This is an important moment for the school and for the journalism and media industries. Trust in journalism is in a free fall — Walter Hussman and his family know that. Their flagship newspaper in Little Rock, Arkansas will celebrate its 200th anniversary later this year. But Walter Hussman is not trying to preserve print — he is trying to preserve accurate, trusted information and the ability of citizens to practice democracy.
He is experimenting with iPad distribution of his newsroom’s work. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette isn’t delivered by truck throughout Arkansas anymore. Instead, it’s available digitally on iPads that he provides, with free subscriptions that offer video, photo slideshows and the ability to enlarge the type.
He is an innovator as well as a dreamer. He cares about the journalistic values of truth, fairness, accuracy, impartiality and deep reporting so that readers, viewers and listeners can make informed decisions about their future.
Walter Hussman has a long tradition with UNC. His sisters attended UNC; he graduated in 1968; both of his daughters did their undergraduate work at Carolina; and his daughter Eliza also earned her master’s degree at our school. They are Tar Heels standing tall at this moment of challenge in the world of media, when digital dislocation and new economic realities are challenging the future of the industry.
With their naming gift, the Hussman family is making a statement. That values matter. That trust can and must be rebuilt, and that our school, by continuing to impart our time-tested values as we train journalists and public relations and advertising leaders, can help forge the information industry of the future.
We embrace the core values published in Walter Hussman’s daily newspapers — he learned them at our journalism school more than 50 years ago. They have been a part of his, and our, great success as a leader and innovator. Our school carries forward with strengthened vigor the promise to innovate and educate so that we provide the journalism, media and economic answers needed for our industry’s future health.
What’s in a name is critical, it defines who we are. This gift, for this school, ensures that we will have a strong and powerful future investing in our students, faculty and staff so that we will be a force for democracy for generations to come. We proudly wear this new name.
We are the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media.
Susan King, Dean
UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media