Larry Kirkman

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Larry Kirkman is the Dean of the American University School of Communication, where he directs and develops programs in journalism, film, and communications.

Dean Kirkman has raised millions in funding for new academic and professional centers and institutes include:

  • Center for Social Media, offering programs on social documentary, intellectual

property rights and the future of public service media, funded by The Ford Foundation as part of its Public Media Initiative, launched in 2001;

  • Investigative Reporting Workshop, a laboratory for the development and testing

of new tools and techniques for investigative reporting, launched in 2008; funders include the Ford, MacArthur, and Public Welfare foundations;

  • J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, moved to SOC with the

support of The Knight Foundation in 2008, helping journalists and citizens use digital technologies to develop new ways of participating in public life; also has funding from the McCormick Tribune Foundation;

  • Center for Environmental Filmmaking, supported by production and

educational partnerships with government agencies, nonprofits and media channels since 2005; funders include The Wallace Genetic Foundation;

  • Institute for Strategic Communication for Nonprofits, provided summer

programs on issue advocacy and public service campaigns for nonprofit communication managers, funded by Surdna, Annie E. Casey and Packard foundations, from 2003-2007; and,

  • Project for Community Voice, with funding from The Surdna Foundation,

courses in community reporting and documentary storytelling and partnerships with New America Media and the Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation; launched in 2009.

He has also served as Executive Producer on two public television specials:

  • Children Will Listen, a one-hour PBS prime-time special, directed by Charlene Gilbert and premiered at SILVERDOCS and AFI FEST, 2004; and
  • Nothing for Granted: A Marine’s Journey, a one-­‐hour MHz Networks

presentation, directed by Bill Gentile, 2005.

Dean Kirkman previously served as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the One World Foundation, from 2002 to 2006. In that role, he provided leadership, vision and policy direction for the global multimedia collaborative of 13 One World public media centers, from Finland to Zambia to support human rights, sustainable development and social justice with numerous partner organizations. Major funding for the Trust was provided by The MacArthur Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Omidyar Foundation, and UK and Dutch development agencies. (For more information, see OneWorld United States and OneWorld International.)

From 1989 to 2001, he served as the Executive Director of the Benton Foundation, promoting and modeling the best practices in communications strategies for nonprofits and advocating for the public interest in communications policies. He strengthened and expanded the reach and influence of the Foundation and produced numerous incisive guides to aid non-profit media work. He also co-edited and published a ten-volume series, Strategic Communications for Nonprofits, a comprehensive guide to media relations, media production, and networking. He assisted numerous high-profile campaigned, including playing a leadership role in the Connect for public service advertising campaign, and the Coalition for America’s Children, Who’s for Kids and Who’s Just Kidding campaign. He also served as executive producer of Destination Democracy: A Guide to Money in Politics, which included two videos under the title "Money Like Water . . ."--"Values, Issues, Solutions" and "The Big Picture of Campaign Finance Reform."


From 1982 to 1989, Kirkman was executive director of the AFL-CIO’s Labor Institute of Public Affairs, where he was responsible for the Union Yes advertising campaign. He launched the US Center for and serves as a trustee for the global enterprise on the board of the One World International Foundation. He has the capacity to link together experts, researchers and practitioners in disparate fields, and to focus their expertise on questions of the impact and evolution of social media."

From 1979 to 1982, Kirkman led the TV and video program for the American Film Institute, where he produced the National Video Festival and developed The Sony Video Center. As an assistant professor in the 1970s, he helped bring the School of Communication into the video age, while serving as editor of TeleVisions magazine and producing independent documentary programs for public television. In the late 60’s and early 70’s, he was an activist in the development of community media centers and public access channels, and owned Video Works, Inc. a company producing educational videos for government agencies and nonprofit organizations. He began his career teaching the public school system.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College, Columbia University and a Masters from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. [1]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Advisory Board, Technology Empowerment Network (archived page from 2001), accessed January 17, 2011.