Poindexter Installed as President of AEJMC
Journalism professor shares her vision for international organization
When Paula Poindexter was installed as president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) during the August 2013 annual conference held in Washington D.C., she became only the fourth journalism professor from The University of Texas at Austin to become president of this 101-year-old association of 3,700 journalism and communication educators, students and professionals. During the installation, the historic significance of the occasion was not lost on Poindexter. The last time someone from UT Austin served as president of AEJMC, it was 1986.
Poindexter, a former manager and executive at the Los Angeles Times and reporter and producer for KPRC-TV, the NBC-affiliate TV station in Houston, said that being installed as president of AEJMC is not only an honor but the highlight of her professional and academic career. She is leading an organization that she loves and has the opportunity to make a difference in four major ways: outreach to journalism and communication professionals and scholars in the U.S. and around the world; presidential statements on issues relevant to AEJMC’s mission; fundraising that will continue the momentum of AEJMC’s successful $300,000 Centennial campaign; and three signature initiatives inspired by her experiences and concerns.
The initiative, called the "Journalism and Communication Graduate Student Info Expo," was inspired by the five years that Poindexter served as graduate adviser in the College of Communication's School of Journalism. Knowing the challenge of identifying excellent graduate student prospects in journalism and communication, Poindexter sought to establish a venue at the annual conference to connect graduate journalism and communication programs with prospective Ph.D. and master's students.
"We’d like to make it similar to job market fairs but for graduate programs," said Poindexter, who launched the recruitment push at the most recent AEJMC conference in Washington, D.C. "Our goal was to have 20 top graduate programs represented – we ended up with 22 and even had to turn some away."
The initiative to sponsor international regional conferences grew out of Poindexter's long-held belief that an international association such as AEJMC must be committed to a presence on the global conference stage. After leading a delegation to Latin America last March, the board of directors of AEJMC approved her request to hold a pilot international regional conference in Santiago, Chile, October 2015. After Latin America, Poindexter wants AEJMC to hold regional conferences in Asia, Europe and Africa.
As author of the book "Millennials, News, and Social Media: Is News Engagement a Thing of the Past?," Poindexter not only champions the importance of an informed society and ways to encourage the Millennial generation, born in the 1980s and 1990s, to engage with news, but has channeled that passion into an initiative she wants to be a national event that will have an impact on AEJMC and beyond.
Called "National News Engagement Day," this event, which will be held for the first time on the first Tuesday in October 2014, will encourage everyone in the U.S. to engage with news and get informed.
"If as a democratic society, we value the importance of being informed, we can no longer be a spectator to the trends showing the dwindling commitment to informing oneself of news," said Poindexter. "It is time for us to do something and we can begin with a day devoted to engaging with news."
Paula Poindexter & Glenn Frankel
The evening of Poindexter's installation as president, Glenn Frankel, director of the School of Journalism, hosted a reception at the National Press Club to celebrate the occasion.
Frankel observed after the reception that "the diverse range of attendees, including past and present leaders of AEJMC, faculty colleagues, UT alums who are now teaching at schools throughout the country and our own esteemed grad students, reflected the broad and positive impact Paula has had on so many lives during her distinguished career, and the climate of good will and collaboration that she has nurtured."
As the fourth journalism professor from UT Austin to become president of AEJMC, Poindexter is mindful of the history and excited about the future of this worldwide association of journalism and communication educators, students, and professionals. With her installation as president, Poindexter joins a club in which only three UT Austin journalism professors have held membership: Dewitt C. Reddick (1966), Wayne Danielson (1971), and Dwight Teeter (1986).
Nick Hundley, (512) 471-7209