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New director of student media at ECU John Harvey, right, makes a point during a recent meeting of the Student Media Board. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Veteran adviser taking over ECU Student Media

Feb. 11, 2013

ECU News Services

East Carolina University has turned to a longtime journalism educator known for training young journalists and building newsrooms to take over its student media program.

John L. Harvey, whose career includes 17 years as a newspaper editor and 15 years in student media, has been appointed director of student media at the university. He began his new duties Feb. 4.

“I am extremely excited about this opportunity,” Harvey said. “I’ve been impressed with the students, staff and administration, their commitment and vision, and I feel confident East Carolina is ready to forge ahead in a renewed effort to build a professional and well-trained student media.”

The Office of Student Media oversees The East Carolinian student newspaper, Rebel literary magazine, Buccaneer yearbook, WZMB radio station and Expressions magazine.

Harvey, 59, most recently served as director of student media at Georgia Southern University. In his two years there he restructured the university’s program, revamped the newspaper and its website and established a successful recruitment and training program. The results include an overall 35 percent increase in ad revenues, 19 percent hike in newspaper readership and 310 percent growth in staff membership. This year the newspaper, The George-Anne, earned 14 state awards, including one for best statewide website in the site’s first year of operation.

Prior to Georgia Southern, Harvey served as news adviser from 1998-2010 for The Daily Collegian, the student newspaper covering the Penn State community. During that time his students earned more than 400 regional, state and national journalism awards.

Among the more than 1,000 young journalists Harvey has trained during his career are professionals working in media across the country, including such prestigious organizations as The New York Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Baltimore Sun, CNN, Fox Sports, NPR, Glamour, Seventeen and Redbook. In fact, one former student earned a 2011 Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, the youngest journalist to ever win that award.

Harvey was also included in a 2007 PBS documentary titled “The Paper” that documented one academic year in the life of the Penn State student newspaper. The TV film aired on Independent Lens and has since been used as a training tool by several university journalism departments and the State Department.

At East Carolina, Harvey is expected to institute the semester-long recruiting and training program for first-time journalists developed at Penn State and used with great success at Georgia Southern. Called the Candidate Program, it provides a multi-layered approach to journalism training that both builds staffs and trains young reporters and editors. On several occasions he has presented on the program at national conferences.

Harvey offered words of praise for Frank Barrows, the longtime Charlotte Observer managing editor who until recently served as interim adviser at ECU.

“Frank did a terrific job in connecting with the students and identifying areas in which the student newspaper could improve. I hope he is willing to continue that ECU connection as we go forward. He is an invaluable resource, and Student Media owes him a great debt of gratitude,” Harvey said.

Prior to becoming a journalism educator, Harvey held a variety of positions with newspapers in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, including city editor, editorial page editor, managing editor and executive editor. He also wrote columns and editorials for 12 years, winning several Keystone Press Awards. He still writes an occasional freelance column, most recently for The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Savannah Morning News. 

He earned his bachelor’s in English from Waynesburg (Pa.) College and his master’s in Media Studies from Penn State. His graduate thesis centered on student journalism education.