Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hann-Jones announced that she turned down the University of North Carolina’s offer of tenure or a teaching job with the school, and instead accepted a position as a professor at Howard University.
Hannah-Jones announced the news on Tuesday’s CBS This Morning with Gayle King.
Hannah Jones and Ta–Nehisi Coates will be taking up faculty positions at Howard University, according to the school. The school also announced the creation of a new Center for Journalism and Democracy.
The school announced that Coates, a Howard alumnus, will be a faculty member of the College of Arts and Sciences with the additions. Hannah-Jones, who will fill the newly created Knight Chair in Race Journalism and Communication, will be a tenured member at Howard’s school for communications. The school also announced that she will create the Center for Journalism and Democracy to train students in investigative journalism.
Hannah-Jones stated in a statement that “We are at an important juncture of our democracy” and that the press doesn’t reflect the nation it serves. She also said that the media fails to understand the danger for the country, as there is growing opposition to free speech and fundamental rights to vote. The Center for Journalism and Democracy, in the tradition of Black journalism, will train journalists who can accurately and urgently cover the challenges facing our democracy. They will do so with clarity, skepticism, and historical dexterity, which is often lacking in today’s journalism.
Hannah-Jones’s move is significant, considering the recent controversy at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. This was where her tenure was originally denied by the UNC system’s board of directors. After protests from students, alumni, and faculty on June 30, that decision was reversed.
Wayne A. I. Frederick, President of Howard University, praised Coates’ and Hannah-Jones’ appointments in a statement. He called them “two of the most respected and influential journalists of today.”
Frederick released a statement saying that “at such a crucial time for race relations, it is vitally important that we understand journalism’s role in steering our national conversations and social progress.” “Not only must newsrooms reflect communities in which they report, but we also need to give the profession a diverse workforce. We are delighted that they will contribute their research and insights to a team of highly accomplished professors already world-class.”
Coates is well-known for his racial comments about the US. His 2014 article in The Atlantic, “The Case for Reparations,” gained him notoriety. Coates is also the author and best-selling “Between the World and Me.”
Hannah-Jones, a well-known journalist who focuses on the issue of racism in America, is an internationally recognized journalist. The “1619 Project” her most famous piece of work. This is a meticulously researched piece of journalism that recontextualizes America’s history around August 1619 when the first slave ship arrived. Her work has earned her many accolades, including the MacArthur Fellowship Genius Grant.
The announcement of these recent additions comes just a month after the university announced that it would name its College of Fine Arts after Chadwick. Actress Phylicia Rashed, who is best known for her role in “The Cosby Show,” will be leading the college as dean.