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New Warner Professor Chosen
By Edna Obi/Special to The Houstonian
Ardyth Sohn, a communications scholar and former journalist, will be the Philip G. Warner Journalism Professor for the 2000-01 school year, replacing Hal Foster, whose two years in the visiting professorship are up in May.
The Warner professorship is one of the most prestigious on campus. It is the only endowed chair in the Department of Public Communications and one of a handful across all departments at Sam Houston State.
Sohn has taught journalism for more than 30 years at such schools as Butler University in Indianapolis, at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and at the University of Colorado.
Two of her specialties are media management--especially at the international level--and new media technology.
She hopes to teach a course in media management in the fall, she said. She would like to find students interested in the international impact of media, particularly emerging media.
Sohn got her bachelor's degree in English at the University of Illinois and her master's and Ph. D. in mass communication and journalism at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
When she was at the University of Illinois, she was a reporter for the student paper, the Daily Illini. She said reporting was the toughest job she has ever done.
At the Daily Illini she worked alongside Roger Ebert, who became the film critic of Siskel & Ebert fame.
In addition to reporting for and working as an editor at the Casper Star-Tribune in Wyoming, Sohn was an American folklore research assistant at the Smithsonian Institution.
She has written 11 books, 14 published reports and 16 journal articles during her career. And she has given 33 scholarly presentations at locations all across the United States.
Sohn said she maintains connections with many of her former students, giving them career advice, for example.
"I think of students as longtime friends--not just people who drop into my class for one semester," she said.
Sohn is currently working on a case study book about what it takes to work as a journalist. It will take a look at how journalists and photographers cover all types of stories.
One of her interests is the work conditions of journalists, such as how much they make and whether there is equity in promotion across race and gender.
Sohn said she is fascinated with the Internet and its impact on journalism.
She finished her most recent media management book two years ago. Once she finishes the journalism case study book, she said, she is going to start revising the media management book.
Editor's Note: The Philip G. Warner Chair in Journalism was established by a grant of $1 million from Houston Endowment Inc., a charitable trust founded by the late Jesse H. Jones and his wife, Mary Gibbs Jones. Jones was publisher of the Houston Chronicle. One of his employees was Philip G. Warner, a 1961 SHSU graduate who served in a number of positions at the Chronicle, from reporter to vice-president and editor-in-chief. Warner was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Sam Houston State in 1985.
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