There was a time when prominent newspaper journalists were
associated with large universities with graduate programs, like Columbia,
Missouri, Northwestern, and Syracuse. Times have changed. As Dennis
Stern ’69 points out, there is
increasing specialization in the newspaper business.
Haverford is not about specialization. In the true spirit of liberal
learning, the College does not offer a major in journalism or communications
(nor do Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore, for that matter). There are no journalism
courses. Even so, Haverford has produced what seems to be an inordinate
number of journalists for a college its size. Haverford prepares students
for a lifetime of asking questions, a lifetime of thinking analytically.
Haverford and journalism are a natural fit.
Haverford also delivers exposure to Haverford alumni who’ve gone
on to careers in journalism. The Silk Journalism
Panel, is the annual on-campus opportunity for the bi-college community
to meet and hear from journalism’s front lines.
There’s also some history. Felix Morley ’15, left the editorship
of the Washington Post, where he’d won a Pulitzer Prize for
editorial writing in 1936, to serve as Haverford’s sixth president.
Haverford alumni have claimed four Pulitzers in the past 20 years: David
Wessel ’75 in 1984; Dave Barry ’69 in 1988; Roy Gutman ’66
in 1993; and Jack Rakove ’68 in 1997.
The person who perhaps best represents journalism on campus today is
director of athletics and associate dean Greg Kannerstein ’63.
Greg uses skills he honed as a newspaper reporter in Philadelphia and
Montgomery, Ala., to bring us “Scoreline.” While his carefully
crafted prose keeps the Ford faithful apprised of athletic endeavors,
he also provides rich reminders of Haverford’s history, traditions,
and its connections to the world beyond 370 Lancaster Avenue. Greg’s
guidance has helped dozens of Fords get started on their newspaper careers.
Still others work for magazines, broadcast media, and other outlets.
Are newspapers still relevant in this age of the Internet and 24/7 cable
news access? I hope the stories and profiles we’ve gathered here
help answer that question. The common thread of a Haverford education
pulls them all together. In David Wessel’s words, Haverford affords
students “confidence, it trains them to ask good questions, it
fosters critical thinking. Haverford is the best journalism school there