Across the country this past weekend, listeners to NPR’s “On the Media” heard Lawrence Pintak — a journalist and Mideast expert — talk about Al Jazeera politics.
Listeners who were Stapleites in the 1970s instantly recognized the voice. It was “Larry” Pintak — the 1973 grad who was one of the 1st news directors at the school’s pioneering station WWPT-FM.
Covering local politics was just his start. As a CBS News Middle East correspondent, Larry reported on such major stories as the birth of modern suicide bombing, the Iran-Iraq war and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
He covered the Indonesian revolution for ABC News and the San Francisco Chronicle, and contributed to many international news organizations. He also served as a PR consultant in Indonesia.
Larry earned a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of Wales, Lampeter, and wrote 4 books on the Mideast. His latest — The New Arab Journalist: Mission and Identity in a Time of Turmoil — was published this year. That was the hook for “On the Media” to call on him for punditry.
But Larry is no longer chasing stories. His new gig is founding dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University.
And equally challenging.
He’s writing and lecturing on America’s relationship with the Muslim world; the role of the media in shaping global perceptions and government policy, and the future of journalism in a digital, globalized world.
Welcoming the incoming class, “Founding Dean Pintak” said:
This is a fascinating, frightening and exciting time in the media business. The old models are collapsing; new electronic paths are being blazed. But as Murrow reminded us so many years ago, it is the quality of the information being communicated – not the technology – that matters most.
It is the responsibility of the college that bears his name to help ensure that, even as we prepare our students for the digital future, we do not let the bells and whistles obscure the integrity of the message – whether in journalism, advertising, public relations or any other context.
Murrow invented broadcast journalism and, as a center of research, study and innovation, it is our job to help that industry – and its print counterpart – reinvent itself in this time of turmoil.
Then Larry Pintak challenged Murrow College to “cast a shadow worthy of its namesake.”
Here in the US, and all over the world.
(Click here to hear Larry Pintak’s “On the Media” interview.)