By: E&P Staff
Cole Campbell, a veteran newspaperman known for his futuristic approach to media as the dean of the journalism school at the University of Nevada, Reno, was killed Friday when his vehicle overturned on an icy road.
Campbell, 53, lost control of his 1999 Honda sport utility vehicle in southeast Reno around 10 a.m., the Reno Gazette-Journal first reported on its Web site.
Campbell, a former editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., became head of the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism in July 2004. He was the journalism school’s fifth dean.
He also worked in reporting and editing roles in North Carolina at the News & Observer of Raleigh, the Greensboro News & Record and a newspaper in Chapel Hill, according to the university’s Web site.
Rescue crews pulled Campbell from the wreckage Friday morning and took him to Renown Medical Center, where he died from his injuries a short time later, Reno police said.
According to police, two witnesses said they thought the driver of the Honda had been traveling too fast for the icy road conditions.
Roy Peter Clark, vice president and senior scholar at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., where Campbell was a fellow in 2000, had called him “an innovator, a daring thinker.”
Campbell had said his goal was to see the school attain prominence in journalistic issues, ethics and innovations.
“I think in the next five to 10 years, this school can leverage its commitment to media ethics and media technology to become a national beacon for journalism as a practice and journalism education,” Campbell had said.
Warren Lerude, former editor and publisher of the Reno Gazette-Journal and a professor at the Reynolds School of Journalism, said Friday it was a “tragic day” for the university. He said Campbell was leading the school “in an extraordinary and visionary way.”
“Cole was the type of journalist, as an editor and educator, who embraced the future,” Lerude told The Associated Press.
“At a time of major changes in American media ? in print, broadcast, cable and online ? Cole was ahead of the cutting edge on figuring out where journalism should be going and through what kind of delivery systems that were and are evolving,” he said.
“He was leading the faculty, students and staff in defining the new technology and the continuing ethical questions that arrive not only in traditional media but in new media as well,” he said.
Nevada President Milk Glick asked students and faculty to keep the Campbell family in their thoughts and prayers.
“A light has gone out for our university,” he said.
Campbell was active in a number of professional organizations and in seminars and panels at a wide variety of scholarly and professional conferences, including the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, the American Press Institute, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and Pulitzer Prize juries.
Larry Dailey, a professor of journalism who joined the Nevada faculty in 2005 from Ball State University, said Campbell’s energy and ideas were prime reasons why Dailey made the move.
“He had an undiluted optimism. He was very concerned about the future of the industry, but he lived his concern in such a way where those around him couldn’t help but change that concern into optimism,” Dailey said.
“Cole believed journalism was a great calling, and he lived that ideal every day. Anyone who worked with him would tell you that his vision was one to best prepare all of the students of our school for the future of the industry.”
School officials said one of the best examples of Campbell’s vision was the school’s first-year graduate program in environmental journalism, which focussed on issues at Lake Tahoe. The program took a multimedia approach to its storytelling, while stressing the value that serious journalism can have in solving major issues, Daily said.
Campbell was involved with the National Association of Minority Media Executives, the Inter American Press Association and the Mid-America Press Institute. He also had served as a member of the Board of Visitors at the College of Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama and served on a similar board at Norfolk State University.
Campbell was a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University. He was a graduate of the Advanced Executive Program of the Media Management Center at Northwestern University and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
He is survived by his wife, Catherine, and son, Clarke, both of Reno, and daughter, Claire of Brooklyn, N.Y. Funeral and memorial arrangements were pending.