Dean Ed Wasserman reappointed for 5-year term

May 16, 2018

Edward Wasserman, dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, has been appointed for a second 5-year term.

In a campus-wide announcement, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost A. Paul Alivisatos, writing on behalf of UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ, said, “Amid one of UC Berkeley’s most challenging financial periods, Dean Wasserman has achieved record amounts of fundraising and has overseen the development of new and innovative revenue generation programs, such as Berkeley’s first summer-only minor in Journalism and the School’s Advanced Media Institute, which offers workshops and training to mid-career professionals.”

Alivisatos also praised Wasserman’s commitment to improving equity and inclusion at the Journalism School including the formation of working groups to create a strategic plan for diversity and to address the specific challenges that women in journalism face.

“The Masters of Journalism program has continued to grow and thrive under Ed’s tenure and the School has successfully maintained its standing as a premier graduate institution for journalism training,” said Alivisatos. “Ed has led initiatives to update and revitalize the graduate curriculum through the addition of components in visual storytelling and integrating subject-matter expertise, and to encourage students to produce work that appears in the most respected publications in the country.”

Dean Wasserman says the most daunting challenges lie ahead, including an inquiry into creating an undergraduate journalism program and taking our “teaching-hospital” tradition to the next level by becoming not just trainers of journalism, but creators and distributors of content. Noting that Berkeley Journalism’s renowned Investigative Reporting Program, founded by Prof. Lowell Bergman, recently formed a separate production studio to make commercially viable nonfiction films that will help finance the School, Wasserman says that model may help reshape other operations of the School going forward.

Wasserman also says the School is also looking for ways to build out its curriculum to include specialized coverage of technology to benefit from Berkeley’s proximity to Silicon Valley, as well to bolster its training in covering politics, the environment, health and business.

“This has never been a better time to prepare journalists,” said Wasserman. “At a moment when unparalleled communicative power resides in every cellphone and the quality of civic discourse is imperiled, there is an urgent need for principled, intellectually relentless, eloquent, and committed professionals, whose loyalty is to the public and who don’t apologize for seeking social betterment. Preparing those people is a privilege. And there’s no better place in the country to do it than at UC Berkeley.”

Wasserman came to Berkeley in 2013 after a decade as a professor at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., home of the country’s first college-level journalism training. There, he held the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Chair in Journalism Ethics. For 15 years, he also wrote a regular column distributed nationally by the Knight-Tribune (later McClatchy) news service on media rights and wrongs. He has also written academic articles on the ethics of conflict of interest, plagiarism, confidentiality, and source protection. He has served on the boards of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics and the international Organization of News Ombudsmen, and is among the editors of the Journal of Media Ethics. Wasserman appears frequently in national news media as a commentator on press conduct.

Wasserman’s journalism career began in 1972, and included jobs in Maryland, Wyoming, Florida, and New York. He served as general assignment reporter at The Montgomery County (Md.) Sentinel, city editor at The Casper (Wyo.) Star Tribune, executive business editor of The Miami (Fla.) Herald; for 15 years was editor in chief and CEO of the Miami-based Daily Business Reviews, a chain of South Florida business papers owned by American Lawyer Media that was a winner and frequent finalist for the Gerald Loeb Award, the highest honor in business journalism; and editorial director of Media Central, a 140-title New York-based chain of specialty publications owned by then-giant Primedia Inc.

He received his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Science for a thesis on the creation of the global commercial communications satellite system, which proposed a model of technological innovation amid political contention. Wasserman also holds a licence in philosophy from the University of Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne), and received a BA cum laude in politics and economics from Yale.

Please join us as we congratulate Dean Wasserman on his accomplishments to date, and applaud his bold vision for the School going forward.


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