‘Mismatch’ in vision led professor to decline USC journalism post


The Northwestern University professor who had agreed to head up USC’s journalism programs but then quickly decided against it attributed his decision to “a mismatch” between visions of the job.

Douglas Foster said that last week he had tentatively accepted the position as director of USC’s journalism school, pending agreement on a few points. He declined to specify what details caused him to change his mind two days later, and stressed that final contract papers with the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism had not been drawn up or signed.

“At the end of the day, it just didn’t work out,” he said.

Foster’s withdrawal threw a wrench in USC’s plans to have someone in place to quickly succeed Geneva Overholser, who intends to step down in June after five years as journalism studies director. Former director Michael Parks, who is the former editor of the Los Angeles Times, has agreed to serve as interim director.


In a telephone interview Tuesday night, Foster said he maintains “tremendous respect for the leadership of the [USC Annenberg] school and the school itself.” He will retain his job as a journalism professor at Northwestern, he said.


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