Rich Beckman is the Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the School of Communication at the University of Miami and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Universidad de los Andes in Santiago, Chile.
He is a Multimedia Trainer for reporters and producers at National Public Radio, a Communication Consultant for Special Olympics International, Director of The International Multimedia Workshops for Ethical Reporting on the World’s Most Under-Reported Issues and Founder and Director of the Beyond Bootcamp Multimedia Workshops. In 2009, he helped the School enter into a partnership with the Online News Association to bring their annual contest judging to the University and helped the School develop a the graduate program in multimedia journalism.
From January 1978 to June 2008 Beckman was the Director of Visual Communication at the University of North Carolina. During that time, he served two terms on the Faculty Council; won the Tanner and David Brinkley Awards, both in recognition of excellence in undergraduate teaching; was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in South Africa, Chile and Spain; a charter member of the UNC-CH Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars and Carolina Speakers and served as the Julian Sheer Term Professor of Journalism and the James L. Knight Distinguished Professor of Journalism, awards given for overall excellence in teaching, research and service. He twice chaired divisions within the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and was the founder and director of the Multimedia Bootcamp Workshops held at UNC-CH for eight years.
His current area of teaching and writing is in the genre of multimedia design and production, although he began his career as a photojournalist and taught in that area for 20 years. As an online producer, he has led teams that have won many of the most prestigious multimedia prizes in the world including the Pirelli INTERNETional Award for Educational Media and multimedia storytelling awards from the Online News Association (ONA), the National Press Photographers Association, The Broadcast Education Association, Horizon Interactive Awards, The Society for News Design and the Pictures of the Year International competitions. His students have won first place in the ONA Student Journalism category three times in the past five years.
He has judged the photography and multimedia categories of the White House Press Photographers Associations annual competition, the SNDies and Malofiej and the photography categories of the Robert F. Kennedy Awards, which honor outstanding reporting of the lives and strife of disadvantaged people throughout the world. He has spoken about and taught multimedia storytelling at NPPA national conferences, the News Photographers Association of Canada, the Eddie Adams Workshop and The Poynter Institute, and consulted in newsrooms around the world.
In 2008, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for Academic Excellence by the Southern Short Course in News Photography, the longest continuous running photojournalism seminar in the U.S. and the J. Winton Lemen Award by the National Press Photographers Association for outstanding service and technical innovation in the interest of photojournalism.