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Tony Burman, former managing director of Al Jazeera English, joins School of Journalism

Tony Burman

Distinguished international news executive Tony Burman has been appointed the new Velma Rogers Research Chair.

One of the world's most distinguished news media executives, Tony Burman, has been appointed the Velma Rogers Graham Research Chair in News Media and Technology in Ryerson's School of Journalism in the Faculty of Communication & Design. The appointment takes effect Sept. 1, 2011.

As CBC's editor-in-chief from 2000-2007, Burman led the national public broadcaster's news services across all channels - radio, television and on-line. After a 35-year career with the CBC highlighted by numerous awards for news and documentary production spanning 30 countries, Burman left to become one of the world's most influential news executives. As managing director of Al Jazeera's international English-language (AJE) news channel from 2008-2010, he oversaw its success in expanding both its reach in the U.S. and Canada and its reputation as the world's leading global news provider. The worldwide audience reach for AJE more than doubled under his leadership, from 100 million households to 220 million. Last fall, Burman became Al Jazeera's head of strategy for the Americas. He has been based in Washington, D.C.

"We are honoured to have one of Canada's most acclaimed and experienced news executives join Ryerson's School of Journalism," said Alan Shepard, provost and vice president academic. "Tony Burman has been involved in every major news event of our time, understanding, analyzing and ensuring balanced reporting for millions of people around the world. His appointment is an excellent example of Ryerson's growing reputation as a leader in innovation. We welcome him warmly to the Ryerson community."

"The reputation of Ryerson's School of Journalism reaches far beyond Canada's borders and I'm very pleased to be part of a university that believes in the importance of experiential learning  as much as theory," commented Burman. "Technology has given journalists exciting new tools to tell the world's stories but it has also created new pressures to report the news with speed and detail. These pressures have crucial implications for society - on issues of accuracy, quality and integrity - which require care and reflection. I'm looking forward to sharing my experiences with the next generation of Canadian journalists at Ryerson and I am honoured by this appointment."

Burman was named the second most influential non-Arab in the Arab world by Arabian Business Magazine and the Canadian Expat Association voted him the third most influential Canadian living abroad, behind Michael J. Fox and Wayne Gretzky. At the 2007 Gemini Awards in Canada, he received the Gordon Sinclair Award for lifetime achievement in broadcast journalism.

"Tony Burman has deep understanding and insight into the role and responsibility of news media in society, particularly as that role shifts and adapts to new technologies," said Gerd Hauck, dean of the Faculty of Communication & Design. "I know Ryerson students will benefit immensely from his global perspectives and first-hand experiences of shaping the modern news agenda."

As part of his research chair appointment at Ryerson, Burman will teach a course in the School of Journalism on the evolving relationship between journalists and politicians, deliver public lectures and on-campus seminars. In addition to conducting research on the relationship of journalism and news gathering to evolving information technologies, Burman's work will focus on a number of news industry issues including the impact of emerging technologies on our understanding of what news is, how it is gathered and transmitted; privacy; and, censorship and the control of information.

The Velma Rogers Graham Research Chair in News Media and Technology was established in 2000 through a generous donation from Loretta Rogers and the late Ted Rogers. Named in honour of Ted Rogers' mother, the chair is dedicated to promoting the scholarly exploration of the relationship of various aspects of information and communications technology to news gathering and the practice of journalism.

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