Professor joins journalism hall of fame

If your mother says she loves you, check it out. These words are very familiar to any student who has taken Ethics in Media, taught by Ben Kaufman at Northern Kentucky University.

Kaufman is notorious for following his own advice, and the society of Professional Journalists Hall of Fame inducted him in October.

“(Kaufman) has an impressive history as a reporter,” said Gaut Ragsdale, chair of the Department of Communication. “He gets his facts right; he really digs for the facts.”

Patrick Moynahan, dean of Informatics, agrees. “That’s why he was a good reporter,” he said. Moynahan worked as an editor at the Kentucky Post the same time Kaufman was a reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer and said they would be writing the same type of stories and run into each other. “Because of that, I have a healthy respect for (Kaufman’s) reporting abilities,” he said. “He is very thorough in his reporting. He’s accurate and aggressive-I mean that in a positive sense.”

Scott Aiken gave the introductory remarks at the Society Professional Journalists Hall of Fame ceremony in October before Kaufman received the award. They met in 1967 when Aiken worked as the Cincinnati Enquirer’s foreign editor. “The lead on the Ben Kaufman story is short and simple: Ben is one of the finest journalists in this city…and in this country,” he said. “Ben is a journalist’s journalist.”

Besides his reputation in Cincinnati, Kaufman also has a notorious reputation on campus for being a tough-grading, hard-nosed professor. “When I was chair, students used to come in and complain about how hard he graded,” Moynahan said. “But it’s just not an easy course.” Moynahan said that Kaufman brings academic rigor to the classroom. “Students balk at that rigor a bit,” he said. “But they’ll be thankful that they had that class.”

Ragsdale has heard the same thing about the student reaction when it comes to Kaufman. “Students think that he grades too hard and overly harsh, but he understands what a tough world it is,” he said.

“What is important to Ben, in his own materials…he states that his teaching at NKU has really been important to him in his life’s work.”