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Kristine Samuelson, chair, Department of Communication, (650) 723-0943
Prof. Donald Roberts, chair, search committee (707) 962-0185
James Bettinger, deputy director, Knight Fellowships (650) 725-1189

James Bettinger named director of Knight Fellowships Program

James Bettinger, deputy director of the John S. Knight Fellowships program and a veteran of 20 years in daily newspapers, has been named director of the program.

He will succeed James V. Risser, who is retiring Sept. 1 after more than 15 years as director.

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Bettinger, 53, was the choice of a faculty-professional search committee, which considered nearly 40 people in its nationwide search, and of the Department of Communication faculty. His appointment was announced today.

In addition to his selection as Knight Fellowships director, Bettinger was appointed a Professor (Teaching) in the Department of Communication and will teach in the graduate journalism program.

The Knight program provides fellowships to U.S. and international journalists who have demonstrated uncommon excellence in their work and who have the potential of reaching the top ranks of their profession. Each year 12 U.S. journalists and up to eight from other countries participate. They spend an academic year at Stanford, pursuing a self-designed course of study and participating in a series of special seminars. At the end of the fellowship, they return to their news organizations.

The 2000-2001 academic year will mark the 35th year of journalism fellowships at Stanford. After initial funding from the Ford Foundation, news organizations and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the program began operating on a permanent, self-sustaining basis beginning in 1984 with a $4 million grant from the Knight Foundation.

Bettinger, a Stanford Professional Journalism Fellow in 1982-83, was named deputy director of the program in 1989. At the time he was city editor/A.M. of the San Jose Mercury News. During five years at the Mercury News, he was night city editor, government and politics editor, and city editor/P.M.

His journalism career began in 1969 at the Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise, where he was a reporter, editorial writer and city editor.

He has been a regular columnist for the San Jose Mercury News Sunday magazine and has written for the Boston Globe, the Santa Barbara News-Press and

While at Stanford, he has taught writing courses in the Department of Communication's journalism program and in the university's Continuing Studies Program. He has also been a writing coach and consultant for the Contra Costa Times, the Bakersfield Californian, and the Palo Alto Weekly, and he has led writing and editing seminars for the American Press Institute, the Society of Professional Journalists and the University of California-Berkeley School of Journalism.

He is a graduate of the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Bettinger is married to Dee Bettinger, who owns her own business, and they have a son, Joshua, who is a student at the University of Redlands.

Risser said of the appointment, "I am delighted with Jim Bettinger's selection. He's done a superb job as deputy director for the past decade. His dedication to the program and to the improvement of journalism make him an excellent choice."


By Elaine Ray

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