Nicholson, a professor and director of graduate studies in VCU’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture in the College of Humanities and Sciences, will receive the award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Commission on the Status of Women on Aug. 8 at AEJMC’S annual convention in Montreal.
“Journalism and its best practices are my passion and there is no more important professional contribution one can make than strengthening a free and vibrant press in our country and abroad, as the basis for any civil society,” Nicholson said. “I am deeply honored to receive this prestigious award.”
The Outstanding Woman in Journalism and Mass Communication Education award recognizes a leading educator each year who has represented women well through excellence and high standards. The nonprofit Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication represents more than 3,700 educators, students and practitioners in the United States and around the globe.
Hong Cheng, Ph.D., director of the Robertson School, cited Nicholson’s contributions in his nomination letter. “Professor Nicholson has an exceptional record in journalism and mass communications education that has spanned three decades,” he wrote. “She has earned a reputation as a national leader in journalism in a career that has focused on diversity issues, especially for women and people of color in the journalism profession in the United States and around the world.”
Nicholson joined VCU’s faculty following a career as an award-winning reporter for newspapers in Virginia and North Carolina. She has taught introductory and advanced journalism courses, as well as international media, honors and graduate journalism courses. Her teaching specializations include government, enterprise and depth project reporting and coverage of specializations such as science, health, education, the environment, urban affairs and international issues.
Nicholson’s research interests include the role of women in modern journalism. She was lead editor of “The Edge of Change: Women in the 21st Century Press,” which was published by the University of Illinois Press, and has authored scholarly articles about women and media and written for professional publications.
Nicholson is a longtime leader in the national Society of Professional Journalists, which focuses on First Amendment as well as freedom-of-information and public access issues. Nicholson chaired the national SPJ Journalism Education Committee from 2000 to 2007 and the society’s International Journalism Committee for two years and she is currently vice chair of the Journalism Education Committee. She has served as a member of a number of other SPJ national committees, including a decade as a member of the SPJ Professional Development Committee.
Nicholson co-developed SPJ’s diversity curriculum for newsroom training, and has developed or participated in dozens of its national seminars for professionals and educators.
Nicholson also serves as president of VCU’s Faculty Senate and will remain in that role through August 2015. She chairs the Senate Leadership Group and Executive Committee and serves as a member of a number of university committees and task forces.
In 2008, Nicholson received the Robert P. Knight Multicultural Award, given by Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, for her contributions to promoting diversity in America’s newsrooms. In 2007, Nicholson was selected as recipient of the College of Humanities and Sciences Distinguished Service Award, for outstanding service to the profession of journalism and to VCU.