Lunch With The Dean

“I loved being a reporter,” Susan King told Chuck Stone Program scholars during lunch on Wednesday afternoon.

The dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill went on, “I think every job has been leading up to this moment. This is the final act.”

As King sat at the table talking with students from the Chuck Stone Program, she fielded questions and shared her experiences as a reporter and her thoughts on the future of the profession and digital media.

“No one is going to have a job that isn’t digital,” King said. “We need to find a way to engage the public through digital media.”

Since assuming her current position in January, the recently appointed dean has been empowering people across the nation and world. As only the second female dean of the J-school, King is transforming the school and making history.

“I think it’s exciting that I was able to follow the first female dean,” King said. “I hope this is the beginning of a trend.” As the new dean, she hopes to keep the school relevant and innovative.

“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!” King said. “The school is great as it is, but we cannot stop, we have to keep refining because the business is in such change.”

Before coming to Chapel Hill, King was vice president of external affairs for Carnegie Corporation of New York. Previously, she served as an assistant secretary for the U.S Department of Labor. She was also a news anchor at stations in Buffalo, N.Y. and Washington, D.C., as well as an independent journalist reporting for networks such as ABC, CBS, and NBC.

When asked about advice for students interested in studying journalism King said, “Be driven, do your homework…be fast, but accurate.” Every piece of advice that King gave rang true for each student.

“This is your chance to follow your passion.” King said.

“What I took away from lunch with Dean King was that you should really do what you want to do, and not to let anyone dissuade you,” Junior Dolcine said. “Dean King succeeded as a woman in a predominantly male industry. We can learn from her story to never give up on your dreams.”

“Her personal life story exemplified how hard work and dedication can lead you to your dream job.” Jake Gore added.

King inspired students to work harder and dream bigger. And most importantly that you have to believe in yourself, because that’s power and “ there is truth to power.” King said.


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Santana Jackson is a rising senior at Porter Ridge High School in Indian Trail, N.C.