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 at UK’s School of Journalism and Telecommunications. He won the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2003 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 80-year history. He left the post to become 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 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.
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 four Kentucky Educational Television programs, including “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.
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.
Upcoming Buck Ryan events....