Journalism teacher named DART Academic Fellow
Close, an associate professor, will join 13 other journalism educators from North America, Australia and Great Britain at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York from June 15-18 for intensive training on teaching accurate, ethical and sensitive coverage of tragedy.
This prestigious journalism program is sponsored by the Dart Center, with support from the University of Washington Center for Global Studies.
Close said his students will ultimately benefit from the opportunity he has to learn, study and share experiences with the other fellows.
“Many of those I will be training with have traveled the country and the world reporting on natural disasters, devastating illnesses and deadly military actions,” he said. “I have also reported on violence and its victims, and I will be able to share what I have learned with a group with impressive professional and academic credentials.”
The fellowship promises a diverse and intense experience.
“Like our 2010 inaugural class, this year’s group has an impressive variety of local, national and international professional and personal experience,” said Meg Spratt, director of Dart West, Dart’s academic office, located at the University of Washington Department of Communication.
Close came to Wichita State in 1990 as an adjunct, and was tenured and promoted to associate professor in 1993. He earned a bachelor’s in journalism and a master’s in communication from WSU.
He was a reporter and editor at The Wichita Eagle and other newspapers for 14 years. Close was the editorial consultant for “Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of the Serial Killer Next Door” (HarperCollins, 2007).
“In the immediate post-Watergate era in which I trained as a journalist, getting the story quickly, accurately and efficiently was the mantra. The more tragic the circumstances, the more driven I was to barter emotions from victims,” Close said.
Part of being a journalist is getting deeply involved with covering tragedy, Close said.
“I have been shot at, beaten and doused with teargas from a hovering helicopter, while covering a race riot that resembled a war zone,” he said. “I have covered devastating F5 tornadoes that killed people and wiped out the communities of Greensburg and Hesston.
Close is the adviser to the WSU student newspaper, “The Sunflower.”
“Over the years, the student paper has had to cover death and tragedy on campus, and my assistance was part their understanding of what it takes to cover such stories with professional and dignified compassion,” Close said.