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Ellen Shearer

Ellen Shearer

Professor Emeritus; Co-Director, National Security Journalism Initiative; Washington Bureau Chief

Ellen Shearer is a professor emeritus at Medill, Washington bureau chief, co-director of the Medill National Security Journalism initiative, Politics Policy and Foreign Affairs Specialization leader and chair of the Washington and Special Programs Department. She has written and taught extensively in the areas of political journalism, national security journalism and watchdog journalism. She created the popular undergraduate Washington program called Medill on the Hill. Her research has focused on how the news media can better engage citizens in politics and elections as well as what journalists needs to know about national security law.

Shearer is immediate past president of the Washington Press Club Foundation and since 1999 has coordinated judging for the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual awards. She regularly serves as an accreditor for the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. 

Shearer believes teaching journalism is a responsibility to both the journalists and the audiences they serve. She strives to imbue students with the knowledge they need to report creatively and rigorously for their readers and viewers, using the latest techniques of social media, data analysis and visual presentation to augment crisp writing. She also strives to provide the intellectual depth needed to tackle complicated topics such as national security and politics, and hopes students learn to share with her the passion and fun of creating journalism.

In 2010, she and Lecturer Josh Meyer were editors for the first National Security Journalism Reporting project, Global Warning, in which 10 students investigated the national security implications of climate change. Their stories were published in The Washington Post and the project’s website compilation of the Post articles and other interactive stories was a finalist for an Online News Association award.