Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nehisi Coates have announced they will take on faculty roles at Howard University. President Wayne A.I. Fredericks also said the historically Black institution has also founded a new Center for Journalism and Democracy.
“We are at a critical juncture in our democracy, and yet our press does not reflect the nation it serves and too often struggles to grasp the danger for our country as we see growing attacks on free speech and the fundamental right to vote,” Hannah-Jones said in a statement.
“In the storied tradition of the Black Press, the Center for Journalism and Democracy will help produce journalists capable of accurately and urgently covering the challenges of our democracy with a clarity, skepticism, rigor and historical dexterity that is too often missing from today’s journalism.”
Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize winner, had turned down a tenure at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to take the position at Howard University’s School of Communications.
Her decision came after alumni, faculty, and students protested the university’s initial decision to deny Hannah-Jones tenure. That decision later was reversed, but Hannah-Jones opted to accept the position at Howard.
Meanwhile, Coates will teach in the university’s College of Arts and Sciences as Knight Chair in Race and Journalism.
“At such a critical time for race relations in our country, it is vital that we understand the role of journalism in steering our national conversation and social progress,” Frederick said in a statement.
“Not only must our newsrooms reflect the communities where they are reporting, but we need to infuse the profession with diverse talent. We are thrilled that they will bring their insights and research to what is already a world-class, highly accomplished team of professors.”
Stacy M Brown is the senior national NNPA Newswire correspondent.