Buck Ryan Bio
Sept. 26, 2015
Buck Ryan, director of the Citizen Kentucky Project at the University of Kentucky’s Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, is a tenured associate professor of journalism in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications. He has taught at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, the University of Missouri-Columbia's School of Journalism, Shanghai University and Jilin University in China, and Lomonosov Moscow State University in Russia.
In 2015 he was presented the Omicron Delta Kappa Outstanding Leadership & Student Enhancement Award by UK President Eli Capilouto at the 2nd Annual Leadership Awards ceremony of the Nu Circle Chapter of the National Leadership Honor Society (ODK). Also in 2015 he was selected to teach in the first UK-JLU Education Week at Jilin University in Changchun, China. In 2014 and 2013 he was honored as "A Teacher Who Made a Difference" by UK's College of Education. Also in 2013 he was honored with a teaching award from Shanghai University for his "Storytelling: Exploring China's Art and Culture" course as part of the inaugural UK-SHU Education Week. In 2012
he was honored as one of the Top 50 journalism professors in the country by the national website JournalismDegree.org, and in 2011 he was national runner-up for an Inspire Integrity Award from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, based in Washington, D.C. He was inducted in 2011 into UK’s Nu Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), the National Leadership Honor Society. In 2010 he was the first journalism professor-in-residence from UK at Shanghai University. In 2003 he won UK's Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching after serving eight years as director of the School of Journalism and Telecommunications from 1994 to 2002.
He was the eighth director in the journalism school’s 100-year history. He left the post to become the first executive director of the First Amendment Center, where he launched the Citizen Kentucky Project, which is designed to increase civic literacy and engagement among young people. Ryan has been honored twice as a Kentucky Colonel, the highest civilian honor in the Commonwealth, by both a Republican and a Democratic governor for his civic education work. In 2011, 2013 and 2014 he was recognized as “A Teacher Who Made a Difference” by UK’s College of Education.
Ryan is the creator of the Maestro Concept, an innovative approach to story planning, writing and newsroom organization for newspapers. The concept debuted in a video and report to the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1993. The concept’s impact covers 48 states and Washington, D.C., in the United States and 16 other countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, England, Korea, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Spain and Vietnam). A list of those interested in the concept when it was introduced in 1993 contains the names of 324 newspapers in the United States involving 59 newspaper groups and more than 50 universities and high schools.
Thousands of journalists have heard him explain the concept at national, regional or state press association meetings and at more than 25 newspapers in the United States. Ryan has worked with newspapers in Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Sweden, and he has explained the concept at the Press Institute of Sweden, the World Association of Newspapers conference in Kobe, Japan; at the Brazilian Association of Newspapers meeting in Curitiba, Brazil; and at the American Press Institute in Reston, Va.
In December 2006 he conducted a maestro workshop in Hanoi for Vietnamese print and online journalists. In June 2010 he became the first journalism professor in residence at Shanghai University in China from UK, teaching journalism students the Maestro Concept. In 2013 and 2014 he was honored by Shanghai University for teaching "Storytelling: Exploring China's Art and Culture" in the summer International Short Term where he introduced students to the Maestro Concept.
Ryan was invited to speak on the concept in Russia over 12 days in June 2010 by journalism organizations hosting seminars in three cities: Barnaul for the Press Development Institute-Siberia; Kirov for the Russian Union of Journalists; and Rostov-on-Don for the Alliance of Independent Regional Publishers of Russia.
Ryan has written three books: Writing Baby, Editing Dog & You: A Friendly Place to Begin Improving Your Writing (Maestro Consulting, 2008), The Editor’s Toolbox, A Reference Guide for Beginners and Professionals (Blackwell/Iowa State Press, 2001), an editing textbook with co-author Michael O’Donnell; and Wordwise (Pug Publishing, 1995), a language skills guide, also with O’Donnell. He contributed to American Society of Newspaper Editors reports on newsroom management or copy editing, and he designed the first ASNE Flying Short Course for Copy Editors.
Ryan has produced five Kentucky Educational Television documentaries, including "Ballot Bomb: Exploring the Young Voter Explosion" in 2014 about the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky and “Citizen Kentucky/Citizen China: Hope for a New Century,” which aired in July and August 2008 as a lead-in to the Olympics in Beijing. His other KET programs are “Beyond O.J.: A Public Journalism Forum on Domestic Violence,” on the public journalism movement in 1995; “More Than Free Speech,” on the First Amendment at the turn of the century in 1999; and “Citizen Kentucky: Democracy and the Media,” on trends and remedies for civic life, which won a national Telly Award in 2002 for public affairs programming.
In 2009 he was selected as one of 12 professors to be a fellow at the Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University. In 2010 he was elected to the board of directors of Kentucky Advocates for Civic Education Inc., a citizens group.
Ryan has more than 12 years of newspaper experience, working for the Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Gazette, the Buffalo (N.Y.) Evening News and the Chicago Tribune, where he was an assistant metropolitan editor when he left full-time work in 1990. He worked part time on the Tribune copy desk while he pursued tenure as a journalism professor at Northwestern University. From 1981 until 1994, Ryan taught editing at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and a student newspaper rated him one of the “10 best professors” at Northwestern. He worked as a senior editor in residence at the Oregonian in the summer of 1993 consulting on the Maestro Concept.
He has a bachelor's degree (1978) and a master's degree (1990) from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he studied at the School of Journalism, and he has taken courses in a College of Education doctoral program at UK in Educational Policy and Evaluation. He and his wife, Anne, have two children.
Director, Citizen Kentucky Project
First Amendment Center
University of Kentucky
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