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Pressure Builds on University of North Carolina to Offer Tenured Position to “1619 Project” Founder Nikole Hannah-Jones

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The attorneys for Nikole Hannah-Jones had given the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill until June 4 to make her an offer of a tenured position as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at UNC.  The five prior recipients of this position were all offered tenure at the time they were named, but in a surprising move at the time, Hannah-Jones was offered a five-year term as a faculty member.

Last week I wrote this story about leaked emails showing that the largest single benefactor of the Hussman School of Journalism at UNC, Walter Hussman Jr., publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazzette, had expressed behind the scenes his displeasure with the school’s selection of Hannah-Jones for the position. The School of Journalism was named for Hussman after he made a gift to the University — his alma mater — of $25 million. But Hussman is not just an ordinary rich guy in the media business; Hussman heads a family media company that has been publishing newspapers for 110 years, and he has some specific and direct views on the role of reporters and the press that are not that welcome in modern media circles:

Hussman … is an evangelist of old-school objectivity. “Impartiality means reporting, editing, and delivering the news honestly, fairly, objectively, and without personal opinion or bias,” says the opening line of his statement of core values.

Hussman did not think the “1619 Project” headed by Hannah-Jones met that standard. In fact, he thought it was ahistorical and pushed an agenda under the guise of journalism.

“I worry about the controversy of tying the UNC journalism school to the 1619 project,” Hussman wrote in a late December email to King, copying in Guskiewicz and Routh. “I find myself more in agreement with Pulitzer prize winning historians like James McPherson and Gordon Wood than I do Nikole Hannah-Jones.

“These historians appear to me to be pushing to find the true historical facts. Based on her own words, many will conclude she is trying to push an agenda, and they will assume she is manipulating historical facts to support

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