Medill prof turns down top job at USC journalism school


Source: Screenshot from Medill website

Medill Prof. Douglas Foster turned down an offer to become the director of USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism after agreeing Friday to a "provisional offer."

Patrick Svitek, Managing Editor

Medill Prof. Douglas Foster has passed on becoming the next director of the University of Southern California’s journalism school after tentatively accepting the top job.

“It was an honor to be considered for such a prestigious job and my turning it down in the end means no disrespect for the leader of the school or the school in any way,” said Foster, who runs Medill’s Journalism Residency program in South Africa.

“I have enormous respect for the school and its leadership,” he added.

USC spokeswoman Gretchen Parker confirmed a Los Angeles Times report this evening saying Foster decided not to take the position.

Foster said he verbally accepted a “provisional offer” Friday to lead the undergraduate and graduate journalism programs in USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Foster said it became clear after follow-up emails over the weekend with Annenberg officials that there were a “couple of misunderstandings about some pretty big items on the school’s agenda.”

“My conclusion was that … it wasn’t a good match, that I would not be a good leader given the direction of the school,” Foster said.

Foster was one of four finalists for the Annenberg job by the end of March, according to the Daily Trojan, USC’s student newspaper.

The five-year term of current Annenberg director Geneva Overholser ends in June. Annenberg announced today that Prof. Michael Parks, a former editor of The Los Angeles Times, will serve as interim director starting in mid-June while the search continues for Overholser’s long-term replacement.

— Patrick Svitek