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Pam Fine

Knight Chair in News, Leadership and Community
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.

Grant Background

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.

Recent Activities


- I believe strongly that you learn to be a journalist by doing journalism. Toward that end, I redeveloped an upper level reporting course to create more and improved opportunities for students to produce content for campus media. These experiences help students build their portfolios and secure internships and part-time journalism jobs before graduation.

- Additionally, I’ve developed a news literacy course—“Journalism or Junk”—for up to 100 students that will launch in the Spring 2015 semester.  The course is designed to help students including non journalism majors become more discerning, whether they’re accessing information or producing and disseminating it.

Industry Outreach/Leadership:

-Continued my longtime efforts to keep ASNE a clarion voice on First Amendment and diversity, and a vital force in providing technology and leadership training for news leaders.  Co-chaired this year’s first combined ASNE/APME convention which emphasized practical takeaways in such areas as improving content on mobile, increasing audience engagement and reach, and developing partnerships for greater impact.  A story noting that emphasis can be seen at this link:


-Completed research study focused on Millennials and their motivations for accessing news on smartphones. Recently presented the findings during a campus research forum, and preparing work to be submitted for publication.

 • What are the most promising changes you see in journalism education as a whole, and why do you think they are hopeful?

There appears to be an increasing commitment to providing students with experiences that will make them more job ready and more savvy about the larger world around them. These experiences include hands on work in courses that include community and legislative coverage, entrepreneurship and interdisciplinary collaborations; directed studies that allow students to propose and develop their own creative or scholarly projects; internships and part-time jobs in professional news outlets; study abroad, service learning and alternative breaks that offer volunteer opportunities to help underserved communities; and a wide range of community engagement projects.

The students thrive when the expectations are they’ll deliver high quality work for real audiences, not just for their professors. They understand what they learn in J-school can be applied in any number of ways which makes a journalism education more valued and valuable.  

•       Give us an example of a media company or organization that you see doing innovative journalism with impact. How do you use this example in your teaching?

Since I can’t live without the New York Times, I’d have to say that it’s a paper that keeps on giving when it comes to trying new things that I frequently reference in my classes. Last year I mentioned the way the Times organizes comments as a really cool idea. This past year, my favorite addition is The Upshot. The stories under this moniker provide interesting and accessible examples of how journalists can use data and other research in storytelling without being too numbers-focused or geeky.