Charles Whitaker

A former Wednesday Journal columnist has been named dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Charles Whitaker, who had been serving as interim dean of the school since July 2018, is the first alum to lead the school and ninth dean in its history. His tenure will begin July 1.

“At a time when journalism is under assault around the world and the digital manipulation of images and video makes it increasingly difficult to determine the veracity of a message, Medill must stand as a beacon for truth and ethics in communication,” Whitaker said in a statement.

“It is not enough for Medill to be a training ground for prodigious young journalists and marketers. We must be the champions and standard bearers for our industries — both journalism and marketing — and a strong voice for press freedom, domestically and abroad.”

Whitaker joined Medill in 1993, after a career spent as senior editor of Ebony magazine, where he covered two presidential campaigns and the election of the first black members of the British Parliament. The National Association of Black Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Education Writers Association have all recognized his work. 

It’s his two years writing opinion pieces for Wednesday Journal that caught our eye, however. Whitaker penned a weekly column about the village, examining, among other topics, the demographic makeup at the schools in south Oak Park.

We miss featuring his thoughtful prose and can’t think of anyone more deserving of the honor. Congrats, Charles.

Nona Tepper

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