Former Philadelphia Inquirer Editor to Serve as Reynolds Professor at W&L

Gene Foreman

Gene Foreman (Photo by John Beale)

Gene Foreman, former managing editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, will join Washington and Lee University’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications in April as its ninth Donald W. Reynolds Distinguished Visiting Professor.

Foreman will teach a course in the four-week Spring Term entitled “Journalism that Changes the World.” He will also serve as an informal editor-in-residence for the department’s capstone course for journalism majors, “In-depth Reporting.”

Foreman’s professorship is made possible by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

“I’m delighted that Gene will be with us for spring term,” said Journalism Department Head and Reynolds Professor of Business Journalism Pam Luecke.  “Gene is one of the most admired journalists in the industry and was instrumental in much of the groundbreaking journalism done by the Inquirer’s newsroom.”  During Foreman’s 25-year tenure at the Inquirer, the newspaper received 18 Pulitzer Prizes.

Foreman’s spring-term course will draw on his experiences and contacts at the Inquirer as well those at other newspapers and broadcast media.  Students will read and watch exemplary journalism and have a chance to talk to top journalists in class, either in person or via Skype, and during an overnight field trip to Washington, D.C.

In his 41-year newspaper career, Foreman was a managing editor 33 years. Before the Inquirer, he directed the newsrooms of the Pine Bluff (Ark.) Commercial for five years and the Arkansas Democrat in Little Rock for three years.  He also served as senior editor in charge of the news and copy desks at Newsday, the Long Island daily.

After retiring from the Inquirer in 1998, Foreman taught for 17 semesters at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Communications, serving as the College’s inaugural Larry and Ellen Foster Professor.  He received the Deans’ Award and the Alumni Society Award for teaching excellence. He continues to manage a writers’ conference at Penn State, bringing distinguished writers to campus twice a year, and he also returns to campus as editor-in-residence for in-depth reporting students. In November the Alumni Society will honor him with the Douglas A. Anderson Contributor Award, named for the College’s dean who was the winner in 2012, the first year the award was given.

Foreman published a textbook in 2009 entitled “The Ethical Journalist: Making Responsible Decisions in the Pursuit of News” (Malden, Massachusetts: Wiley-Blackwell). The book is used at dozens of universities across the United States, including Washington and Lee.

Foreman earned his undergraduate degree in journalism from the Arkansas State College (now Arkansas State University), and in 1990 was recognized as a distinguished alumnus.  This fall, he is spending time back in Arkansas — but on the opposite side of the state — as the University of Arkansas’ inaugural Visiting Distinguished Professor of Ethics in Journalism, making presentations to classes across the journalism curriculum and advising the journalism department in its effort to create a center for journalism ethics.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., it is one of the largest private foundations in the United States and has made grants of more than $100 million through its National Journalism Initiative.

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