- University of Kansas
- Lawrence, KS
Pam Fine teaches reporting and other journalism classes and works with media organizations and community groups on projects to improve news coverage and the flow of information in communities.
Professor Fine joined the faculty in 2008 from the Indianapolis Star where she was managing editor of the newspaper’s print editions and Web site. Before that, she was managing editor and vice-president of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis.
Fine began her newspaper career at small papers in Florida and Georgia before joining the Atlanta Journal-Constitution where she served in a variety of roles including assistant managing editor, political editor, metro editor and reporter. She also wrote and anchored a TV headline service for Cox Cable.
She serves on the board of the American Society of News Editors (ASNE). She has also been on the board of the Associated Press Managing Editors (APME), an Ethics Fellow at the Poynter Institute and a Pulitzer Prize juror four times.
She has a journalism degree from the University of Florida and a master’s in media management from the University of Missouri.
The focus would be on what role the press may play as a unifying force, fostering civility over hostility, common causes over special interests and community over conflict. This Knight Chair would teach undergraduate and graduate students, conduct interdisciplinary seminars and public forums and develop instructional materials on the press, leadership and community. With the chair upgrade, the university will increase its capacity to help both undergraduate and graduate students interested in careers in journalism as well as working journalists become more knowledgeable, more effective and better prepared for their careers.
Launched Politicalfiber, an experimental public affairs project that provides University of Kansas students and recent graduates with a lab for multiplatform issues reporting aimed at a young adult audience. More than 50 students and recent graduates are producing work for the Politicalfiber web, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube sites.
Elected to the ladder of the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) and will be president of the organization in 2015. As a board member and committee chair, helped develop strategy to sustain the organization, increase partnerships and improve service and value to the nation’s top editors with a focus on leadership, First Amendment and diversity.
Presented or moderated at “Journalists and Courts” Montgomery Symposium for Kansas journalists; Poynter/Kent State Media Ethics Workshop; AEJMC convention panel on teaching. Served as a judge for annual Toner and Eppy awards and TNT teaching ideas competition.
Question-and-Answer With Knight Chair
State of the industry: What disturbs you most about journalism and the media industry today? What excites you most?
I lament the cutbacks in staffing that have caused declines in public affairs and investigative reporting in established news organizations. At the same time, I’m heartened by the increasing number of new organizations focused on producing consequential information and coverage. I hope they are sustainable. Two other things excite me: the growth in media literacy programs that are designed to help young people become discerning about information sources and spark interest in quality journalism; and the growing opportunities J-school students have to get meaningful experience in the field.
Media Innovation: Do you think journalism programs should keep up with the quickening pace of change in the industry? How can they? What is your approach?
Many j-school leaders recognize their journalism schools need to become more nimble and adapt to change more quickly. Here are 10 suggestions for those who want to speed up their programs’ metabolism.
1) Make it a point each day to create connections between faculty members and others inside and outside your school or department to increase learning and impact. Be that walk around leader who talks with all levels of faculty and staff including, and perhaps most importantly, adjuncts. Ask your colleagues what they’re working on and what they think is new and interesting that could be of use to others.
2) Make team teaching routine so instructors can learn from one another. Include visiting professionals who have skills and knowhow you need more of.
3) Distribute a short weekly note highlighting trends and practices that would be of specific value to your colleagues, with a brief sentence or two explaining why they’re relevant to your program. Model how to keep up with trends.
4) Incent faculty to do applied research that can be used in your program or market. Convey the value of sharing research plans with potential end users before the research is launched to get input and buy-in up front.
5) Have face-to-face meetings with each faculty member every year to give them specific feedback on their performance and to set goals for the coming year. Give them an opportunity to share with you in person what they think is going well and what could be improved with an eye toward industry change. Ask them how you can help them achieve their goals.
6) Ask your faculty curriculum committee to work with other faculty to annually review a subset of core and elective courses and make recommendations about what to keep and what to change. Ask them to develop, refine and codify ongoing review so change becomes routine and expected.
7) Provide a short update on your top three goals at every faculty meeting. Make sure one of your goals links directly to student and faculty learning that connect to changes in industry, which everyone has a stake in. Provide more in-depth updates in e-notes and show faculty how they can be involved in making these changes happen.
8) Create a professor “internship” program so at least two or three professors a year can spend a week in a cutting edge organization with the goal of learning or developing something new –perhaps a joint project-- that would be of specific use to your program. Have a brownbag lunch for faculty to hear what they learned.
9) Stock your j-school advisory board with professionals who will help your program develop valuable experiences for your students, provide insight, and offer feedback on your courses and activities.
10) Herald change and experimentation. Be an active champion for faculty members who are externally focused and who challenge convention.