Ruhl Lecture

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For nearly half a century, Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert W. RuhlRobert W. Ruhl was one of Oregon’s respected newspaper journalists. Ruhl, who died in 1967, was editor and publisher of the Medford Mail Tribune. 

He performed his duties with a high sense of responsibility to the public and with uncompromising ethics. In one instance, he wrote a series of editorials against a government reform group that was inciting unrest in the area. The paper’s editorials won the 1934 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished and meritorious public service. 

The Robert and Mabel Ruhl Endowment was established in 1973 and 1974 by Mabel W. Ruhl, Robert’s widow. She specified that the income from the Endowment should be used to foster mutually beneficial contact between the School of Journalism and Communication and the mass media. 

The concept of an annual Ruhl Symposium grew out of this directive. The Symposium brings to campus a distinguished American journalist who delivers a public lecture on an issue of significance for contemporary journalism. A fellowship program is a complementary part of the Symposium. Each year, the fellowship brings accomplished journalists to the School. During their visits, they lecture, write, and talk to students and faculty. 

The Ruhl Lecturers and Fellows have helped the School of Journalism and Communication achieve Mrs. Ruhl’s expressed hope that the Symposium would contribute to “the development of students into dedicated journalists. I feel it is especially important today that we restore in this field of journalism a greater sense of ethics, responsibility, and dedication.”

2012 Ruhl Lecture

“Journalism in the Digital Age”

May 17, 2012 4 p.m., EMU Ballroom

Click to view a video of the Ruhl Lecture.

Alex Kotlowitz

The 2012 Johnston Lecture

Bearing Witness: Storytelling and Human Rights

Play Alex Kotlowitz video

(requires Quicktime for playback)

2011 Johnston Lecture

Watch the Webcast of Pulitzer-Prize Winning Food Critic Jonathan Gold's 2011 Johnston Lecture

The LA Weekly columnist recently discussed the evolving role of the critic in today’s public discourse. Missed the lecture? Watch it here:

2010 Rulh Lecture: Philip Meyer

Philip Meyer, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor emeritus, is the former holder of the Knight Chair in Journalism at the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He researches in the areas of journalism quality, precision journalism, civic journalism, polling, the newspaper industry, and communications technology. Before becoming a professor in 1981, Meyer was employed in the newspaper industry for twenty-six years, the last twenty-three with Knight Ridder, where he started as a reporter for The Miami Herald.

2009 Ruhl Lecture: Martin Baron

“The Incredible Shrinking Newsroom: How can fewer reporters meet increasing demands for coverage?”
Prepared remarks for the 2009 Ruhl Lecture
by Martin Baron, editor, The Boston Gobe

University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication

April 2, 2009

Thank you very much for inviting me here today. This lecture was endowed in the name of a journalist who brought integrity and a strong sense of mission to our profession. So it is a special honor to be with all of you.

2008 Ruhl Lecture: Jan Schaffer

It is a great privilege to be with you today to honor the memory of Robert W. Ruhl. As the editor and publisher of the Medford Mail Tribune, Ruhl worked at the nexus of community journalism. It was a moment in time when newspapers had the opportunity to bring community together - not only to impart a sense of the news but to build a sense of place as well.

2007 Ruhl Lecture: Leonard Pitts

Leonard Pitts“A Legacy of Drums” by Leonard Pitts presented as the thirty-first Ruhl Lecture at the School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon

May 10, 2007

Let me begin by telling you a little bit about myself. 

2006 Ruhl Lecture, Ann Marie Lipinski

I recently asked Sandy Rowe, Oregonian editor and former Ruhl lecturer, for advice on my visit today and she said, “Whatever you do, be passionate.  It’s Oregon!” We Midwesterners are more of a slow burn type, but I’ll see what I can do.

2005 Ruhl Lecture, Jay T. Harris

Crepuscular Thoughts on Listening to Handy’s “If Only We Knew”

Good afternoon.

It is a pleasure and a privilege to be here again.

It was about two months ago that Tim Gleason asked me to deliver the Ruhl Lecture this year. He told me that it would be the first time anyone had the honor to deliver this prestigious address a second time.

I assumed the invitation meant I did alright when I last stood at this podium fifteen years ago or, alternatively, that I was being given an opportunity to redeem myself.

2004 Ruhl Lecture, John Carroll

The Wolf in Reporter's Clothing: The Rise of Pseudo-Journalism in America

The annual Ruhl Symposium at the UO School of Journalism & Communication honors the late Robert Ruhl, former editor and publisher of the Medford Mail Tribune. For more information about the annual symposium, contact Libby Miskimins.

University of Oregon
School of Journalism and Communication

May 6, 2004

By John S. Carroll, editor, Los Angeles Times

2003 Ruhl Lecture, Tom Rosenstiel

Snob Journalism: Elitism vs. Ethics for a Profession in Crisis

Thank you. It is a pleasure, and an honor, to be here as part of the Ruhl Symposium.

2002 Ruhl Lecture: Frank A. Blethen

AMERICAN DEMOCRACY AT RISK: Can American Democracy Survive the Loss of an Independent Press and a Diversity of Voices?

Opening: America at Risk


2001 Ruhl Lecture: Nicholas Kristof

SPIES, WARS AND MASSACRES: The ethical dilemmas of a foreign correspondent

Annual Ruhl Lecture
University of Oregon
May 7, 2001
by Nicholas D. Kristof

Thank you. Well, I'm delighted to be back here in God's country. A few days ago - to get myself in the right state of mind - I showed my three kids the "Prefontaine" video, and that helped; but it's much better to be here in person.

2000 Ruhl Lecture: Sandra Mims Rowe


Annual Ruhl Lecture
University of Oregon
May 10, 2000
by Sandra Mims Rowe

Last August, in the rarefied atmosphere of the Aspen Institute, a new publisher attending an invitation-only seminar on Journalism and Society asked the provocative question, "How do we define quality and hold ourselves accountable for it?"