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Whitaker Named Helen Gurley Brown Research Professor

Charles Whitaker, former senior editor of Ebony, directs the Academy for Alternative Journalism

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March 24, 2009 | by Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Charles Whitaker, assistant professor of journalism at the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, has been named the Helen Gurley Brown Research Professor.

Whitaker serves as the director of the Academy for Alternative Journalism, a program designed to increase diversity at the member publications of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. He also co-directs the Medill Magazine Publishing Project and is chairman of the board of directors of the Students Publishing Company, which oversees the Daily Northwestern newspaper and Syllabus yearbook.

Whitaker is active as a contributor, editor and advisor to several local publications and community projects, including the Chicago Reporter, Catalyst Magazine, the Chocolate Chips Theater Co., The Independent Press Association and Chicago Parent Magazine.

Whitaker joined the Ebony Magazine staff in 1985 and served as an award-winning senior editor there from 1999 to 2002. He began his career as a newspaper staff writer for the Louisville Times and Miami Herald.

Whitaker took an unprecedented employment census of the magazine industry in the mid-1990s. The resulting article, "The Whitaker Report," set a baseline for monitoring the industry's minority-hiring practices.

The Whitaker Report also resulted in an ongoing association on issues of diversity with the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA). In 2006 and 2007, Whitaker conducted two employment censuses for the MPA. He also served as editorial director for Project Masthead, an MPA initiative designed to encourage college students of color to consider magazine careers.

A full-time Northwestern faculty member in the 1990s, Whitaker rejoined the Medill faculty in the spring of 2002.
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