Broadcast journalism graduate Melissa Rademaker left the blazer she wore to film segments of "Carolina Week" — a student TV news program — in Carroll Hall during Spring Break of 2020, just as she always did. But when the pandemic hit, she never went back to get it.
One year later, Rademaker paid a visit to Carroll Hall to pick up that blazer. It was Susan King, dean of the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, who let her into the building.
“I thought I was just going to have to sneak into the room, and she turned out to stop me and have a really awesome conversation about Carolina and my experience,” Rademaker said. “I loved Carolina and I loved the (journalism) school, and she definitely made it a very welcoming place and was a big part of my education.”
King announced last week that she will step down as dean at the end of this school year.
King originally came to UNC as part of a program she launched to revitalize journalism education during the shift in advertising and content that came with the rise of Facebook and Google. After working very closely with the former dean of the School of Media and Journalism, she fell in love with UNC and its history.
“And next thing I knew, I was dean,” King said.
“All I ever wanted to be was a journalist,” she added. “I just was always curious about how journalism covers institutions and holds ideas accountable, and is at the first draft of history. That always just intrigued me – that you could be at the center, shaping a conversation at your school, or your city or your community.”
Prior to coming to UNC, King had a prominent career as a journalist, reporting for broadcast TV and as a White House correspondent, and has been a strong proponent of journalism education.
“When I was starting out in journalism, I was the first woman in every newsroom I went into,” King said.