The graduate school of journalism of the University of California at Berkeley has announced that Jay T. Harris, former chairman and publisher of the San Jose Mercury News, has been appointed as the Robert C. Maynard Fellow.
Harris will teach classes, participate in school events and deliver Maynard Lectures on the state of American Media. At the Maynard Institute in Oakland, Harris will lecture and write a regular column for the institute’s Web site.
Harris, 53, resigned from the Mercury News in March due to his disagreement with the business strategy and company values of the paper’s parent company, Knight Ridder.
He spent seven years at the Mercury News, which was ranked as one of the 10 best newspapers in the country by the Columbia Journalism Review, and was responsible for expanding the paper’s business and technology coverage.
Harris also attempted to expand the newspaper to speakers of Spanish and Vietnamese, by creating weekly newspapers in those languages.
While at the Mercury News, Harris was able to create an ethnically diverse news team, which was made up of 30 percent minority staff.
Harris began his career in journalism in 1970 at the Wilmington News-Journal papers in Delaware.
Five years later he joined the faculty at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where he launched the American Society of Newspaper Editor’s annual national census of minority employment in daily newspapers.
The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education trains journalists of color and helps the nation’s news media reflect diversity in its staff, content and business operations.