Christie to lecture on journalism’s “false god” as Donald Murray visiting professor at UNH

John Christie, editor in chief at the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, has been named the 2014 Donald M. Murray Visiting Journalist at the University of New Hampshire.

Christie will give a lecture, “Leaving journalism’s false god behind,” on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, at 5 p.m. in MUB Theater I.

“Journalism’s false god is the unrelenting striving for page views and click-throughs that has exacerbated our long-standing failure to adequately address readers’ demands for more credibility,” Christie said.

The talk is free and open to the public. Christie, a 1970 graduate of UNH, will also visit journalism classes throughout the week and meet with the staff of The New Hampshire, the campus newspaper.

John Christie, editor-in-chief, Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting

Barbara Walsh

John Christie, editor-in-chief, Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting

Christie, the co-founder of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, is a media veteran whose 40-year career includes work in Massachusetts, Maine, and Florida as a newspaper writer, editor, general manager, and publisher. He has won numerous awards as a reporter and editor, including twice for best public service reporting in New England from the Associated Press, and he was the primary editor at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel of two Pulitzer Prize finalists.

Christie was one of the first journalists to serve as a full-time training editor for a newspaper, a position that included coaching writers and editors on their craft and creating a news writing program for high school and college minority students.

A native of Dover, Christie was a student of Professor Donald Murray and managing editor of The New Hampshire. Murray was a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who started the UNH journalism program in 1963 and taught writing – especially the process of writing – to generations of students who then found work at some of the finest newspapers in the nation. His Boston Globe obituary described him as a writing “apostle” to the many journalists whose work he coached.

Donald Murray, writing teacher and professor who founded the journalism program at the University of New Hampshire

Donald Murray, author, writing teacher and professor who founded the journalism program at the University of New Hampshire

“Without Don Murray,” said Christie, “I would not have become a reporter and editor and had a fulfilling newspaper career. He was my teacher, my inspiration and my friend. In every word, every sentence I write or edit, I have always heard and always will hear Don’s voice advising me to do better.”

The Donald Murray Visiting Journalist Program brings accomplished alumni journalists to campus each year for week-long residencies during which they conduct classes, work with students and student media, and give a public lecture. Recent visiting alums include Pulitzer Prize-winning Kevin Sullivan ’81; Dana Jennings, ’80, of The New York Times; and Natalie Jacobson, ’65, evening news anchor for WCVB-TV, Channel 5 in Boston.

Christie is the editor of four books, including a bestselling book on Hurricane Andrew. His freelance work has appeared in the Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix, Boston magazine, Yankee magazine and elsewhere. He has spoken on newspaper management and writing in the United States, Europe and South America.

He has served as a visiting faculty member at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, past president of the Massachusetts State House Correspondents Association, past president of Maine Newspaper Publishers Association, and on the journalism advisory board at Florida International University.

The program is sponsored by the UNH Journalism Program, the UNH English Department, the Telegraph of Nashua, and the McLean Contributionship.

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