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NPR Journalist, Former Pentagon Spokesman Named SMPA Fellows
August 21, 2012
NPR’s national political correspondent Mara Liasson and Pentagon senior spokesman Douglas Wilson will serve as distinguished fellows for the 2012-13 academic year.
Mara Liasson, national political correspondent for National Public Radio, and Douglas Wilson, former assistant secretary of defense for public affairs at the Pentagon, will join George Washington’s School of Media and Public Affairs as its newest fellows for the 2012-13 academic year.
“The School of Media and Public Affairs is pleased to welcome these distinguished professionals to our academic community,” said SMPA Director Frank Sesno. “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. It’s what makes SMPA such an exciting place to be.”
Ms. Liasson joined NPR in 1985 and currently serves as its national political correspondent, contributing regularly to NPR’s award-winning programs All Things Considered and Morning Edition. Each election year, Ms. Liasson provides analysis of the candidates and issues in both presidential and congressional races. During her tenure, she has covered five presidential elections.
Prior to her current assignment, Ms. Liasson worked as NPR’s White House correspondent during the Clinton administration and as congressional correspondent from 1989 to 1992. She serves as a regular contributor for Fox News.
“I look forward to sharing my experiences with the School of Media and Public Affairs during this exciting election season,” said Ms. Liasson. “I am certain the dialogue between faculty, fellows and students will provide all involved a greater understanding of our current political environment.”
Mr. Wilson served as the Pentagon’s assistant secretary of defense for public affairs from February 2010 until his retirement from government in March 2012. As the Pentagon’s senior spokesman and communications adviser, Mr. Wilson was responsible for the development and implementation of communication strategies on issues including Afghanistan, Iraq and counterterrorism. He also led Pentagon communication efforts following the death of Osama bin Laden. Mr. Wilson has been awarded the Distinguished Public Service Medal—the Pentagon’s highest civilian honor—three times.
Mr. Wilson has also held leadership positions at the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Democratic Leadership Council and the U.S. Information Agency, and served on the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election effort and as foreign policy advisor to then-U.S. Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.).
“I’m delighted and honored to be invited to work with the outstanding team at the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs for the upcoming academic year,” said Mr. Wilson. “I’m looking forward to collaborating with both students and faculty as we examine and put into context a number of national security communications issues which will continue to resonate nationally in the weeks and months ahead.”
In its third year this fall, the SMPA Distinguished Fellows program brings exceptional professionals from the fields of media, political communication and public affairs to GW. Past fellows include Joe Lockhart, former White House press secretary under President Bill Clinton; Ed Henry, CNN’s senior White House correspondent; and former Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah). The program is funded by parents of SMPA students.