Monday, December 22, 2008

New director for the Schieffer School

TCU announced Dec. 22 that John O. Lumpkin, a vice president and former bureau chief for Associated Press, has been named director of the Schieffer School of Journalism. Lumpkin will begin his role as director June 1.

"John is an excellent choice," said Bob Schieffer '59 moderator of CBS News "Face the Nation" and a TCU alumnus for whom the journalism school is named. "He brings the kind of real world experience that we need to take the school to a new level. He is widely known and greatly respected in the journalism community and we are fortunate to get him.

"The fact we were able to attract a person of John's caliber is yet another indication of the growing reputation for excellence that our program has already established," Schieffer said. "We are aiming to be nothing less than the best program in the country and John is a fine choice to help us get there."

Lumpkin, a graduate of the University of Virginia, worked with the Richmond, Va., Times-Dispatch and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram before joining AP, the world's largest newsgathering organization, in 1971. Since then, he served as a correspondent and bureau chief in Texas, North Carolina and Iowa before becoming a corporate officer in 2003. He reported on the Watergate-related Milk Fund Scandal and directed coverage of numerous major news stories, including the two space shuttle disasters, the political rise of George W. Bush and the 51-day Branch Davidian siege in Waco.

"The obligation for someone who is named director of the Schieffer School is to live up to the standards and the commitment to journalism that Bob Schieffer has done throughout his professional life," said Lumpkin. "I am both humbled and honored to be chosen as the one who should do that.

"TCU has a valuable asset in the Schieffer School and vice versa. Media is in the midst of tectonic shifts - both in what we describe as 'news' and what is just as important, strategic communication. Our school is uniquely situated to prepare students for what will be instead of what has been."

Lumpkin currently is AP vice president for newspaper markets in the U.S. and Latin America. He is responsible for AP revenue from newspaper companies in the hemisphere, as well as the U.S. domestic bureau chief system. He held company positions in strategic planning and has been involved in AP's shift to multi-media news distribution.

The Schieffer School has plans to build on a multi-media learning experience that is already in place for its students in journalism and strategic communication. Changes in curriculum and facilities are being addressed.

"However," said Lumpkin, "the foundation of our professional school will continue to be the thoughtful preparation of journalists and communicators in the bedrock principles of accuracy, fairness, objectivity and ethics."

Lumpkin's wife Eileen is a 1968 TCU journalism graduate and former reporter for the school's award-winning newspaper, the TCU Daily Skiff. Their older son, John '95, is a former editor of the Skiff and a Pentagon reporter for AP. He now teaches journalism at Metro State University in Denver. Their other son, Robin, is involved in research of combat veterans at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Richmond, Va.

- Rick

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