The Duquesne University Institute for Ethics and Integrity in Journalism will launch this semester and will serve as a resource for faculty in the journalism and media program at Duquesne. The Institute will assist Duquesne to enhance internship opportunities; strengthen relationships with local and national media; mentor students; and provide programming for students to interact with professionals who exemplify the best journalistic values of civil discourse, truthfulness, balanced reporting and respectful interviewing. The Institute's work will be shared regionally and nationally through live and virtual programming.
"We are enormously grateful to Pat Yoder for this generous and forward-looking gift," Duquesne President Ken Gormley said. "It will allow us to explore ways to restore public trust in media, both at the local and national level. This gift expands the horizon of our already strong commitment to civil discourse and ethics, and it builds upon our new Center for Emerging and Innovative Media as well as our impressive media department."
The Institute also will establish an award to recognize a nationally respected female journalist whose career exemplifies the highest degree of integrity and ethics. A ceremony to present the award will be held in the spring of 2022.
An advisory group comprising notable journalists and media professionals will provide guidance to the Institute and engage with students and faculty.
To implement its goals, the Institute has named three highly respected media professionals as Fellows:
- Tara Bradley-Steck was a newswoman and correspondent for the Pittsburgh Bureau of The Associated Press for 15 years after starting her career as an investigative reporter for the Beaver County Times and founding a small newspaper on the Crow Reservation in Montana. After leaving The AP, Bradley-Steck taught journalism at the University of Pittsburgh, worked as a media consultant and editor, and most recently served as senior adviser for communications to President Gormley. She will serve as the Institute's Directing Fellow.
- Cindy Skrzycki was a business reporter and columnist at The Washington Post for 18 years, covering federal regulatory issues, management and technology. Before that, she was an associate business editor at U.S. News and World Report and Washington correspondent for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Most recently she was a senior lecturer in the English Department at the University of Pittsburgh and was awarded The Pitt's Chancellor's Award in 2017 for excellence in teaching.
- Paula Reed Ward is a reporter at The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, teaches courses in journalism at Duquesne and is the faculty advisor to the University's award-winning student newspaper, The Duquesne Duke. She previously worked for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where she was a member of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting in 2019, and also was a reporter at The Savannah (GA) Morning News and the Pottsville (PA) Republican and Evening Herald. She is the author of Death by Cyanide: The Murder of Dr. Autumn Klein.
A public relations professional whose career spanned decades and who held positions in government and the corporate sector, Ms. Yoder felt it more vital than ever before to find ways to instill public trust in the media and to train graduates who will carry on this important role in our democratic system.
"In my professional life, I strove for integrity alongside many respected journalists and communications professionals and understand just how crucial it is to have people of integrity shaping how we understand the world," she said. "I know Duquesne has the talented people and the institutional will to pursue this important work."
Over a decades-long career, Ms. Yoder held senior positions in public relations and public affairs at the U.S. House of Representatives, Mellon Bank, the City of Fort Wayne, PNC Bank, General Electric Capital and other corporations in the finance industry. She also provided her expertise in volunteer board roles with Shadyside Hospital, Pressley Ridges School, the Ellis School, Pittsburgh Children's Museum, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and a host of other non-profit organizations. She graduated in 1961 from the College of Arts and Sciences with a degree in English/journalism.