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Janna Q. Anderson named nation’s top journalism educator by AEJMC division

Janna Quitney Anderson, associate professor in Elon’s School of Communications, has been named the 2008 winner of the Outstanding Educator Award in the Newspaper Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).

Janna Quitney Anderson

The award honors top professors for their work in preparing journalism students, advancing journalism education and promoting career development.

Anderson joined the Elon faculty in 2000 following a 20-year career as a newspaper reporter and editor. She has taught nearly every journalism course at Elon, revived the school’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and served as adviser to The Pendulum, Elon’s student newspaper.

“Students choose to go into journalism because of her,” wrote Paul Parsons, dean of Elon’s School of Communications, in his nomination letter. “She involves journalism students in megaprojects, and it gives them a sense of the big picture.”

The school has nearly 900 students and graduates about 220 a year, and Anderson stays in touch with many of them by e-mail and on Facebook. “She is the godmother of our alumni,” Parsons wrote. “She’s not only a teacher but serves as (unofficial) internship director and career services professional. We’re a better journalism school because of her.”

One former student, Samiha Khanna, a staff writer for the Raleigh News & Observer, wrote in a letter of support that Anderson is still her mentor, and she recalled her teacher’s classroom persona as that of a patient guide who gives all students individual attention, using theatrical props like a baseball bat and a whistle to leave vivid impressions.

“I still think about the day Janna brandished her bat and blew the piercing whistle in our small college classroom,” Khanna wrote. “I didn’t realize it then, but she really was our coach. She carried her team to success, and she’s still encouraging me and cheering for me and for all of her students.”

She forced us to leave our comfort zones, to go into the community, interview public speakers and get involved on campus,” wrote former student Jessica Frizen, a copy editor and blogger for the Frederick (Md.) News Post. “She kept us awake (in an 8 a.m. class), focused and interested through tactics such as an original ‘AP Style rap’ and a foam-disk gun labeled ‘Journalism Juice.’ No other professor I know is so genuinely connected to her students.”

Anderson is a member of the Editorial Board of Newspaper Research Journal and serves as a reviewer for New Media & Society.

She has become a leading academic voice about the future of the Internet. She is internationally known for her work with the Pew Internet & American Life Project, and is director of The Imagining the Internet Center (www.imaginingtheinternet.org) in the School of Communications.  She led teams of Elon students and faculty to report on the future of Internet policy from the Internet Governance Forum in Athens in 2006 and in Rio de Janeiro in 2007, and she has written three books (two in press) about the future of networked communications.

Anderson will receive the award at the annual AEJMC convention to be held in Chicago Aug. 6-9.

The AEJMC is an international association of more than 3,300 journalism/mass communication faculty, students, administrators, and professionals. AEJMC's members come from more than 28 countries, with the majority working in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1912, AEJMC is the oldest and largest association of journalism and mass communication educators and administrators at the college level.

Katie Parsley,
7/13/2008 7:03 PM