Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Big Shoes To Fill

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Two staunch defenders of press freedom are taking on prestigious journalism education positions. Searches to replace Mark Goodman of the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) and Brant Houston of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) are well underway.

Goodman, formerly SPLC's executive director, will serve as the Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism at Kent State University. Houston is leaving as executive director of the University of Missouri-based IRE to serve as the Knight Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Both Goodman and Houston have agreed to assist in the transitions and won't officially begin their new duties until January 2008. Their successors will join highly regarded, financially stable organizations. The challenge will be building on the leadership and legacies of their predecessors.

In Goodman's 22 years at the helm of SPLC, the organization reinforced its position as the top defender of press rights for high school and college journalists. He became deeply involved in a number of super-charged cases involving censorship, prior restraint and other crackdowns attempting to muzzle student journalists.

Houston, who will serve as acting director until Dec. 31, spent 13 years molding the world's leading training organization for investigative journalists. IRE has more than 4,500 members covering all facets of media. Its recent annual conference, held June 7-10 in Phoenix , drew 950 participants.

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