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Officials to clear homeless encampment near campus in May
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • March 4, 2024

SMPA names NPR reporter, ex-Pentagon spokesman as fellows

A political reporter for National Public Radio and a former Pentagon spokesman will take over as fellows in the School of Media and Public Affairs, the school announced Tuesday.

Mara Liasson. Photo by Steve Barrett | NPR

NPR’s Mara Liasson and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Douglas Wilson will work with journalism and political communication majors this year in some classes, lectures and roundtables as part of the third year of the school’s Distinguished Fellows Program.

“We are thrilled to have two such prominent and accomplished professionals join us during this election year. The distinct perspectives Mara and Doug will provide our students will be invaluable,” SMPA Director Frank Sesno said in a release.

Liasson, also a regular Fox News contributor, is NPR’s national political correspondent. Her deep, resonant voice is often heard on the radio station’s flagship programs, “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition.”

She started at NPR in 1985, worked as its White House correspondent during the Clinton administration and has covered five presidential elections.

“I am certain the dialogue between faculty, fellows and students will provide all involved a greater understanding of our current political environment,” she said in a release.

Wilson retired from his government position in March after leading the Defense Department’s communication strategies on hot-button issues like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Wikileaks, Pentagon budget cuts and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Douglas Wilson. Photo by Gretel Truong | Haddad Media

Wilson, a political appointee who was confirmed by the Senate in 2010, was also one of the government’s highest-ranking openly gay officials. He has spoken out about how the 2011 repeal of the 18-year-ban on openly gay soldiers inspired him personally.

Media and political heavyweights like White House correspondent Ed Henry and former U.S. Senator Bob Bennett, R-Utah, previously have filled the positions, which are funded by donations from parents of SMPA students.



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