The School of Media and Public Affairs welcomes new members to its community.
A member of Congress and distinguished journalists, diplomats and media professionals have joined the George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs as fellows. SMPA announced the following additions to its community:
David Ensor served as the director of Voice of America from 2011 to 2015, adding dozens of television programs, mobile apps and social media programs that increased VOA’s audience by almost 40 percent. He brings more than 30 years of broadcast news reporting experience to GW as the Walter R. Roberts Fellow and the director of the Project for Media and National Security.
Most recently, Mr. Ensor was the executive vice president for external relations at the Atlantic Council. From 2010 and 2011, he served as the director of communications and diplomacy for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Mr. Ensor was also a CNN national security correspondent from 1998 through 2006. Prior to that, he had a distinguished global career as a reporter for ABC News and NPR.
Jeffrey Blount is an Emmy Award-winning television director with 34 years of experience. He joins SMPA as a Shapiro Fellow.
Mr. Blount directed a decade of NBC’s “Meet The Press,” expanding the show from a half hour to one hour and guiding its rise from the third-rated Sunday morning political program to the top-rated show. He also directed “Sunday Today,” “Today” and Washington’s “NBC Nightly News” and led “The Chris Matthews Show” for 11 years.
Throughout his career, Mr. Blount has also directed major events in Washington, including the State of the Union and rebuttal responses, the funerals of Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, presidential addresses, press conferences, election night coverage and more. He is also the award-winning author of two novels, and he has written about race and social justice for The Washington Post, Huffington Post and others.
Robert Ogburn, Public Diplomacy Fellow
Robert Ogburn has held the title of Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul since September 2014. He joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1987 and has worked in Iraq, Korea, Vietnam, Washington and Egypt.
Mr. Ogburn was deputy consul general at the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City from 2011 to 2014. From 2009 to 2010, Mr. Ogburn was the State Department’s senior adviser for rule of law at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Mr. Ogburn has also held positions in Korea, including as spokesman and counselor for public affairs and as press and cultural attaché in Ho Chi Minh City. He was also a briefing coordinator and Middle East/South Asia program officer for the Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C., and deputy embassy spokesman in Cairo.
Jason Rezaian, Terker Distinguished Fellow
Jason Rezaian is an Iranian-American journalist who served as Tehran bureau chief for The Washington Post. He reported in Iran until he was arrested in the country in 2014 and sentenced to prison for crimes related to espionage. He was released in 2016.
Until his arrest in 2014, Mr. Rezaian reported on two presidential elections, Iran's nuclear negotiations with global powers, the effects of one of the most punitive sanctions regimes in modern times and environmental issues in the country. He also told stories of everyday Iranians through human-interest features.
Mr. Rezaian is the first Terker Fellow to return for a second year. While at SMPA, he is writing a memoir that will reflect his experiences growing up as an Iranian American in the United States, reporting from Tehran and his 18 months in an Iranian prison.
April Ryan is a journalist with 30 years of experience. She has been the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks since January 1997 and has covered three presidential administrations during her tenure. Her encounters with the Trump administration have propelled her to increased prominence.
Ms. Ryan is also author of the best-selling book, “The Presidency In Black and White: My Up Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America.”
U.S. Rep. Brendan F. Boyle (D-Pa.), Terker Distinguished Fellow
Elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2008, Brendan Boyle was the first Democrat to represent Pennsylvania's 170th state legislative district, which includes parts of Montgomery County and Philadelphia. In 2014, he was elected to Congress, representing northeast Philadelphia, part of north Philadelphia and approximately half of Montgomery County, Pa.
Since first entering public service, Mr. Boyle has served as a champion for working- and middle-class families, in particular issues relating to social and economic justice. He served as an adjunct professor at Drexel University’s Graduate School of Public Policy. In 2011, he was named an Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellow.