Paula Poindexter, a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin, was installed as the 95th president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication during the August 2013 conference held in Washington DC. With more than 3,700 members, AEJMC is the largest association of journalism and communication educators, students and professionals in the world.
A member of AEJMC since graduate school, Poindexter has held a variety of elected positions and received several AEJMC awards, including the Inaugural Lionel C. Barrow Jr. Award for Distinguished Achievement in Diversity Research and Education and a First Place Award in the “Excellence in Teaching Paper Competition,” sponsored by AEJMC’s Teaching Standards Committee. While chair of AEJMC’s Standing Committee on Research, Poindexter proposed the Tankard Book Award which has become a premiere AEJMC award. Plus, she oversaw the development of AEJMC’s Recommended Ethical Research Guidelines.
Poindexter earned her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York and her B.S. degree from The University of Texas at Austin. She has published three books and is the author or co-author of more than 50 scholarly journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers, and over 60 professional articles, book reviews, and presentations.
During the five years that Poindexter directed the graduate journalism program at The University of Texas at Austin, the journalism Ph.D. program became among the most prestigious in the country. Her leadership of the graduate program led to her nomination as Outstanding Graduate Advisor at The University of Texas at Austin. Poindexter’s professional media experience includes print and broadcast as well as business side and newsroom. She has been a manager and executive at The Los Angeles Times and a reporter and producer for KPRC-TV, the NBC affiliate TV station in Houston, Texas.
As author of the book “Millennials, News, and Social Media: Is News Engagement a Thing of the Past?” and co-founder of Millennials and News, Poindexter not only champions the importance of an informed society and ways to encourage the Millennial generation, born in the 1980s and 1990s, to engage with news, she has channeled that passion into one of her signature AEJMC initiatives: National News Engagement Day, an event that will be held for the first time on the first Tuesday in October 2014. National News Engagement Day, Poindexter says, is important for AEJMC and the nation as a whole. She adds that “if as a democratic society, we value the importance of being informed, we can no longer be a spectator to the trends showing the dwindling commitment to informing oneself of news. It is time for us to do something and we can begin with a day devoted to engaging with news.”
Poindexter’s other AEJMC initiatives include the Journalism and Communication Graduate Student Info Expo and an international regional conference. The first Info Expo, which brought 22 graduate programs and prospective graduate students together at the annual conference in Washington DC., was held in August. The international regional conference initiative grew out of Poindexter’s commitment to helping AEJMC have a more visible presence on the international conference stage. The first international regional conference will be held in Santiago, Chile, October 2015. After Latin America, Poindexter hopes AEJMC will hold regional conferences in Asia, Europe, and Africa.