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September 15, 2023

Summer Harlow joins Knight Center as new associate director in exciting ‘homecoming’

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas is pleased to announce the hiring of Summer Harlow as its new associate director and as visiting associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism and Media.

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Summer Harlow is the new associate director of the Knight Center. (Courtesy)

 

Harlow, a longtime supporter and former employee of the Knight Center, joins at a pivotal moment as we expand our team and capabilities to reach journalists around the world with accessible training and other learning opportunities.

“I’m delighted to have Summer Harlow as my partner in the leadership of the Knight Center. Her experience as a journalist and a journalism educator and academic researcher made her an ideal candidate for the associate director job, so we at the Moody College of Communication were thrilled that she accepted our invitation,” said Professor Rosental Alves, the Knight Center’s founder and director. “Also this reminds me of the ‘prodigal son returns’ parable. As a graduate student at UT’s School of Journalism and Media, Summer worked for several years at the Knight Center, took one of my classes and I was a member of her Ph.D. Committee. So, her hiring was like the prodigal daughter returning home.”

Harlow previously worked at the Knight Center as editor of the Journalism in the Americas blog, which has evolved into the trilingual digital magazine, LatAm Journalism Review. She also has been one of the most active fellows of the Knight Center’s research group. In addition to her new leadership position, Harlow will continue working to strengthen the Center’s scholarly research agenda, while also teaching classes at the School of Journalism and Media as a visiting professor.

“Coming back to the Knight Center feels like coming home. I spent many, many hours in the Knight Center when I did my Master’s degree, and then I came back to work at the Knight Center again when I did my Ph.D., so coming back a third time, now as associate director, is such an honor and it just feels so good to be back,” Harlow said.

Harlow is an accomplished academic and reporter.

She was previously an associate professor of journalism in the Valenti School of Communication at the University of Houston and an assistant professor of social media at the College of Communication and Information at Florida State University. She’s written two books: Liberation Technology in El Salvador: Reappropriating Social Media Among Alternative Media Projects and Digital-Native News and the Remaking of Latin American Mainstream and Alternative Journalism. Currently, Harlow is on leave from the Department of Communication and Journalism at Texas A&M University where she is an associate professor.

Before joining academia as a professor, she worked for about 10 years covering immigration and city government at U.S. newspapers, and also worked as a freelancer in Guatemala and El Salvador.

She earned her Ph.D. in Journalism and her Master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, as well as Bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and Spanish from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

“The Knight Center and Professor Rosental Alves were such an important part of my graduate school years, and really helped put me on the path toward working as a reporter in Latin America, and then toward being a scholar researching journalism in Latin America, so I’m beyond grateful to have the chance to continue on that path and see where the Knight Center takes me next,” Harlow said.

Professor Rosental C. Alves, Knight Chair in Journalism and UNESCO Chair in Communication at the University of Texas at Austin’s Moody College of Communication, created the Knight Center in 2002 as a professional training and outreach program for journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean. Over the years, it has expanded to serve journalists from all over the world.

The Knight Center has trained nearly 300,000 students from 200 countries and territories through its online learning programs hosted at JournalismCourses.org. It also publishes LatAm Journalism Review, which covers press freedom and journalism in Latin America and the Caribbean. And each spring, it organizes the International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ) and the Ibero American Colloquium on Digital Journalism.

“The Knight Center has grown so much in the nearly 10 years since I left,” Harlow said. “It is incredible to see how many journalists have been trained and benefited from Knight Center programming. Back in the day, the Knight Center was mostly just grad students working 10 or 20 hours a week, but now thanks to a multi-million grant from the Knight Foundation, there are nine full-time employees, so I am excited to see what this new chapter will look like—if the KC has been this successful with only a few people and grad students, just think how far we can go with an even bigger full-time team in place.”

“We’re going to be able to tackle new and innovative initiatives and do even more to support our mission of supporting journalists and press freedom throughout Latin America and the Caribbean,” she continued. “I can’t wait to see what all we can accomplish together, and I’m thrilled I get to be a part of it.”