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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., January 11, 2002–Robert H. Giles, curator of Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism, and William Dean Singleton, founder, president, and CEO of MediaNews Group, will discuss “Which is more important for the American news industry to consider: profit or product?” at Williams College. The debate is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 18 from 9 to11 a.m. in Thompson Chemistry Laboratories’ Wege Auditorium.
Giles has been curator of the Nieman Foundation since 2000. His newspaper career began in 1958 at the Akron, Ohio Beacon Journal, where he held both reporting and editing positions, finishing up his time there as executive editor. He went on to work at the Rochester, N.Y. Democrat & Chronicle and Times-Union, first as executive editor and later as editor. Following his time in New York, he served as executive editor and later editor and publisher of The Detroit News. Both the Akron Beacon Journal and The Detroit News received Pulitzer Prizes under Giles’ tenures as editor.
A 1955 graduate of DePauw University, Giles received his master’s degree in journalism from the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1956. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in 1966 and a Gannet professional-in-residence at the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas.
Singleton, co-owner of MediaNews Group, Inc., co-founded the company in 1983 with Richard B. Scudder. They now own about 50 newspapers, 48 of which have grown in circulation each year, including The Berkshire Eagle. The combined circulation of MediaNews’ newspapers was 1,547,000 daily and 1,678,000 Sundays as of March 31, 1998, ranking it the seventh-largest newspaper company in the United States. Singleton was named Publisher of the Year by Editor & Publisher magazine for his turnaround of The Denver Post, which had been losing $15 million a year until Singleton purchased it in 1987 and turned it into a profit-making organization.
The discussion has been organized by Willy Stern ’83 in conjunction with his winter study class on investigative reporting. Stern is an investigative reporter at the Nashville Scene. He has won several awards, including the Society of Professional Journalists’ Award for Investigative Reporting (circulation less than 100,000) in 1999 and a number of awards from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies for his investigative reporting.