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Al Cross became director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues in August 2004 after more than 26 years as a reporter at The Courier-Journal, the last 15½ as the Louisville newspaper's chief political writer. His coverage ranged from presidential to local elections and included all facets of state government. After serving as interim director, in 2005 he was named permanent director and an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky, where the Institute is based. His faculty appointment is in the Extension Title Series, reflecting what he has long said is his short job description, "extension agent for rural journalists."

His awards include a share of the Pulitzer Prize won by The Courier-Journal staff in 1989 for coverage of the nation's deadliest bus crash. He was co-recipient of an honorable mention for environmental reporting in the Southern Journalism Awards for a 1987 series on strip mining. He has received awards for reporting and column writing from the Louisville Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He lectured at The Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia in 2001 and a New York workshop on campaign finance sponsored by Brigham Young University in 2000, and helped teach a non-credit course on politics at Bellarmine University in Louisville in 1992. He was named an Outstanding Kentucky Journalist by the Louisville SPJ Chapter in 2005.

Cross was the elected national president of SPJ, the nation's oldest, broadest and largest journalism organization, from October 2001 to September 2002. He was a charter member of his college SPJ chapter, president of the Louisville chapter, vice president of the Bluegrass Chapter, first chairman of the 1990 national convention in Louisville, chairman of an SPJ regional conference, and regional director for Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois on the national SPJ board in 1987-89. He was national chairman of Project Watchdog, an SPJ effort to explain the role of the news media in a democratic society. He is chairman of the SPJ Resolutions Committee, a member of the group's International Journalism Committee, its Ethics Committee and a director of SPJ's Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.


Staff Assistant: Deloris Foxworth

Graduate Assistants: Ivy Brashear and Sarah Vos

Institute for Rural Journalism & Community Issues
School of Journalism and Telecommunications, College of Communications & Information Studies
122 Grehan Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington KY 40506-0042
Phone 859-257-3744 - Fax 859-323-3168

Al Cross, director al.cross@uky.edu