Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media Hosts Political Discussion with Distinguished Alumnus Pat Dougherty

Oct. 18, 2011
News Photo 5263Pat Dougherty, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of the Anchorage Daily News and a 1974 Baylor journalism graduate

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Anchorage Daily News editor, who covered former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, will lead political discussion on Oct. 20

Ever since she was selected as a vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin has captivated the media and public. Now, Baylor University's Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media will host the journalist who knows her well, Pat Dougherty, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of the Anchorage Daily News and a Baylor journalism graduate.

Dougherty will lead a political discussion from 2 to 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, in room 245 of the Castellaw Communications Center on the Baylor campus. The discussion is part of a larger celebration called "Baylor University: A Legacy of Excellence in Journalism Education," which recognizes more than 110 years of educating students for careers in journalism. The department has placed a special emphasis on the classes of 1958 to 1976, fondly known as the Cheavens-McHam era.

Among the distinguished alumni from that era is Dougherty, who earned his BA in communication studies/journalism in 1974. He moved to Alaska in 1975 to work as a sportswriter for The Anchorage Times, which was then the state's largest paper. He later co-owned and edited a weekly alternative newspaper called the Alaska Advocate, and served as a fisheries policy consultant to the Alaska legislature.

When the failing Daily News was acquired by McClatchy Newspapers in 1979, it sparked one of the country's last great newspaper wars. Dougherty was hired in January 1980 to be the first editor of the paper's weekend magazine, and then went on to serve in a variety of leadership roles, including news editor, city editor and managing editor. Dougherty was named executive editor in October 1998. He is one of the longest-serving top editors in McClatchy Newspapers, the nation's third-largest newspaper company.

Among his accomplishments, Dougherty directed the reporting for and edited the series, "A People in Peril," which won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service. The series reported on the tragically high rate of suicide among Alaska's native people. The following year, in 1990, the newspaper was a Pulitzer finalist for its coverage of the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill.

About Baylor University

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, classified with "high research activity" by Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Baylor provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students, blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating Texas university. Located in Waco, it welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions.

About the Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media

The beginning of Baylor journalism can be traced back to the creation of the Baylor Lariat newspaper in 1900. Then in 1913, Baylor became the first university in Texas to offer a journalism course. The Department of Journalism was established in 1927 and the first chair was Dr. Charles D. Johnson. In September of 2011, the department was renamed Journalism, Public Relations and New Media to more accurately reflect what we do in a constantly changing media environment. We stay current on modern media platforms while remaining true to the fundamentals of strong, ethical journalism and public relations.

About The College of Arts & Sciences

The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University's oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 27 academic departments and 13 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Arts & Sciences faculty conduct important research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275

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