Stephen Wolgast, the Knight Chair in Audience and Community Engagement for News and professor of the practice of journalism, has three decades of professional and academic experience. He started his career as a photographer at the Topeka Capital-Journal, worked as a reporter at The Baltic Independent in Tallinn, Estonia, and as an editor at the Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune and The Times-Picayune in New Orleans. He became a newsroom manager at the Akron Beacon Journal, a Knight-Ridder newspaper, and from there worked as an editor at The New York Times for nine years. He was among the staff who contributed to the special section “A Nation Challenged,” which was published daily after 9/11 and which received the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2002.
Wolgast entered academia at Kansas State University, where he was director of Collegian Media Group, the nonprofit company that publishes student media. In that role he initiated the transition of the campus phone book to a student lifestyle magazine, and during his tenure student staffers won two Hearst Foundation Journalism awards, a national first-place award from the Society of Professional Journalists, and had a student named as K-State’s first Rolling Stone College Journalist of the Year. Wolgast also served as a professor of the practice of journalism, teaching classes in reporting.
B.A., Kansas State University, political science
M.S., Columbia University, journalism