Chew, Wright Named Inaugural Newhouse Endowed Chairs

April 17, 2008

Chew, Wright Named Inaugural Newhouse Endowed Chairs of Public Communications

Monday, April 7, 2008

Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications has announced the appointment of two faculty members as endowed chairs.

Fiona Chew, professor of television, radio and film, and Jay Wright, professor of communications law, have been named inaugural Newhouse Endowed Chairs of Public Communications. As part of the three-year appointment, they will conduct research or engage in creative activity that will enhance the national reputation of the school. Each will receive a stipend, a research budget, a reduced teaching load and a graduate assistant.

The endowed chair is awarded on the basis of research, scholarship and creative work completed during the previous five years.

“It has been wonderful to launch the new, rotating Endowed Chair program at the Newhouse School,” says Carla Lloyd, Newhouse associate dean of scholarly and creative activity. “It gives our deserving faculty members three years of support to work on a project that they really would like to complete by reducing their teaching loads and giving them a sizable research budget and annual stipend. Dean Rubin and I were very impressed with the number and quality of applicants who vied for our inaugural chair this year, and we congratulate our new endowed chairs.”

Chew, a former television/film producer, teaches electronic media research, persuasive writing and programming theory, and is a consultant on various national and international telecommunications projects.

Her research interests focus on message analysis and effects, health communication and informational needs. She has assessed the impact of television and mass media on audience perceptions and was involved in a four-country project investigating the impact of a five-part television series on health. She was co-investigator for a Kellogg Foundation research grant project that evaluated the long-term national impact of a television program. Her other projects include assessing the perceptions of news viewers for MacNeil/Lehrer Productions and evaluating the appeal, comprehensibility and after-school use of science programs for Children’s Television Workshop.

She directs SU’s Healthy Monday Campaign, a student-focused communications and outreach health promotion effort. Two Healthy Monday-related TV programs for which she has served as co-executive producer have won Telly Awards. She is the founding editor of the Journal of Health and Mass Communication and has authored and presented more than 50 reports in communication, health and related journals and conferences. Her research on the “state of science” on mammography guidelines won a top faculty paper award at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Conference.

She holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in communications, both from the University of Washington.

Wright is an expert in communications and First Amendment law and author of three books: “The First Amendment and the Fourth Estate” (2004) and “The First Amendment and the Fifth Estate” (2007), both published by The Foundation Press, and “The Legal Handbook for New York State Journalists” (New York State Bar Association, 1987). He also edited the New York State chapter of “Tapping Officials’ Secrets” (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 1997), a national compendium of information on state open records and open meetings laws.

A former advertising agency copywriter and newspaper columnist, Wright served for 25 years as a consultant to the New York State Office of Court Administration and as the executive director of the New York Fair Trial Free Press Conference, a statewide bench-bar-press organization.

He was named SU’s 2001 Scholar/Teacher of the Year.

Wright earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism at Northwestern University, a master’s degree at Yale Law School and a Ph.D. at SU.

Chew and Wright were chosen by a selection committee that included Bruce Abbey, professor in the School of Architecture; Hub Brown, associate professor and chair of the mass communications department and associate professor of broadcast journalism in Newhouse; Christine L. Himes, professor and chair of the sociology department in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and The College of Arts and Sciences; Sharon Hollenback, professor of television, radio and film, and mass communications in Newhouse; and Gary M. Radke, professor of fine arts in The College of Arts and Sciences.