Brett Zongker: [email protected], 202-994-6466
Jason Shevrin: [email protected], 202-994-5631
WASHINGTON (Oct. 3, 2016)—Recognizing the changing landscape of journalism, George Washington University alumna Char Beales, B.A. ’73, and her husband Howard Beales, professor in the GW School of Business, have pledged a $3.2 million gift to the GW School of Media and Public Affairs focused on the importance of accuracy and accountability in journalism. GW announced today that the gift will fund an endowed professorship for accountability in journalism.
The gift is a bequest commitment from the Beales’ estate and will create the Char Beales Endowed Professorship of Accountability in Journalism. The bequest is the largest single gift in the history of the School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA), which is dedicated to the study of media, journalism and political communication. The gift will fund the future hiring of a faculty member with a record of scholarship and analysis fostering accountability in journalism.
“We are deeply grateful to Char and Howard for their commitment to George Washington and their extraordinary generosity in making this splendid gift to the School of Media and Public Affairs,” said President Steven Knapp. “Accuracy and accountability in journalism are essential to the preservation of our democracy, and this new professorship will ensure that those values are studied and taught in the heart of our nation’s capital.”
As a veteran media executive, Ms. Beales recognized the importance of maintaining high standards of accuracy and accountability in journalism, which has been made more challenging by the low barriers of entry for news outlets and the openness of the internet. The gift will fund the professorship, related research and student research.
Ms. Beales is the chair of the National Council for Media and Public Affairs, an advisory body for the school. She is the former president and CEO of the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) and a current member of the Board of Directors for CTAM-Europe.
Ms. Beales said she and her husband want to encourage their peers and colleagues to give as well.
“SMPA is on a trajectory to be a top-tier media school, and more support will make that happen more quickly,” said Ms. Beales. “We want this gift to inspire others to join us in supporting the university and SMPA.”
GW has a long history of educating journalists in the highest standards of their craft. The university began offering journalism courses in 1938 and founded the National Center for Communication Studies in 1991 with a focus on journalism and political communication. The center was renamed the School of Media and Public Affairs in 1996.
“The Beales Professorship is a tremendous expression of Char's deep commitment to the future of journalism, GW and the School of Media and Public Affairs. It is an investment in the country itself because holding the powerful to account is a pillar of journalism and central to our democracy,” said Frank Sesno, director of the school. “Char Beales has been a leader at SMPA. It has been an honor and an inspiration to work with her. The research and teaching that her gift supports will lead the way for generations to come.”
The SMPA faculty includes experienced journalists, scholars and media professionals. Alumni from the school include reporters, editors and executives at some of the nation’s top news and media outlets including the Washington Post, ABC News, NBC News, CNN, Politico and National Geographic.
The gift comes during the university’s major fundraising campaign, “Making History: The Campaign for GW.” Funding endowed professorships has been a priority as momentum builds toward raising $1 billion to support students, faculty and researchers.
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