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Jon Ziomek

Jon Ziomek

Associate Professor Emeritus

I was on Medill’s faculty from 1982 to 2007. After several years of teaching, I moved into administration, and became the assistant dean and director of Medill’s editorial master’s degree programs. During this period, the graduate curriculum expanded to include joint degrees with several other schools, Chicago operations were added to the Medill news service (previously operating only in Washington, D.C.), and the school created a Global Residency Program for graduate students.

The international program had special resonance for me. Because my father was in the military, my family and I spent much of my childhood living and traveling in other countries. This experience created a lifelong interest in developing a strong worldview. Journalism and academics have been excellent fields for the expression of this interest. In my last year at Medill, I directed the Global program.

Prior to moving into academics full-time, I spent more than 10 years as a reporter. I worked in several departments of the Chicago Sun-Times (metro desk, business news and features) before trying, and loving, teaching.

While I was on the active Medill faculty, I free-lanced extensively, writing and editing for media outlets, for corporations and for non-profit organizations. I’ve continued this work since leaving Northwestern.


When I was working for my master's degree, I spent several happy semesters studying the philosophy of Western media and communications systems. I found that subject a good complement to the practical skills I'd acquired in my earlier career. I also developed a strong interest in the influence of communications technology on communications content, and an interest in public perception of journalism and journalists, in the United States and elsewhere. I reported and wrote a well-received 2004 Aspen Institute report calling for more transparency in U.S. newsrooms. More recently, I wrote the “Chicago” entry for the Encyclopedia of Journalism, scheduled for publication by year-end 2009.

Over a 10-year period, I visited newsrooms in western and central Europe, the Mideast and South America as one of the faculty members connected with Medill's graduate Global Journalism residency program. Also, another faculty member and I were sent by the United States Information Agency in the early '90s on a fact-finding mission to newsrooms in Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia. These trips convinced me of the deep importance of open media to democracy.