Chief operating officer/Newseum Institute and senior vice president/First Amendment Center
Gene Policinski is chief operating officer of Newseum Institute and senior vice president of the First Amendment Center, one of the initiatives of the Institute.
A veteran journalist, Policinski has held news leadership positions in newspapers, radio, television and online operations. In addition to expertise on First Amendment issues, Policinski is a long-time proponent of diversity as an essential component of a free press.
Policinski co-writes the weekly, nationally distributed column, "Inside the First Amendment," and host and producer of the Newseum's new online program "Journalism/Works."He was executive producer of the public television program "Speaking Freely," recognized in 2011 with a special Emmy award; and continues as occasional host of the First Amendment Center's unique "Freedom Sings" live performance program featuring music that has been censored or served as social anthems. He also directs a special Newseum Institute program, "Justice and Journalism," a cooperative effort with the federal judiciary to improve news media coverage and the flow of information to the public from district and appellate federal courts nationwide.
Policinski came to the Freedom Forum in 1996 from USA Today, where he was a founding editor and held various news executive positions, including Washington editor when the paper launched in 1982, and later Page One editor and Managing Editor/Sports.
He is an adjunct faculty member at Winthrop University in South Carolina; and a member of the Board of Advisors for the Institute for Media, Culture and Ethics, at Bellarmine University, Louisville, Ky; and the Journalism Alumni board at Ball State University in Indiana. He is a member of the national board of trustees for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), and of the board of trustees of the Association of Opinion Journalists. He is a past trustee of the United States Sports Academy and of the Newspaper Association of America Foundation. He was co-chair of the 2012 national convention of the American Society of News Editors, and in the mid-1990s served on the education committee of the United States Olympic Committee.
A graduate of Ball State University, he attended the Nashville School of Law. The Newseum Institute and the Newseum champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment through education and information programs, from the Newseum in Washington D.C., and from the John Seigenthaler Center, at Vanderbilt University; the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, at the University of Mississippi; and the Al Neuharth Media Center, at the University of South Dakota.