Two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists join SOJC faculty

Brent Walth and Hector Tobar

Two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists with strong connections to the university and the state are joining the faculty of the UO School of Journalism and Communication.

Brent Walth, managing editor for news for Willamette Week, has accepted a full-time assistant professor of journalism position. Walth shared the Pulitzer Prize for public service reporting for stories The Oregonian wrote in 2001 about what was then the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the faculty and returning to the SOJC in this new role,” Walth said. “For me, it’s all about the opportunity to help prepare future journalists to carry out the essential mission of our craft — to seek the truth, and to tell stories that make a difference in the world.”

Walth graduated from the UO with degrees in journalism and political science in 1984 and was inducted into the SOJC Hall of Achievement in 2014. Prior to his position with Willamette Week, he worked as a political and investigative journalist for The Oregonian and The Register-Guard.

Walth also published the biography of former Oregon governor and SOJC alumus Tom McCall, “Fire at Eden’s Gate: Tom McCall and the Oregon Story.” 

“Brent’s experience in investigative journalism and long-form narrative writing will be a tremendous benefit for our students,” said Mark Blaine, journalism area director. “I know many students are excited to work with him, and we look forward to his contributions to the school.”

Hector Tobar has been teaching journalism classes in the SOJC for the past year as a visiting assistant professor and recently accepted a permanent position.

His latest work, “Deep Down Dark, The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle That Set Them Free,” is a New York Times bestseller and is a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. “Deep Down Dark” also was listed in the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2014.

In 1992, Tobar won a Pulitzer Prize for his work as part of the team covering the Los Angeles riots for the Los Angeles Times.

“I'm honored to join one of the best journalism and communication schools in the United States. The scope of work being done by the faculty here, in the Eugene campus and in locations around the Northwest and the world, is truly impressive,” Tobar said.

“Hector has been teaching in the SOJC this past year and has established himself as an incredible classroom presence,” Blaine said. “He’s a natural teacher and his internationally recognized work has gotten students excited to work with him.”

"The fact that SOJC students will have the opportunity to study with three Pulitizer Prize-winning journalists of the caliber of Brent Walth, Hector Tobar and Alex Tizon is extraordinary,” said Julie Newton, interim Edwin L. Artzt Dean and SOJC professor. “The depth and breadth of their experience and talent enhances an already-strong J-school faculty and will contribute greatly to the university's mission of offering exceptional teaching to our students. Our faculty members build on a 100-year legacy of ethics and innovation to teach, research, create and serve the public interest.”

Tizon joined the SOJC as an assistant professor in 2011. While working at the Seattle Times, he and two colleagues won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for a five-part series about fraud and mismanagement in the federal Indian housing program. Tizon has won several awards for his 2014 memoir, “Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self.

—By Amy Pinkston, School of Journalism and Communication