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Communications and Media

Veteran Journalist, Television Host Nick Clooney Joins Faculty

By Maggie Barrett

Nick Clooney, veteran journalist and television host, joins the faculty at American University this fall as American University School of Communication and Newseum Distinguished Journalist in Residence. Clooney’s appointment is part of a long-term partnership between the School of Communication and the Newseum, the interactive museum of news in Washington, D.C. 

During his career, Clooney has been a broadcast journalist; a newspaper columnist; a television series writer, producer, and host; a documentary filmmaker; an Emmy Award winner for commentary; a candidate for Congress; the author of three books; and a human rights activist. He recently travelled with his son, Academy Award-winning actor George Clooney, to Darfur to make A Journey to Darfur, a documentary about genocide in the conflict-ridden region of Sudan.

“Nick Clooney is natural fit for AU’s School of Communication,” said Larry Kirkman, dean of the school. “His professional experiences bridge all three of our academic divisions: journalism, public communication, and film and media arts.  Nick's appointment is an excellent example of how the School of Communication’s longstanding partnership with the Newseum strengthens both of our institutions.”

“We are going to create memorable, meaningful and important programming and have a good time along the way,” said Joe Urschel, executive director of the Newseum.

This fall, Clooney will teach Opinion Writing, and in spring 2009 he will teach Films that Changed Us, a new course based on his book, The Movies That Changed Us: Reflections on the Screen (Atria, 2002). The book analyzes the significance of such iconic American films as The Birth of a Nation, The Jazz Singer, Dr. Strangelove, Stagecoach, The Graduate, Star Wars, and Saving Private Ryan.

As part of the school-Newseum partnership, Clooney will host the fifth annual AU School of Communication-Newseum Reel Journalism Film Festival and other events at the Newseum. The Newseum moved into its new $450 million home at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. in Northwest Washington in April 2008.

“After a news career that stretches back to the Eisenhower administration, I'm looking forward to joining American University’s School of Communication and the Newseum to work with a new generation of prospective journalists” said Clooney.

At age 17, Clooney began working as a broadcaster in his hometown radio station in Maysville, Kentucky. After serving in the U.S. military, he began his career in local television news, serving as a reporter, anchor, managing editor, and news director at TV stations in Lexington, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, Buffalo, N.Y., and Los Angeles.

As a newspaper columnist for the Cincinnati Post from 1989 until the paper closed in December 2007, Clooney wrote three times a week about issues ranging from politics to travel to American history. He also has written articles and op-ed pieces that have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Salt Lake Tribune, and other newspapers.

Clooney may be best known as a continuing presence in American living rooms from 1994 to 1999, when he was the host of the American Movie Classics cable channel.  He now writes, produces, and hosts the AmericanLife TV Network series Moments That Changed Us, for which he has interviewed such newsmakers as John Glenn, Walter Cronkite, and Diahann Carroll.

American University’s School of Communication is a laboratory for professional education, communication research, and innovative production across the fields of journalism, film and media arts, and public communication. The school’s academic programs emphasize traditional skills and values while anticipating new technologies, new opportunities, and new audiences