Journalism Students Grow Through Journalist in Residence Program

Distinguished Reporter and Author Speaks to Students

Nov. 19, 2009 By Jenna Bartlo

Former religion writer for the Los Angeles Times, John Dart, came to Biola University as part of the Department of Journalism’s Journalist in Residence program that helps students connect with media professionals on November 9, 2009.

"We were honored to have John with us as our Fall 2009 Journalist in Residence,” said Dr. Michael Longinow, chair of the Department of Journalism. “Dart and a staff of religion writers at the Times covered issues that helped Americans understand the role of faith in public life.”

Dart worked for the Times for 31 years and has also written several books including Decoding Mark. Dart has had professional fellowships at Stanford and Vanderbilt Universities. He is currently a writer and news editor for The Christian Century, a national news and opinion magazine.

Journalism students heard Dart speak several times throughout the day including an informal lunch session. He advised journalists to be bold and ask pointed questions.

Dart described his career as a religion writer as accidental. In 1967, he applied to the Times and the only available position was for the religion beat.

“I was looking for a specialty,” Dart said. “And, well, that worked.”

The recipient of numerous awards, Dart most recently was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 by the Religion Newswriter’s Association.

Each semester the journalism department hosts a journalist in residence to speak to students and answer questions about the news industry.

The journalism department has grown significantly in recent years, expanding from one full-time faculty member and 30 students in 2003 to four full-time and six adjunct faculty and over 140 students in Fall 2009. The department has been a pioneer among Christian colleges and universities nationally in the use of convergent media and social networking in student media according to Longinow.

Students have also practiced journalism cross-culturally in Mexico and the greater Los Angeles area.

Previous journalist-in-residence speakers include former Time senior writer David Aikman and Pulitzer Prize nominee George Archibald, formerly of the Washington Times.

Written by Katherine Smith, Media Relations Intern. Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.

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