Who is JPROF?

Jim Stovall gets up too early in the morning and starts his day by drinking coffee, listening to Baroque music, and reading as little news as he can get away with. He spends the rest of his day reading, walking (with his wife Sally), writing (blog posts, newsletter items, books, and the like), painting (watercolors), riding his tractor, woodworking, letting his cat (Sunny) in and out of the house, and generally trying to make his day better than the one before.

In a previous life, Jim was a journalism professor and author of a top-selling textbook on writing.

As a good Methodist, he tries to advance the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth by, in John Wesley’s words, doing all the good he can, all the times he can, and in all the places he can.

There’s more information below, if you need it.


JPROF is James Glen Stovall.

Denny Chimes, University of Alabama

Stovall is the former Edward J. Meeman Distinguished Professor of Journalism at the University of Tennessee. He is a professor emeritus at both the University of Alabama and the University of Tennessee.

Before joining the UT faculty in 2006, Stovall was a visiting professor of mass communication at Emory and Henry College in Emory, Va. He came to Emory and Henry in 2003 after serving as a journalism professor for 25 years at the University of Alabama, where he is professor emeritus. He was also a co-director of Southern Opinion Research, a private survey public opinion firm specializing in legal, political and media research, for nearly 20 years.

Stovall began teaching at the University of Alabama in 1978. During that time he has also served as director of the Communication Research and Service Center, co-director of the Capstone Poll, and assistant dean of the College of Communication.

His teaching specialties are writing, web journalism, editing, visual journalism, teaching high school journalism and public opinion research. At Tennessee, he initiated the development of the Tennessee Journalist (TNJN.com), the student-operated news website of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media.JGS0903-3

Stovall spent the summer of 1998 working in the news graphics department of the Chicago Tribune. Most of his time was spent as a graphics coordinator. As such, he researched and designed graphics to support news stories for the paper. He was at the Tribune as part of a fellowship he received from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. He returned to the Tribune to work in the same capacity in the summer of 1999.

Stovall is the author or co-author of the following books:

  • Writing for the Mass Media (9th edition), an introductory writing textbook that has been used at more than 400 colleges and universities;
  • Seeing Suffrage: The Washington Suffrage Parade of 1913, Its Pictures and Its Effect on the American Political Landscape (University of Tennessee Press, 2013);
  • Journalism: Who, What, Where, Why and How, an introduction to the field of journalism, published in 2005 by Allyn and Bacon;
  • Web Journalism: Practice and Promise of a New Medium, published in 2003 by Allyn and Bacon;
  • Alabama Political Almanac, second edition, (with Patrick R. Cotter and Samuel H. Fisher III), published by University of Alabama Press, 1997;
  • Infographics: A Journalist’s Guide, published in 1997 by Allyn and Bacon;
  • Disconnected: Public Opinion and Politics in Alabama (with Patrick R. Cotter and Samuel H. Fisher III), published in 1994 by Vision Press;
  • The Complete Editor, revised edition, (with Ed Mullins), published in 2005 by Allyn and Bacon;
  • Watergate: A Crisis for the World, published in 1980 by Pergamon Press.

Stovall has also edited a text on mass communication history and an introduction to mass communication.

Stovall has led in the development of the Tennessee Journalism Series — a set of multimedia, interactive textbooks produced by the School of Journalism and Electronic Media at the University. Stovall has authored or co-authored several of the books in that series.

As a survey researcher, Stovall has conducted more than 200 public opinion surveys on a wide variety of topics. As co-director of Southern Opinion Research, he has worked with clients such as the Birmingham News, the Huntsville Times, the Alabama Press Association, WBRC-Channel 6 in Birmingham, and a variety of newspapers and news organizations.

He is a native of Nashville, Tennessee and received his bachelor of science degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee in 1970. He received his master’s degree in political science from American University in 1973 and earned his doctorate in mass communication from the University of Tennessee in 1978.

From 1970 to 1974, he served on active duty in the United States Navy. During much of that time, he was a staff writer for All Hands magazine.

His reporting and editing experience includes stints with the Bristol (Tenn.-Va.) Herald Courier, the Knoxville News-Sentinel, the Birmingham News and the Tuscaloosa News.

Stovall is married to Sally McMillan of Maryville, Tennessee, and they have one son, Jefferson, who was born in 1980.

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