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‘Great Time to Be Studying Journalism’ Says New Endowed UND Prof

Mark Trahant, an independent journalist, has been appointed as an Endowed Professor at the University of North Dakota Communication Program.
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Mark Trahant, an independent print and broadcast journalist and member of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock Tribe, will join the University of North Dakota Communication Program faculty next fall. He’s been named the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism.

“We’re so excited about Mark joining UND,” Debbie Storrs, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, home of the Communication Program, said in a release. “Mark will be a great addition to the Communication Program given his professional experience and will help develop a Native American student journalism program.”

“The goal to develop such a program is tied to our commitment to diversity and builds on existing strengths including the Native Media Center that was previously created by committed faculty,” Storrs said. “We also expect that Mark will help strengthen collaborative relationships with tribal community colleges.”

According to the release, Trahant will help students understand new today though social media outlets, and will encourage Native students to attend UND to major in journalism. This way, they can then go back to their communities and help them tell their stories.

Trahant told UND that he’s always had journalism in his veins. “I started a crayon newspaper when I was around 8 years old,” said Trahant, who is finishing his second term as the Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Anchorage. “I like being nosy and then telling everyone.”

Trahant said he will continue writing, but that teaching will be his top priority.

“One of the narratives people have is that journalism is in decline,” Trahant said in the release. “But I see a great opportunity, a new beginning. The exciting message for students is that this is a great time to be studying journalism.”

Trahant, who freelances for Indian Country Today Media Network, was also a reporter on the PBS series Frontline. He worked on a story called “The Silence,” about sexual abuse by clergy in Alaska.

He is the 2014 Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and was formerly the president of the Native American Journalists Association.

He was also the editorial page editor for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and was once chairman and chief executive officer at the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. The Oakland, California–based nonprofit provides advanced training and services to help news media reflect diversity in content, staffing and business operations. Trahant is a former columnist at The Seattle Times, and has been publisher of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News in Moscow, Idaho; executive news editor of The Salt Lake Tribune; a reporter at the Arizona Republic in Phoenix; and has worked at several tribal newspapers.

Trahant has won a number of journalism awards and was a finalist for the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting as co-author of a series on federal-Indian policy.