3rd candidate in the search for the new director of WKU’s School of Media addresses unique leadership style

Lisa McLendon, the current chair of News and Information at the University of Kansas, speaks to students and faculty about her experience in the JRH Auditorium on Feb. 19. “There’s a lot of ways one can be a journalist,” McLendon said. She said her favorite part of being in journalism is “opening students eyes to editing as a career.”

Abbey Nutter

The third candidate in WKU’s search for a new director of the School of Media, Lisa McLendon, continued the presentation process Wednesday afternoon and noted her unique style of leadership influenced by her career in journalism.

“I think that I bring some different approaches into my idea of leadership, and a lot of it is based on journalism,” McLendon said. “It’s gathering all the information, what’s the story, what’s going on and I think one of the most important things is the manager talking and listening to all the angles to every story.”

McLendon originally studied Russian in college, graduating with her bachelor’s degree from Truman State University with her master’s and doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.

She spent the six years between 1994 and 2000 teaching the Russian language in the University of Texas Slavic Department and College of Liberal Arts and the Russian Speakers’ Association of Austin.

McLendon said her transition from Russian to Journalism began with an ad in a paper and that ad led her to obtaining her first job in the journalism field at the Denton Record-Chronicle in Texas. She worked there from 2000 to 2005 before she spent the next seven years working as deputy news desk chief at The Wichita Eagle in Kansas. 

Now, McLendon uses her experience working with publications in partnership with her leadership style to treat situations like stories. 

McLendon currently serves as News & Information track chair and Bremner Editing Center director for the University of Kansas School of Journalism and said she applied for the director position to move up in administration without having to give up teaching.

Discussion moved to her favorite lecture on everything that people know about grammar that is wrong before ending with a Q&A, where she made memorable commentary on how students can improve their writing. 

“The more you read the more you know how good writing is supposed to be,” McLendon said. “Read news, read the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, to get a feel for how it’s supposed to sound.”

The final candidate in the search for the new director of the School of Media, Elanie Steyn, will present Thursday at 3:00 p.m. in JRH 166.

News reporter Abbey Nutter can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @abbeynutter.