Is journalism dying? Does the teaching of journalism belong in a liberal arts setting? Does the survival of the academic canon depend on education in journalism and mass communications? Does the survival of journalism depend upon the academic canon? Is technology the salvation of teaching or its ruination?
Those were among the questions posed by Washington and Lee University journalism professor Brian Richardson, in his Sept. 24 lecture marking his appointment as the Harry E. and Mary Jane W. Redenbaugh Professor.
In his remarks, Richardson addressed the question of technology's role in education by saying that "[o]ur culture, particularly our political culture, seems to have become convinced that it is more important to teach a lot of people marginally and cheaply than to teach people well.
"The future of our democratic society lies in our continued embrace of the liberal arts," he said. "There is no way to help people understand the complexities and interconnections of modern life with it."
A 1973 graduate of W&L, Richardson received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Florida. He joined the faculty at his alma mater in 1990 and headed the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications from 2003 to 2010. Prior to teaching, he worked in television and radio news and was also a reporter and editor for The Tallahassee Democrat, The Miami Herald and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Harry E. and Mary Jane W. Redenbaugh Term Professorship, established in 2008 by Mary Jane Redenbaugh in honor and memory of Harry E. Redenbaugh, W&L Class of 1939, is awarded to a professor for a fixed term. Richardson was named the Redenbaugh Professor in May 2012.