Glenn Frankel, the new Director of the School of Journalism and G.B. Dealey Regents Professor in Journalism, came to Austin after spending 33 years in the news business, most of them as a reporter, editor and foreign correspondent for the Washington Post, and four years as a visiting professor at Stanford University. He is the author of two books and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting.
Frankel's principal mission is to help the school adapt to the digital revolution that is transforming modern media and changing the way news is reported, transmitted and consumed throughout the world. By reforming its curriculum, emphasizing critical thinking alongside modern practice and creating new partnerships with journalism innovators and other disciplines, the school seeks to play a role in shaping the future of American journalism. While equipping students with the tools and sensibility that will allow them to succeed in the age of multimedia, the school also seeks to instill traditional values of independent inquiry, intellectual curiosity, fairness, accuracy and concern for social justice that are the hallmarks of great journalism.
As a foreign correspondent and domestic news reporter and editor, Frankel covered some of the most momentous events of the modern era, including the uprising against the apartheid regime in South Africa, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the first and second Gulf Wars and the political and economic transformation of Europe. The theme running through much of his work as a journalist, author and teacher over nearly four decades has been human rights as viewed through a distinctly journalistic prism: what governments and movements do to people deemed to be a threat to their comfort or survival, how they justify those deeds and the human damage they cause.
A graduate of Columbia University, Frankel began his news career writing for the Chesterfield News Journal, a small weekly newspaper south of Richmond, Virginia, and then moved up to the Richmond Mercury and The Record in Bergen County, New Jersey. He joined the Washington Post in 1979 as Richmond bureau chief. His first foreign posting was in 1983 as Southern Africa bureau chief, based in Harare, Zimbabwe, covering famine, development issues and the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. In 1986 he became Jerusalem bureau chief, where he won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for "balanced and sensitive reporting" of the first Palestinian intifada. He became London bureau chief in 1989, reporting on the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the political demise of Margaret Thatcher and the first Gulf War.
Frankel returned to the Washington Post newsroom in 1994, serving as deputy National News editor and projects writer, overseeing coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial and the Oklahoma City bombing. In 1998 he became editor of the Washington Post Magazine, where he edited stories that won a Robert F. Kennedy Award and a Sigma Delta Chi prize for magazine writing. He returned to London as bureau chief in 2002, reporting on European affairs and British politics, the fallout from the invasion of Iraq War and the Arab-Israeli conflict, concluding his assignment by covering the London transit system bombings in July 2005.
His first book, Beyond the Promised Land: Jews and Arabs on the Hard Road to a New Israel (Simon & Schuster, 1994) won the National Jewish Book Award. It is an account of Israel's transformation from a small, collectivist, garrison-state under siege to a modern, pluralistic, bourgeois democracy. His second, Rivonia's Children: Three Families and the Cost of Conscience in White South Africa (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999), was a finalist for the Alan Paton Award, South Africa's most prestigious literary prize. It traces the fate of white radicals who worked alongside Nelson Mandela and the black liberation movement during the dark days when South Africa became a police state.
Frankel was a Professional Journalism Fellow at Stanford in 1982-3 and an Alicia Patterson Fellow in 1997. After leaving the Washington Post in 2006, he returned to Stanford to take up the post of Lorry I. Lokey Visiting Professor in Journalism in the Department of Communication. He also served as journalism adviser to the Stanford Daily and the Real News, Stanford's only African-American news journal.
In recent years, he has written articles for the Washington Post Magazine, Moment, Mother Jones and the New Statesman, along with book reviews for the Washington Post's Book World and Foreign Policy. He is currently working on a book about the making of an American legend---the true story behind John Ford's classic western film, The Searchers. At the University of Texas, he plans to teach courses in long form narrative non-fiction and human rights journalism.