UNC MJ-school dean honored for distinguished service to NC broadcast industry

The North Carolina Association of Broadcasters honored Susan King, dean of the UNC School of Media and Journalism, with its Distinguished Service Award at its annual awards lunch on Thursday, June 14, at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham.

The Distinguished Service Award is given for outstanding service and current contributions to the broadcast industry.

Don Curtis, CEO of Curtis Media Group and a longtime supporter of the MJ-school, introduced King for the award. “Dean King has supervised a marvelous reformation of the journalism school,” said Curtis. “And she has paved the way for how we educate our future leaders in broadcasting.” He cited King’s embrace of changes in the industry, calling change “a choice and a fact, not a theory.” 

“It’s going to change again, and I’m trying to get our students to be prepared for the change and help invent tomorrow’s television,” said King in accepting the award. “Economic disruption is coming, and I want us to be ready, because I still think broadcasting is the most intimate form of communicating with the public.”

The ceremony included videos from MJ-school alumni from across the state and nation recognizing King for the honor. Alumna Anne Marie Hagerty '18, who was named the school’s outstanding broadcast graduate for 2018, sent in a congratulatory video. “As a young female broadcaster entering the UNC School of Media and Journalism, Dean King stood as an example of an innovative powerful leader,” said Hagerty.

Alumnus Sean Maroney '06, former news anchor at WNCN in Raleigh now with Habitat for Humanity, thanked King for preparing the next generation of journalists to do their best both in the newsroom and out in their communities.

King became dean of the MJ-school in 2012. She is also the school’s John Thomas Kerr Distinguished Professor. After starting her broadcast journalism career in Buffalo, New York, she spent more than 20 years in Washington D.C., as an anchor and reporter covering politics, including serving as a White House correspondent for ABC News. She also reported for CBS, NBC and CNN, and hosted the “Diane Rehm Show” and “Talk of the Nation” for National Public Radio.

She worked nearly five years in the U.S. Department of Labor as the assistant secretary for public affairs and as the executive director of the Family and Medical Leave Commission. In 1999 she joined Carnegie Corporation of New York as vice president for external affairs where she launched and led the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and 12 premier U.S. journalism schools, including UNC.

King serves on numerous boards, including BBC Media Action, N.C. Public Radio, Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs and at her alma mater, Fairfield University. She received the DeWitt Carter Reddick Award for Communication Excellence from the Moody College of Communication in 2015 and was inducted into The Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2014.