|"The two of them have formed a distinctive team." --Eugene Patterson||
|"We have a lot to live up to." --Alex Jones||
Jones, who reported on the press for The
New York Times from 1983 to 1993, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for his
coverage of the collapse of the Bingham dynasty behind The (Louisville,
Ky.) Courier-Journal and the Louisville Times. Before joining The New
York Times, Jones was editor of his family's daily newspaper in
Tifft, who was a press secretary for the 1980 Democratic Convention and a speechwriter for the Carter-Mondale campaign, was a staff writer and associate editor for Time magazine from 1982 to 1991. She wrote major articles on politics, economics, foreign affairs and education. The two met during post-graduate studies at Harvard in 1981-82.
In 1990, the pair collaborated on The Patriarch: The Rise and Fall of the Bingham Dynasty (Summit Books 1991), which The New York Times Book Review called "an engrossing social document" and a "prodigy of research." Business Week named the biography one of the top-10 business books of the year and said it "serves as a capsule history of the newspaper industry in this century." The success of the Bingham book gave Tifft and Jones unique access to the Ochs and Sulzberger families. The two are the only writers to have unrestricted use of The New York Times Co.'s extensive archives.
Jones is currently host of "On the Media," a live two-hour weekly show on National Public Radio, produced by WNYC in New York and co-produced by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. He is also host and executive director of "Media Matters," funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which uses a "60 Minutes" format to examine media issues.
"Alex Jones and Susan Tifft are among the few practicing journalists who are exploring the role of media in the policymaking process and the ethical responsibilities of journalists," said William Ascher, former director of the Sanford Institute. "They will greatly complement the strengths of the Sanford Institute and the DeWitt Wallace Center."
Tifft and Jones, who will continue to reside in New York, will teach two classes at Duke each semester. They are interested in the impacts of corporate ownership of the media, new media technologies and the changing demographics of the newsroom.
"I am deeply honored to share the Eugene C. Patterson professorship, named for a man who inspired my career and continues to shine for us both as a beacon of journalistic courage and integrity," said Tifft.
"Media issues have never been more critical or more in need of thoughtful scrutiny," added Jones. "Gene Patterson stands for the best in journalism; we have a lot to live up to."
The Eugene C. Patterson Professor of the Practice of Journalism in the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences is endowed by a gift from the St. Petersburg Times Scholarship Fund.