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Featured Profile: Rita Reed

Rita Reed

University of Missouri journalist Rita Reed makes visual history.

Before joining the MU faculty in 2000, Reed spent 20 years as a photojournalist. She worked not only on local, regional and national stories, but also internationally in Haiti, Bolivia, Colombia, Taiwan, China and the countries of the former Eastern Block.

In 1989, Reed set out to document the lives of gay and lesbian teens, a group considered to be at high risk for suicide. Her 45-picture essay, published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, was credited with raising consciousness regionally. She later authored Growing Up Gay: The Sorrows and Joys of Gay and Lesbian Adolescence, covering several years in the lives of two gay teenagers, for which she received a Nikon Sabbatical Grant for Documentary Photography.

At MU, Reed teaches photojournalism classes. She also directs the annual College Photographer of the Year competition and has made significant contributions to the program. She negotiated a sponsorship with Nikon to eliminate entry fees for students, internationalized the competition and created a podcast archive of judging sessions for educational use by other schools. Under Reed’s leadership the number of entrants has doubled with students from over 100 schools in 20 countries now entering.

In 2015, Reed received the National Press Photographers Association’s Morris Berman Citation recognizing her special contributions to the photojournalism field. In 2014, she won the MU journalism school’s O.O. McIntyre Professorship for Teaching Excellence.
Rita Reed is a Professor of Photojournalism at the Missouri School of Journalism.

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Related Initiative(s):
Media of the Future