Snedden Chair profile: Adam Tanner lends global perspective to UAF

Erin Granger - Snedden profile 9-13-16.jpg

Veteran journalist, Adam Tanner, will be the UAF Journalism Department’s Snedden Chair for the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters. Erin Granger/Sun Star

Journalism may be wildly different from decades past, but is nevertheless vitally important to the sharing of information and data. These are the views of 2016-17 Snedden Chair, Adam Tanner, who has traveled the world only to briefly settle at UAF.

Tanner worked for five years as a reporter in Moscow, served for another five years as the San Fransisco Bureau Chief for Reuters and worked for three years as the Balkans Bureau Chief in Belgrade, Serbia until 2011. He then relocated to the Boston area.

Tanner joins us after recently completing a fellowship for the Harvard University Institute for Quantitative Social Science.

This fall Tanner is teaching JRN 421, a course titled “Perspectives in Journalism”, from 1- 2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“This course looks at many different things including this fall campaign,” Tanner said. “We have a pretty interesting situation where the media has played a very important role.”

The course will also explore issues such as journalistic ethics and the evolution of the media.

In the spring Tanner plans to teach a course titled “The Globalized North.” This course will look at how the world has influenced Alaska and what lessons the state can learn from the rest of the world, Tanner explained.

Tanner’s time so far in Alaska has provided insight into interesting foreign ties he has noticed.

“A few weeks back the taxi driver that picked me up was a guy from Somalia,” Tanner said. “I went to The Crepery downtown and the guy that served me was from Albania and I was in a Mexican restaurant the other day and the woman who was working there was from Serbia. She was quite surprised that one of the patrons there could speak Serbian.”

Having worked in such places as Berlin, Moscow, Washington D.C, the Balkans, San Francisco, Boston and now Alaska, Tanner finds our shrinking world to be fascinating.

“The impact of globalization, the trade between different countries, this incredible exchange of people and things that has intensified in recent decades, is really changing the face of Alaska and all sorts of other parts of the world,” Tanner explained.

The spring semester course will focus primarily on these subjects, looking at different aspects of Alaska’s economy and society and its global connections.

Tanner received his undergraduate degree in history and his master’s degree in international affairs. Both, he said, contributed greatly to his career as a journalist.

“I think the more you know about the world the more effective you can be as a journalist,” Tanner said.

Tanner’s biggest piece of advice to young journalists is to be well prepared and familiar with a myriad of topics.

“The way that journalism will be delivered will continue to change,” Tanner said. “It used to be in a newspaper or the television. Now it will be ever changing over time whether it’s the internet or a magic orb that appears on the desk that broadcasts the news in some form. But the raw job of a journalist, someone to go and find out what’s going on and to interpret it and make it comprehensible to other people, that job will always be important.”

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