Lori Shontz specializes in the teaching of core writing and reporting skills. She is a leader nationally in the teaching of engaged journalism, which creates ways to strengthen connections between journalists and the communities they cover for the greater civic good, and is an affiliated faculty member of the Agora Journalism Center. She also co-directs Writing Central, the SOJC’s peer writing support program, and founded the University of Oregon's SOJC Track Bureau. In 2018, MediaShift named her one of the 20 top innovators in journalism education.
She uses her background as a sports journalist to teach a class in advanced sports beat reporting in which students cover all of the track and field meets at Hayward Field, including the 2016 and 2020 Olympic trials. Her students’ work has been published in more than 30 professional publications since 2015, including daily coverage for three publications from Doha, Qatar, during the 2019 World Athletics Championships.
Shontz came to academia after more than two decades as a writer and editor specializing in sports, women’s issues, and higher education. She has reported from Kenya, Cuba, 10 Final Fours (women’s and men’s), and four Olympic Games. She has also organized coverage of events including the Olympics and the BCS title game. She worked at The Miami Herald; the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; her hometown Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; and the Progress-Index in Petersburg, Virginia. And at The Penn Stater alumni magazine, she was part of a team that received awards for its in-depth and unflinching coverage of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Shontz graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Penn State in 1991 with a BA in English writing and a minor in sport history, and she wrote her senior honors thesis on the development of women’s varsity sport. In 2013, she completed an MEd in adult education at Penn State, where she researched organizational change and professional development in journalism.
She is a board member for Journalism That Matters, a member of the the University of Oregon's Provost's Teaching Academy, and the 2020 recipient of the All-Campus Advising Association's Outstanding Faculty Advisor award.
Learn more on her website.
- MEd, Adult Education, Pennsylvania State University, 2013
- BA, English, Pennsylvania State University, 1991
"Journalists should use caution when reporting on new shooting details,” Poynter, October 2018.
Why we need to teach more business skills in the j-school classroom,” MediaShift, November 2017.
“Rethinking coverage of mass shootings in the age of gun violence,” IJNet, September 2017
"How journalists can better cover victims of disaster,” IJNet, September 2017
"Practicing what we preach: Teaching engagement in j-schools means listening to our students,” Gather, August 2017.
"How Oregon’s writing center uses peer tutors to engage reluctant writers,” MediaShift, March 2017
“Remix: How to teach journalism in the pressbox,” MediaShift, January 2017
“Every day a struggle, every day a gift,” profile of football star Curt Warner and his autistic twins, The Penn Stater alumni magazine, November/December 2018.
“New track meet turns pro running into a team sport,” Runner’s World Online, August 2016.
"Olympic rule leaves non-sponsors with few words,” Runner’s World Online, July 2016
Areas of Expertise
- Sports journalism
- History of women’s sport/Title IX
- Olympic history
- News writing and reporting
- Journalism education
- Higher education journalism
- Magazine journalism
- Mass shooting coverage
- Engaged journalism
- Trauma and journalism
- Reporting I
- Reporting II
- Gateway to Media
- Sports Bureau (deadline track and field coverage)
- Sports Media Workshop
- Legalize It (issue coverage of marijuana legalization)