Ralph Izard

ATHENS – Ralph S. Izard, 81, of Athens, Ohio, former director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, died of prostate cancer on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020 at his home. He was born Nov. 12, 1938.

He and his wife Janet came to Athens in 1966, he as an assistant professor of journalism and she as an adjunct instructor of home economics. Their daughter, Martha, a fourth-grade teacher at Morrison-Gordon Elementary School, was born in Athens in 1975.

Izard was author or editor of seven books and published articles in many of the nation’s leading journalism/mass communication journals. His most recent book, The Scripps School: Its Stories, People, and Legacy, was published in 2018 by the Ohio University Press. His early years as a teacher primarily involved journalistic writing and editing, but he later branched into journalism ethics, diversity and the First Amendment.

He became the school’s director in 1986, serving until 1998 when he retired from Ohio University after 32 years of service.

Following retirement, he worked at the Media Studies Center/First Amendment Center, a journalism think tank in New York City, as coordinator of the International Initiative for Journalism Education and editor of New York Publications.

In 2001, he joined the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University as associate dean for graduate studies and research, a position he held for four years. For the next six years, he taught off and on at the school and served in his final year as interim dean. While at LSU, he was founder and executive director of the Media Diversity Forum, a web site dedicated to diversity in the mass media and higher education.

In addition, he was a visiting professor in 1981-82 in the H.H. Herbert School of Journalism at the University of Oklahoma and a fellow in 1986 at the East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Outside the United States, he served as a consultant and workshop director in Australia, several South Pacific island nations, Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. For three years, from 2005-2007, he worked as a consultant for the Caucuses School of Journalism and Media Management, Georgia Institute for Public Affairs in the Republic of Georgia.

Professionally, he worked as education editor and general-assignment reporter for the Charleston, W.Va., Daily Mail; as a reporter in four bureaus of The Associated Press and one summer for the Columbus, Ohio, Citizen-Journal.

He received many awards including honorary Ohio University alumnus, 2000; the L.J. Hortin Faculty Mentor Award from the Scripps College of Communication, 2007; induction into the Manship School of Mass Communication Hall of Fame, Louisiana State University, 2014; national Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, 2007; Distinguished Service Award, Newspaper Division, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, 1994; Outstanding Faculty Award, H.H. Herbert School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Oklahoma, 1982; P.I. Reed Achievement Award, School of Journalism, West Virginia University, 1988; and the Wells Memorial Key, the highest honor given for service by the Society of Professional Journalists, in 1973.

Surviving is his daughter, Martha of Athens. He was preceded in death by his wife, Janet, and a sister, Carolyn Jones of Rogers, AR.

A memorial service will be held at a later time. Contributions may be made to the Ralph Izard/Post Endowed Scholarship, Ohio University Foundation, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio 45701. Please share a memory, a note of condolence or sign the online register at www.jagersfuneralhome.com.

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