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Simpson Chosen to Lead USM School of Communication

Tue, 08/18/2020 - 07:44am | By: David Tisdale

Dr. Ed SimpsonA highly accomplished academician and news industry veteran assumes the post of director of The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) School of Communication.

Dr. Ed Simpson comes to USM from Central Michigan University, where he earned tenure and promotion to associate professor. While there, he taught its Department of Journalism’s multimedia capstone course, upper-level reporting classes, and served in a variety of administrative functions. Prior to switching careers to higher education, he spent 18 years in the news business as wire service reporter and bureau chief, city editor and editor of newspapers. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1996.

He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Ohio University, where he was named both master’s and doctoral student of the year.

“I’m truly honored and excited to be here at USM in the School of Communication,” Dr. Simpson said, and looks forward to working with its faculty members who are “constantly examining the shifting world of digital and personal communications” to help its students be prepared for the effects of that dynamic.

“We will continually examine our student media to ensure students have the hands-on experience they need to succeed, our curriculum across disciplines to ensure we are offering the knowledge and skills necessary for the workplace, and our scholarship to ensure the knowledge we create contributes to the national discussion on pressing issues,” he said.

“I believe, and the daily news confirms, that there is no more important issue facing our communities, state, nation and the world than the transmission of ethical, accurate and compelling information, whether internally as an organization or externally as a news outlet, information source, or media producer. Our faculty are experienced scholars and educators, just the right team to help our students get where they want to go.”

Dr. Simpson is the author of the book, News, Public Affairs, and the Public Sphere in a Digital Nation: Rise of the Audience, which focuses on the increasing power of social media in the local news markets. He is also the author or co-author of 13 publications in academic journals, and received top faculty paper honors in the prestigious history division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC); and has authored or co-authored 26 conference presentations at the regional, national, and international level, including winning top paper honors at the International Communication Association’s London gathering.

He serves on the editorial boards of two academic journals, Journalism History and Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, and is a regular reviewer for a number of academic journals, as well as the AEJMC national conference.

At Central Michigan he founded, in association with managers at public media outlet WCMU, an internship program that partnered the radio station with Michigan newspapers, placing students in newsrooms across the state.

“I probably am most proud of that accomplishment. This is a rising trend that crosses industry and academia,” Dr. Simpson said. “While local newspapers continue to supply the majority of the nation’s local news, it is no secret they are under constant financial pressure as advertising and readership shifts to other media. This program helped to strengthen local news reports while giving students the opportunity to hone their skills under professional guidance and across disciplines.”

College of Arts and Sciences Dean Chris Winstead welcomes Dr. Simpson to the USM administrative team and faculty, praising his work as a professional journalist and faculty member.

“His background and experience, as well as his leadership, are going to be real assets for the School of Communication,” Dr. Winstead said.

For information about the USM School of Communication, which is housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, visit