Committee formed to look for new director of IU Student Media


A statue of alumnus and World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle typing on his typewriter was installed in front of Franklin Hall in 2014.  According to "Indiana University Bloomington: America’s Legacy Campus," the statue is meant to “convey how Pyle worked alongside foot soldiers at the front during WW2.”  IDS file photo

Media School Dean James Shanahan has formed a seven-member committee to weigh in on the next director of IU Student Media. 

The search committee, composed of faculty, alumni and students, will look for someone to take on the role previously filled by Ron Johnson, who resigned near the end of the fall semester. 

The director is in charge of overseeing the Indiana Daily Student newspaper, Arbutus yearbook and Inside magazine, as well as the publications’ digital presences and special publications. 

Shanahan would not say what he thought an ideal candidate for the position would look like to avoid swaying the committee’s opinions. However, he did say that someone with expertise in other types of media could be beneficial when looking at the Daily Student’s future, especially with the growing integration of multimedia into the world of news.

Shanahan consulted with his staff to form a six-person committee and allowed the IDS to select a seventh member to serve as a newsroom representative just before winter break. The dean said he tried to pick people who he thought would work well together and represent students, faculty and alumni.

Gerould Kern, a former IDS reporter, and Joseph Coleman, a Media School professor, will co-chair the committee, according to a Media School press release. The two declined to be interviewed until after the committee meets for the first time, which Shanahan said would be after the holidays. 

Kern graduated from IU in 1971 with a degree in journalism. He is a former senior vice president and editor of the Chicago Tribune and helped lead the Tribune into the digital age, according to the press release. He is also a founding member of the Media School Dean’s Advisory Board, a group of volunteers committed to the success of the Media School, according to the Media School website

Coleman worked for the Associated Press, writing about Japan and neighboring countries for almost 20 years before coming to IU in 2009. He teaches classes about news writing and international reporting, and typically leads a reporting class to Japan once a year. He is also a mentor to the current class of sophomore Ernie Pyle Scholars.

There are three students on the committee. D’Angelo King, a senior studying journalism and political science, works as the news director for WIUX and treasurer of the National Association of Black Journalists, according to the press release. He is also the chief of communications and marketing for the IU Student Association. 

Emily Abshire, a junior in journalism, just completed her second semester on the management staff of the IDS and is the art director for WIUX. Sarah Verschoor, who was elected by the IDS staff to serve on the committee, is a sophomore studying journalism. She served as an IDS news editor in the fall and will be working as the audience engagement editor in the spring.

Joining them are Anne Ryder, a senior lecturer in the Media School, and Amy Wimmer Schwarb, the president of the Student Publications Alumni Association and a former IDS editor-in-chief.

Ryder worked in television news for more than 30 years, anchoring many of those at Indianapolis station WTHR, and was inducted into the Indiana Broadcast Hall of Fame in 2010, according to the press release. She has been teaching at IU since 2014.

Wimmer Schwarb is the editor of Champion magazine, the associate director of membership communication at the NCAA and teaches news reporting in the Media School as an adjunct instructor, according to the press release.

The committee will begin accepting director applications in early spring, according to the press release, and Shanahan said he hopes the group will have a recommendation for the position around spring break. The dean said he will make a decision not long after the committee gives its recommendation.

The Media School is taking public input for the Student Media director position on its website.

A previous version of this article wrongly stated that Ron Johnson retired at the end of fall semester when he actually resigned. The article also said Gerould Kern was a former editor-in-chief of the Indiana Daily Student when he was not. The IDS regrets these errors.

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