Professor, Visual Journalism
John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Visual Journalism
Rich Beckman serves as the Knight Chair in Visual Journalism and is a member of the School’s Visual Journalism faculty. Beckman’s work experiments with the impact of dynamic, multimedia visual communication for cross-border projects of the Knight Center for International Media.
He began his career as a photojournalist and is now recognized as one of the country’s foremost ‘new media journalism’ educators of our time. As a photojournalist, he specializes in environmental journalism, working extensively with endangered predators in Alaska and Africa. As a producer, he has led teams that have won many of the most prestigious multimedia prizes in the world including a Pirelli INTERNETional Award for Educational Media, and multimedia storytelling awards from the Online News Association, the National Press Photographers Association, The Society for News Design, Horizon and the Pictures of the Year International competition.
Beckman spent 30 years teaching new and visual media projects at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he served as the James L. Knight Distinguished Professor. During that time he served two terms on the Faculty Council; won the Tanner and David Brinkley awards, in recognition of excellence in undergraduate teaching; was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in South Africa and Spain; and served as a charter member of the UNC-CH Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars and Carolina Speakers. He held the Julian Sheer Term Professorship given for overall excellence in teaching, research and service. He has twice been chairman of divisions within the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
He has taught Summer School Study Abroad courses in seven countries, and was a visiting professor in South Africa. He also holds a permanent faculty appointment as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of the Andes in Santiago, Chile. He has successfully implemented ambitious multimedia projects in Spain, Chile, China, South Africa, and Peru.