Jan Leach

Jan Leach

School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Professor and Director of the Media Law Center for Ethics and Access
Contact Information


Jan Leach is an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University. She teaches media ethics, graduate media ethics, newswriting, copy editing and other news courses and is director of Kent’s Media Law Center for Ethics and Access. She is coordinator and host of the annual Poynter KSU Media Ethics Workshop and the new “Media at the Movies” series focusing on media ethics in film. She is an Ethics Fellow at the Poynter Institute for Journalism Studies in St. Petersburg, Fla., where she works with other media professionals to define and address ethics issues.

She taught media ethics relating to gender-based violence in India in summer 2014 as part of an appointment for the State Department and the Poynter Institute.

Before joining the faculty at Kent, Jan was editor and vice president of the Akron Beacon Journal for five years, where she was responsible for news content, coverage and design. During her tenure, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists named the Beacon Journal “Best Newspaper in Ohio” three times.

As editor, Jan and her staff coordinated coverage of the 9/11 attacks, including publishing an “Extra” edition, explaining the war in Afghanistan and launching and promoting the “Fire Truck Fund” that raised more than $1.3 million for new safety equipment in New York City.

Jan came to Akron from the Cincinnati Enquirer where she had been managing editor for nearly five years. She also was managing editor at the Phoenix Gazette, city editor at the Arizona Republic, and held various reporting and editing positions at newspapers in Cincinnati, Findlay and Fostoria, Ohio.

She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree in media ethics from Kent State. Jan has written chapters in several journalism textbooks and she is among those featured in the 2011 book “Good Enough is the New Perfect,” by Harlequin non-fiction. She has been published in Nieman Reports, Poynter Online, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Journalism and Mass Communication Educator and elsewhere.

Jan is a member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. She is Chair of the Media Ethics Division of AEJMC for 2015-16. She  has been the ethics division’s Programming Chair, Research Chair and Teaching Chair. She also is a member of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, the American Society of News Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Akron Press Club, where she is on the board of trustees. She is a member of the board of Akron’s Millennium Fund for Children. She is a graduate of Leadership Akron and Valley Leadership (Phoenix).

At Kent State, Jan is a member of the College Advisory Committee for the College of Communication and Information, and of the Graduate Studies Committee for the School of Journalism. She has previously been a member of the Faculty Ethics Committee and she completed three years as Journalism Sequence Chair. She previously was adviser to Artemis and "A" student magazines.


B.S. in Journalism, Bowling Green State University, M.A. in Media Ethics, Kent State University


Journalism, Media Ethics, Online Media Ethics, 4th/5th estate


Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication – Chair for the Media Ethics Division, 2015-16 -- Program Chair for the Media Ethics Division, 2014-15 -- Research Chair for the Media Ethics Division, 2013-14 -- Teaching Chair for the Media Ethics Division, 2010-13 Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, member American Society of News Editors Society of Professional Journalists Akron Press Club, trustee 2014-16 Millennium Fund for Children, advisory board Kent State CCI College Advisory Committee, 2014-16 Kent State Honors College Faculty Kent State JMC Graduate Studies Committee Past member of Kent State Faculty Ethics Committee, JMC Journalism Sequence Chair, JMC Academic Integrity and Assessment Committee and JMC Curriculum Committee


  • Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists, Hall of Fame, 2015, CCI Distinguished Teaching Award, 2014, Book Chapter: Debates for the Digital Age – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of our Online World, Book Chapter: Contemporary Research Methods and Da