WEB UPDATE: SMPA selects Huebner for top post

Posted, Thursday, June 8, 6:36 p.m.

Lee Huebner will be the next permanent director of the School of Media and Public Affairs,ending a more than 18-month search process. The University also announced Thursday that Frank Sesno, another candidate for the position, will become an SMPA faculty member.

Huebner is a professor of communications and journalism at Northwestern University and Sesno is a professor of public policy and communications at George Mason University. Huebner served as the publisher of the International Herald Tribune for 14 years and Sesno was a former CNN special reporter who has 25 years of experience in broadcast journalism.

Huebner will be assuming the SMPA’s top post on July 1 while Sesno will be joining the SMPA faculty in the fall. Huebner will be replacing Steven Livingston, who has served as the interim director of SMPA since 2004.

“Some things are worth waiting for,” said University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg in a press statement.

“In Lee Huebner, we gain a director with a wealth of talent and experience in print journalism, political research and higher education. He represents the perfect blend of theory and practice that will set our students on the right course for their careers.”

“Frank Sesno is the consummate broadcast journalist; an award-winning network correspondent, anchor and bureau chief who has also honed his skills in the classroom,” Trachtenberg said about Sesno, who served as the D.C. bureau chief for CNN from 1996 to 2002.

A six-member search committee was in charge of fielding applicants for the positions and recommended a list of the final four candidates to the University in March. Both Huebner and Sesno were a part of that list. SMPA Professor Steve Roberts was chair of the search committee and Columbian College of Arts and Sciences dean William Frawley said then that an announcement would come by the end of April.

Last year, GW did not name a new director when neither of the two remaining finalists got the post. Veteran NBC and CBS correspondent Marvin Kalb withdrew himself from consideration and Robert Entman was named an SMPA faculty member.

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