The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


New faces join journalism division

After covering the White House, political conventions, elections and Sept. 11, Dallas Morning News national news reporter Carolyn Barta decided the time had come to take on a new challenge. She has joined the journalism department as an associate professor after teaching Public Affairs Reporting and Media and Politics as an adjunct for three years.

“It’s time in my life that I need to be repotted, and I feel like I’m putting down some roots at SMU. I think that I will blossom here, and I hope that the students will blossom under my tutelage,” she said, referring to former Texas Senator Lloyd Benson’s remarks upon giving up his senate seat to become the Clinton administration’s secretary of treasury.

During her journalistic career, Barta worked in Hawaii and on Capitol Hill as well as moving across the country for the Morning News. She covered the aftermath of Sept. 11 for the News’ “war” desk, a combination of the national and international desks, and traveled to New York to cover the city’s progress, coping and reconstruction.

Barta’s in-the-field experience make her an outstanding addition to the division of journalism, said Belo Distinguished Chair in journalism, Chris Peck.

“She joins us really at the peak of her career, having covered President Bush and many national stories throughout her career,” he said. “We have a professional who can, in very real ways, talk to aspiring journalists about what they need to do to write at a professional level.”

Her former coworkers agree.

“She’s a stalwart in political reporting,” said Rena Pederson, editor of the Morning News’ editorial page. “With Carolyn it will be hands-on, it won’t be theory.”

Barta found her prior teaching experience rewarding as well as challenging, and she wants to be a part of educating the next generation of journalists, she said.

“I think the students that are coming out today have such an immense challenge before them, as well as responsibility to the public,” she said.

She hopes to take her public affairs class to Crawford, Texas, to see how the press operates at the president’s ranch.

She will also continue contributing a viewpoints column to The Dallas Morning News occasionally.


Barta is one of four new journalism division instructors. All come from professional journalism positions, adding on-the-job knowledge to their new roles.

Tracey Brown will teach a graphic design and layout course.

Craig Flournoy covered public housing for The Dallas Morning News and won the National Reporting Pulitzer Prize with co-worker George Rodrigue in 1986. He teaches Computer Assisted Reporting/Research.

Basic and Advanced Video/Audio Production professor Michele Houston joins the division after making a name for herself onscreen and online. She has received two Emmy Awards for documentary work and comes from Yahoo!.

Jason Silverstein also comes from Yahoo!, where he is manager of special projects. He joins the division as an adjunct professor, teaching advanced webmastery, in which students will design a comprehensive SMU Web site for students.

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