UGA’s Grady College McGill Lecture to be delivered by former Knight Ridder news executive

ATHENS, Ga. – Jerry Ceppos, former chief news executive of Knight Ridder, will deliver the 27th annual McGill Lecture on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. in the University of Georgia Chapel.

The McGill Lecture honors the life and memory of Ralph McGill, the outspoken Southern journalist who fought persistently for civil rights during the ’50s and ’60s. Established in 1978, the annual lecture series typically addresses equal rights, ethics and other major issues impacting the American press.

Sponsored by UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the lecture is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in Demosthenian Hall. 

Ceppos worked for Knight Ridder, the country’s second largest newspaper publisher, for more than six years. He retired from the position in late August, 2005. Knight Ridder publishes 31 daily newspapers, including the San Jose Mercury News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Detroit Free Press and Miami Herald. Before becoming Knight Ridder’s vice president for news, Ceppos spent 27 years at the Miami Herald and at the Mercury News, where he was executive editor.

Ceppos is a past president of the Associated Press Managing Editors, a nationwide editors’ group. He also served two terms as president of the California Society of Newspaper Editors. He was a Pulitzer Prize juror in 1996 and 1997. In the community, he is a member of the boards of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University and the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art.

Among Ceppos’ professional interests are journalism education and media ethics. He served for six years as president of the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, which sets standards for journalism programs at the university level and accredits them. He presently heads a council committee studying ethics education in journalism schools.

In addition, Ceppos serves on the board of visitors of the College of Journalism of the University of Maryland, from which he was graduated in 1969 and has been honored as a distinguished alumnus. In 2002, the national organization of journalism-school administrators awarded Ceppos its highest honor, the Gerald M. Sass Award for Distinguished Service to Journalism and Mass Communications. Jerry has chaired the journalism-education committees of both national groups of newspaper editors.

In 1997, the Society of Professional Journalists named Ceppos one of three winners of its first national Ethics in Journalism Award. He was recognized for a column acknowledging shortcomings of a controversial San Jose Mercury News series. He also delivered the Ruhl Lecture on ethics in journalism at the University of Oregon that year. Also in 1997, the Anti-Defamation League honored him with its Torch of Liberty Award for service to journalism and to the community. In 1996, he received an excellence award from Knight Ridder for diversifying the staff and the pages of the Mercury News.

The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication is celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2005. It provides seven undergraduate majors including advertising, broadcast news, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and telecommunication arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, considered the electronic broadcasting industry’s most prestigious prize. For more information, visit www.grady.uga.edu.