 1995 to 1998.

After retiring from the Inquirer, Foreman joined the Pennsylvania State University faculty, teaching news editing and journalism ethics for 17 semesters. He ended his full-time teaching career in December 2006. In 2009, Wiley-Blackwell published Foreman’s textbook on journalism ethics


Darinda Sharp, director of communications
School of Law


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