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School of Media and Communication

Ronnie Agnew

After a 27-year newspaper career, including four years as managing editor of The Hattiesburg American, Ronnie Agnew joined Mississippi Public Broadcasting in August 2011 as the agency’s executive director where he was serving at the time of his induction to the Southern Miss Mass Communication and Journalism Hall of Fame.

During his time at MPB, Agnew has successfully launched new shows that further the agency’s mission of delivering strong content across all platforms, focusing on issues affecting Mississippi, with an emphasis on early-childhood education, dropout prevent and healthcare.  Before joining MPB, Agnew served as executive editor of The Clarion-Ledger for nine years.  Under his leadership, The Clarion-Ledger was among the Gannett Co. Inc.’s most decorated newspapers nationally for its coverage of civil rights issues.  From his longtime stint in newspapers, Agnew brought a sense of urgency to MPB that led to an aggressive schedule of new initiatives, including more than 20 hours of local radio programming each week, several new television productions, and an expanded news department that consistently files reports for NPR.

Agnew is also active in national journalism circles.  He has judged the Pulitzer Prize four times, and he is a former diversity chairman for the American Society of News Editors. Agnew also served six years on the board of directors of the Associated Press Media Editors. He is the recipient of four President’s Rings, which recognize the best editors in the Gannett Co. Inc., and the Silver Em Award, one of the highest recognitions for journalism excellence awarded by the University of Mississippi.

 Most recently, Agnew was elected to three leadership positions on national public broadcasting boards. In September, Agnew was elected to serve a three-year term on the PBS national board of directors.

Agnew is passionate about helping student journalists and those interested in media careers.  He served as an adjunct communications professor at Belhaven University in Jackson and is advisory board chairman for the journalism program at Jackson State University. He is also on the journalism advisory boards for the University of Southern Mississippi and the Meek School of Journalism at Ole Miss. In addition to his commitment to journalism, Agnew serves on many community boards, including being the immediate past chairman of the Mississippi Council on Economic Education. He was named by as one of the most influential African Americans in Mississippi.

Agnew holds bachelor’s degrees in Radio/TV and English from the University of Mississippi and is the father of three.