Spring Ottaway Professor Announced

Award-winning foreign correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) Deborah Amos was named the spring 2013 James H. Ottaway Senior Professor of Journalism and will join SUNY New Paltz for a two-week residency.

Journalism Professor and Ottaway Coordinator Lisa Phillips said a committee of faculty and administrators chose Amos based on her career as a radio journalist and foreign correspondent.

Amos’ position as a successful radio journalist was a key factor, Phillips said, as the Ottaway professor has not been involved in radio journalism since spring 2003. She said the committee always tries to find a professor who has something unique.

Phillips said it was a bit of a “jackpot” for the department to land Amos due to her accomplishments and her energy.

“[Amos] is a complete live wire,” Phillips said. “She lives and breathes to be on the streets of Damascus, reporting… She commands attention in her storytelling.”

Phillips said Amos’ primary focus is in the Middle East and most recently Syria, where the country is undergoing significant upheaval.

Amos’ reports and stories covering Syria’s educated youth who are unqualified for market-driven economy jobs, Iraqi refugees and the emerging influence of Turkey are broadcast on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered” and “Weekend Edition,” according to the NPR website.

“She is one of the best in the business,” Phillips said. “She is an experienced teacher and has a great passion for her craft.”

Phillips said she believes students will not only be inspired by Amos’ in-field work, but will also gain insight into the challenges of being a foreign correspondent and learn more about the nuts and bolts of storytelling.

In 2003, Amos returned to NPR after a decade in television news, including ABC’s “Nightline” and “World News Tonight” and the PBS programs “NOW with Bill Moyers” and “Frontline.”

Phillips said Amos will be formally introduced to the campus community on Tuesday, April 9 at 6 p.m. in the Honors Center with a Q&A session hosted by President Christian.

Amos will also give a public speech on Thursday,  April 18 at 7 p.m.