Tony Pederson Named Senior National Fellow at Overby Center

Career journalist's career experience and ethics expertise to help chart center's course

OXFORD, Miss. – Tony Pederson, a career journalist, editor and journalism professor, has been named senior national fellow of the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi.

Pederson is professor emeritus of journalism at Southern Methodist University, where he recently retired after a 20-year career. Before joining SMU in 2003, Pederson was executive editor and senior vice president of the Houston Chronicle.

“Tony has been an exceptional leader in newspapers and journalism education,” said Charles Overby, the center’s chairman. “His experience and outlook will be an important part of our center’s future.”

Tony Pederson

At SMU, Pederson’s taught a media ethics course that was a foundational course for journalism majors and a component for the ethics requirement in the university curriculum. He served on the promotion and tenure committee for the Meadows School of the Arts and taught a course on British media in the SMU-in-London summer program.

Pederson was awarded the M Award, the highest award given to faculty at SMU for distinguished service to the university. He also received the Meadows Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award and the Thomas Tunks Distinguished University Citizen Award.

“I am deeply honored by this appointment to the Overby Center,” he said. “I have known Charles Overby for more than 30 years and have the highest regard for his work as an editor and as CEO of the Freedom Forum. The Overby Center is well-positioned to help address many of the challenges facing journalism and news media.” 

At the Chronicle, Pederson served as sports editor, managing editor and executive editor. He oversaw the expansion of the newspaper’s national and state desks as well as establishing bureaus in Mexico City and Bogotá, Colombia.

Pederson has been active in the Inter American Press Association for over 30 years promoting press freedom in Latin America and served as president of the accrediting council for schools of journalism and communication in Latin America from 2006-18.

A native Texan who lives in Dallas, Pederson will be a regular participant in Overby Center events. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communication from Baylor University and a master’s degree in journalism from Ohio State University.

The Overby Center’s mission is to promote the highest standards in journalism and news media, support First Amendment principles and further the understanding of the essential relationship between democracy and a free press. The center was funded at Ole Miss by a $5 million grant from the Freedom Forum. 

Other fellows at the center are Will Norton, senior fellow and former dean of the UM School of Journalism and New Media; Marquita Smith, assistant dean for graduate programs at the school; Terry Mattingly, senior fellow and syndicated religion columnist; R.J. Morgan, senior instructional professor in the school; and Charlie Mitchell, associate professor of journalism.