Ken A. Paulson

Dean and Professor

Ken A. Paulson
(615) 898-2195
Room 247, John Bragg Media and Entertainment Building (BRAGG)
MTSU Box 51, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Departments/Programs

Areas of Expertise

Expertise in the First Amendment, journalism and media ethics.

Biography

Ken Paulson is dean of the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University and president of the First Amendment Center. He is also the former editor-in-chief of USA Today and remains a columnist on USA Today’s board of contributors, writing about First Amendment issues.

He is also the host of “The Songwriters,” a television show on PBS television affiliates in 55 markets...

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Ken Paulson is dean of the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University and president of the First Amendment Center. He is also the former editor-in-chief of USA Today and remains a columnist on USA Today’s board of contributors, writing about First Amendment issues.

He is also the host of “The Songwriters,” a television show on PBS television affiliates in 55 markets nationwide featuring interviews with inductees into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. The program was selected for screening at the Nashville Film Festival in 2018.Paulson is a member of the Hall of Fame’s board.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam appointed Paulson to the Tennessee Entertainment Commission in 2017.

Throughout his career, Paulson has drawn on his background as both a journalist and lawyer, serving as the editor or managing editor of newspapers in five different states. He was on the team of journalists who founded USA Today in 1982 before moving on to manage newsrooms in Westchester County, N.Y., Green Bay, Wis., Bridgewater, N.J. and at Florida Today in Brevard County, Fla. He also is a former president of the American Society of News Editors, the nation’s largest organization of news-media leaders. He is also the former president of the Newseum, the museum of new in Washington, DC.

Paulson also was the host of the Emmy-honored television program "Speaking Freely," seen in more than 60 PBS markets nationwide over five seasons, and the author of "Freedom Sings," a multimedia stage show celebrating the First Amendment that continues to tour the nation¹s campuses. For 12 years, Paulson was a regular guest lecturer at the American Press Institute, speaking to more than 5,000 journalists about First Amendment issues.

He was honored with the API Lifetime Service Award. In 2010. In  2011, he served as chair of the PBS Editorial Standards Review Committee.

In 2007, he was named fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists, "the highest honor SPJ bestows upon a journalist for extraordinary contributions to the profession." In 2008, he received the Robert S. Abbott Memorial Award for Meritorious Service in Mass Communications from the Southern Regional Press Institute. He has also been elected to the Illini Publishing Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois. In October 2012, he received the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He also has served as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School

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