July 27, 2006

Freivogel named interim journalism school director

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A journalist with decades of experience in reporting, editing and editorial writing will serve as interim director of the School of Journalism at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

William Freivogel, who covered the U.S. Supreme Court, served as deputy editorial page editor and covered Washington for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, will temporarily take the position recently vacated by Walter B. Jaehnig, who announced plans to step down.

Jaehnig served as director of the School of Journalism for 12 of his 19 years at SIUC. Freivogel will begin his new duties in August.

Manjunath Pendakur, dean of the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts at SIUC, said Freivogel's appointment stemmed from recommendations of the journalism faculty and cited Freivogel's vast professional experience and background as reasons for the appointment.

"I'm very excited about his coming on board," Pendakur said. "With his substantial industry experience, our students are the principal beneficiaries. I'm looking forward to working with him on many fronts."

Pendakur said he will work closely with Freivogel as the college examines making changes to the undergraduate curriculum throughout its three academic programs.

Freivogel joined the SIUC faculty in January 2006 with a one-year appointment as a university professor with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, where he lectures and coordinates various

projects. Freivogel said he will continue his association with the institute and will keep teaching a journalism opinion writing class and First Amendment class for the SIU Law School after beginning his new director duties.

"It's going to be very challenging," Freivogel said. "I appreciate the confidence that the journalism faculty and Dean Pendakur have expressed in me and hope to live up to their expectations. I plan to meet individually with faculty members to discuss their personal goals as well as their aspirations for the school. Then we can move ahead together to continue to improve our scholarship and teaching.

"In my seven months on campus I have been very impressed with the journalism students and the quality of the Daily Egyptian. This sturdy foundation – emerging from Walter Jaehnig's tenure as director – is a firm base to build on as we journalists try to figure out what it means to be a reporter in the age of the blogosphere," he said.

As interim director, Freivogel said he hopes to examine issues such as how news companies might continue to support basic reporting and information gathering in the face of dwindling financial support.

Freivogel has a bachelor's degree from Stanford University and a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis. He began working at the Post-Dispatch in 1971 and worked in the paper's Washington bureau for 12 years, rising to the job of assistant bureau chief. He won several awards for his reporting.

Freivogel became deputy editorial page editor at the Post-Dispatch in 1997, where he won multiple prizes and was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles on former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Constitution.

Jaehnig, who came to SIUC in August 1987 as the School of Journalism's new director, plans to return to teaching, research and other projects. He served as the school's director from 1987 to 1995 and from 2002 to the present.

Jaehnig has bachelor's and master's degrees from Northwestern University and earned his doctorate in sociology in 1974 at Essex University in England. He worked as reporter for a chain of weekly newspapers during the 1960s and later worked as reporter, editor and news operations director for the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.

Providing for succession at every level is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.


William Freivogel

William Freivogel
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Walter Jaehnig

Walter Jaehnig
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