School of Media and Public Affairs Announces 2018-19 Fellows

White House Correspondents’ Association president is among SMPA fellows.

Jeffrey Blount, Olivier Knox, Karl Stoltz, Shawn Turner
August 30, 2018

The White House Correspondents’ Association president, a former deputy White House press secretary, an Emmy Award-winning television director and a high-ranking American diplomat have joined the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs as fellows.

The 2018-19 Terker Distinguished Fellows are Olivier Knox, White House Correspondents’ Association president and chief Washington correspondent for Sirius XM, and Shawn Turner, former deputy White House press secretary for national security.

Established by Bruce and Cindy Terker in 2010, parents of 2013 SMPA graduate Jennifer Terker, the Terker Distinguished Fellows in Media and Public Affairs program brings exceptional professionals from the fields of media, political communication and public affairs to SMPA each academic year.

Knox and Turner will join SMPA classroom sessions, student lunches and primetime events, among other university events and engagements.

Longtime NBC News television director Jeffrey Blount will serve as the inaugural SMPA Journalist in Residence and will return as a Shapiro Fellow.

Veteran Foreign Service officer Karl Stoltz will join the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication, a joint project of SMPA and the Elliott School of International Affairs, as the State Department Public Diplomacy Fellow.

More on the new SMPA fellows:

Jeffrey Blount, Journalist in Residence and Shapiro Fellow

An Emmy Award-winning television director with 34 years of experience, Blount will serve as the inaugural SMPA Journalist in Residence and return as a Shapiro Fellow for the spring and fall semesters. He also will teach a course on “Race, Perception and News Reporting.”

Blount directed a decade of NBC’s “Meet The Press,” expanding the show from a half hour to one hour and guiding its rise from the third-rated Sunday morning political program to the top-rated show. He also directed “Sunday Today,” “Today” and “NBC Nightly News” and led “The Chris Matthews Show” for 11 years.

Throughout his career, Blount has also directed major events in Washington, including the State of the Union, the funerals of Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, election night coverage and more. He is the award-winning author of two novels and has written about race and social justice for The Washington Post, the Huffington Post and others.

Olivier Knox, Terker Distinguished Fellow

Olivier Knox is the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association and chief Washington correspondent for Sirius XM. He also hosts a live weeknight show, “The Big Picture,” on the Sirius XM POTUS channel.

A veteran journalist who has written about U.S. politics and foreign policy for more than two decades, Knox has covered six presidential campaigns and has deep knowledge of the inner-workings of Capitol Hill and the White House. Before joining Sirius XM, Knox was the first Yahoo! News White House correspondent and chief Washington correspondent.

Knox began his career as a desk editor for Agence France-Presse, where his first reporting assignment was as a congressional correspondent during the events leading up to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment and acquittal. He later covered the presidential campaign of Vice President Al Gore and all eight years of President George W. Bush, including an on-the-scene report from the infamous 2008 shoe-throwing incident in Baghdad.

Karl Stoltz, Public Diplomacy Fellow

Stoltz served most recently as the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Denmark and as director of the Office of Citizen Exchanges at the Department of State, within the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. He will teach a course on public diplomacy.

Stoltz's Foreign Service career includes appointments at U.S. embassies and consulates in eight different nations. He has also directed public diplomacy work at the Department of State, primarily in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and Africa.

In the summer of 2019, Stoltz will move to Moscow to serve as minister-counselor for public affairs in Moscow, working closely with the U.S. ambassador to Russia and his team to engage the media and Russian public to advance U.S. policy interests.

Shawn Turner, Terker Distinguished Fellow

Turner is a national security and communication analyst for CNN and former chair of the information operations department at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security, where he taught courses on decision-making and the use of disinformation as an instrument of national power.

Previously, Turner was a senior executive in the U.S. government. His positions included deputy White House press secretary for national security, director of communication for national intelligence in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and deputy press secretary for foreign affairs at the National Security Council.

At ODNI, Turner was responsible for managing and coordinating all internal and external communication on behalf of the 17 agencies and components that make up the U.S. intelligence community. In 2013, he was the lead government official responsible for engaging news media organizations in the aftermath of the removal of thousands of classified intelligence documents by NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

At the White House and the NSC, he was the principal spokesperson for U.S. foreign policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan and helped develop the U.S. government’s approach to communicating intelligence reform in 2014.