William Rainbolt
  Associate Professor
  Director, Journalism Program
  University at Albany

   Rainbolt@albany.edu


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I am a native Texan, born and raised there until I was 23, when the U. S. Navy beckoned (actually, the idea of not being drafted was the beckoner) and left for duty travels to, in order, San Diego, Syracuse, San Angelo (Texas!), and, finally, Turkey. After that came graduate work and my early teaching career.

I arrived at the University at Albany (SUNY) in 1984 to become the Director of the Journalism Program, a position I held for the next three years. After stepping down from that post, I continued to teach while also writing freelance journalism for a wide variety of publications, and serving as a communications consultant for numerous organizations.

In 1999, I once again became Director of Journalism, a position I continue to hold. This is an exciting time for us at UAlbany – we have become the first SUNY University Center (the others are Binghamton, Buffalo, and Stony Brook) to offer a major in Journalism, leading to the B.A.

Before coming to UAlbany, I taught at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and Glassboro State College (now Rowan University), and worked as a reporter, editor, copy editor, and sports writer on newspapers in Texas and New Jersey.

For my Ph.D in American Cultural History from the University at Albany, I wrote a dissertation entitled, Images of Journalism in American Films, 1946-1976. This work examines the cultural, political, social, and other influences on depictions of journalism in film from early postwar America through 1976. The dissertation advances a two-fold argument: first, that films are primary sources, or artifacts for the times in which they are produced and released, and second, that the nostalgic, traditional image of journalists as portrayed in films of the Thirties and Forties underwent severe changes beginning in the Fifties, due to a changed postwar American society and, especially, the advent of television. The dissertation pays special attention to such films as Call Northside 777 (1948), All the King’s Men (1949) The Big Carnival (1951), Park Row (1952), Deadline USA (1952), Medium Cool (1969), The Parallax View (1974), All the President's Men (1976), and Network (1976). The revision that takes the form of a bo ok cuts the dissertation in half, focusing only on the period 1946-1959.

In 1996, a literary press, Dan River Press of Maine, published my first novel, Moses Rose, a retelling of a famous Texas legend about a deserter from the Alamo. In other words, it is a fiction about a legend. The Dallas Morning News said this novel “gives intriguing new life to a shadowy character long rumored to have survived the Alamo” and is “an imaginative tale.” Many of the characters are based on verifiable people in Texas in 1836, but I have also changed a great deal of so-called “facts” and indulged a lot in what is commonly known as, ahem, “dramatic license.” I wrote an essay about this for a virtual conference called “Writing History, Writing Fiction;” you can read it at the University at Albany’s History Department Web page - click on “History and Media,” and scan down the table of contents.

I have too many heroes, too many role models, too many good quotes I have stolen from others, too many exhortations about what to do to have a good life, too many anecdotes . . . too much of everything at this stage of my life to start offering any dreaded lists. Suffice it to say that the Noble Eightfold Path seems to cover it all.