June 11, 2009

Journalism faculty member earns national award

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Mark J. Dolan, an assistant professor in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s School of Journalism, will receive a top honor this weekend from the National Press Photographers Association.

Dolan will receive the John Durniak Mentor Award at the organization’s awards dinner, Saturday, June 13, in Las Vegas. Dolan is receiving the award “for his work to continually raise the bar for photojournalism education … and for being a champion for his students, setting a tough standard and building their confidence,” according to the organization.

Dolan came to SIUC in fall 2008.

The School of Journalism is within the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts.

“Mark is a very talented teacher and a motivating force within our photojournalism program,” Dean Gary P. Kolb said. “He has creative ideas and is constantly pushing the envelope to offer new opportunities to our students. He maintains high standards and brings a practiced professional eye to the classroom -- our students are fortunate to have him as a teacher.”

In addition to his classroom teaching, Dolan works as a multi-media artist, combining still photography and sound documenting in “The Heart and Art of BBQ in America,” at bbqpilgrim.com. He is continuing to expand the project, which looks at how Americans approach barbecue, and the many ways it touches families, friends and neighborhoods.

The award is “a tremendous honor,” Dolan said. “It’s really special. It’s a wonderful award.”

“It’s humbling to get recognized for doing something that I love to do anyway,” he said.

Dolan said he places a lot of emphasis on mentoring, not just with students as a teacher, but also throughout his photojournalism career. He reminds students about the “importance and significance of giving back to the photojournalism community.”

“Photojournalists are very good about helping each other as a group,” he said. “There is a wonderful tradition in photojournalism of the photojournalist helping each other out whenever possible. A big part of that is mentoring.”

Prior to coming to SIUC, Dolan also was a senior associate professor in the Department of Visual and Interactive Communication in Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Journalism for eight years before starting work on the documentary. Dolan’s work also included positions as photojournalist, photo director and photo editor at various newspapers, including The Providence Journal, The Anchorage Times, The Gainesville Sun, and Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Dolan earned a master’s degree in visual and interactive communication from Syracuse University in 1995, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida in 1985.

The award, established in 1998, honors the late John Durniak, executive editor of Popular Photography magazine. Durniak, who died in 1997, also served as picture editor at Time, the New York Times, and managing editor of Look, and “nurtured some of the most prominent photojournalists of the 20th Century,” according to the organization.