Atwood Chair of Journalism

The Atwood Chair of Journalism was established at the University of Alaska Anchorage in 1979 by Robert B. Atwood, publisher of the Anchorage Times, and his wife, Evangeline Atwood, to help advance the quality of journalism in Alaska.

The professorship offers UAA students, faculty, media professionals and the public the opportunity to interact with and learn from journalists of national prominence.

Meet Our Current Atwood Chair John Sharify

 “At this point in my career, I feel that there's no better place for me to be than in the classroom, and to share my professional experience and my passion for journalism with the next generation of storytellers,” said John Sharify. Sharify’s journalism career spans more than four decades, and he has done it all — print, radio, television and now, in this new age of news, digital. 

For Sharify, even though the delivery method may have changed, like telling a story through YouTube, or on a social platform like TikTok or Instagram, the heart of journalism and storytelling remains the same.

“In my career, I’ve always been drawn to stories that matter — meaningful stories that, if it had not been for my persistence and advocacy, might not have been told,” said Sharify. He believes the fundamentals of good storytelling are imperative to creating impactful stories that resonate with audiences no matter the platform. “I have been privileged in my career to do in-depth stories that I hope will shift perspective about the people and issues that I’ve explored, and that will also inspire people as well. You always want people to be moved by the stories you tell.”

While the who, what, where, when and why are the basic building blocks of any story, he’s hoping through his experiences as a seasoned journalist that he will provide the stepping stones to elevate his students’ reporting skills and storytelling and inspire them to look beyond the basics.