Charles Whitaker, dean of Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, has been appointed to ProPublica’s board of directors.
“We’re delighted to welcome Charles,” board Chair Paul Sagan said. “We’re looking forward to benefiting from both his extensive and unique perspective in educating the next generation of journalists, as well as his real-world experience as a former practicing journalist.”
Sagan added that the nonprofit is deeply committed to covering local investigative issues, especially in the Midwest, and that bringing on a board member from the region underscores the organization’s commitment to the region.
Whitaker joined the Medill faculty in 1992 and most recently served as the Helen Gurley Brown professor and associate dean of journalism for the school. He previously directed the Academy for Alternative Journalism in an effort to address the field’s lack of diversity.
Before joining the Medill faculty, Whitaker was a senior editor at Ebony magazine, where he covered a wide range of cultural, social and political issues and events on four continents, including two U.S. presidential campaigns and the installation of the first black members of the British Parliament. He began his journalism career as a newspaper reporter at the Miami Herald and the Louisville (Kentucky) Times. In addition, he served as an editorial consultant to Catalyst Chicago, a publication dedicated to coverage of public schools in the city, and as president of the editorial board of the Chicago Reporter, an acclaimed investigative publication that covers issues of race and class.
He serves on the board of directors for numerous professional organizations, including the American Society of Magazine Editors. He also serves on the advisory boards for the Prison Journalism Project, the Evanston RoundTable and Block Club Chicago.
“I’ve long admired ProPublica’s focus on accountability reporting, and I’m thrilled to join the board,” Whitaker said.