Campus News

Carter gift increases focus on public affairs journalism

A $250,000 gift by former journalist and alumnus Don E. Carter will support an increased focus on public affairs journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

A three-course public affairs journalism emphasis will begin this fall, led by John F. Greenman, holder of the distinguished professorship named for Carter and his late wife, Carolyn.
Carter said he elevated a professorship he and Carolyn created eight years ago to a distinguished professorship to further public ­affairs journalism. The distinguished professorship will eventually become the Don E. and Carolyn McKenzie Carter Chair of Journalism because of an earlier deferred gift from the Carters.

“Carolyn and I both believed we need to train more journalists to cover public affairs in all media,” Carter said. “Coverage of government, business, sports and other public issues is essential to our democracy.”

Carter, of Sea Island, was recognized at an appreciation reception hosted by Grady College on April 14, when Grady Dean E. Culpepper “Cully” Clark announced the Don E. and Carolyn McKenzie Carter Distinguished ­Professorship.

“From the Grady College to Atlanta and from there to Macon, Washington, New York and Miami, Don and Carolyn spread their passion for journalism to all corners,” Clark said. “In Don’s last posting as vice president for news at Knight-Ridder, he steered that organization through what is widely regarded as its halcyon days at the top of journalism. One cannot imagine Grady today without the love, affection and gifts they have showered upon this great college over the past 70 years. The Carter commitment to journalism will serve the college for generations more.”

Kent Middleton, head of Grady’s department of journalism, said the Carter endowment will be invaluable for students in the public affairs journalism emphasis courses that Greenman and associate professor Barry Hollander will begin teaching fall semester.

“We intend this to be more than a curriculum,” Greenman said. “We want to develop a student professional journalism association that focuses on watchdog and accountability journalism. We want to send our students for additional training at professional institutes like Poynter. We want to see their work widely published. Carter money will help fuel this work.”

Carter money also helps fuel work of the Carter Professor furthering journalistic courage and coverage of poverty, according to Greenman.

“We pay closer attention to journalistic courage than any other journalism school in the U.S., and we’re helping journalists cover poverty as an aspect of any beat,” he said.

The Carters, both of whom enjoyed long careers in journalism, were inducted into the inaugural class of the Grady Fellowship in 2008. Both Georgia natives, they began work upon graduation for Atlanta newspapers-Carolyn for the Atlanta Constitution and Don for the Atlanta Journal. They met while covering the same story for the then-competing newspapers and married early during World War II after Don began Army duty.

Carolyn, a 1940 Grady alumna, was the first female photographer for the Constitution and enjoyed a long career of professional and civic service and an active retirement until her death in 2010.