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UMD names new dean of Merrill College of Journalism

Daily Record Staff//April 21, 2023

UMD names new dean of Merrill College of Journalism

By Daily Record Staff

//April 21, 2023

The University of Maryland, College Park has named Rafael Lorente dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, effective July 1.

Rafael Lorente is the new dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. (Submitted photo)
Rafael Lorente is the new dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. (Submitted photo)

Lorente currently serves as associate dean for academic affairs and director of the master’s program for UMD’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. In these roles, he works to connect research and practice to courses throughout the college’s curriculum and collaborates with the journalism industry to facilitate partnerships and internships for students.

He has steered the restructuring of the college’s curriculum toward strategic areas, including data journalism, changing business models and investigative journalism. With a particular focus on increasing diversity in the college’s master’s program, Lorente’s leadership has resulted in cohorts that average 40% students of color.

During his tenure, Lorente has worked closely with national news outlets to elevate opportunities for UMD’s journalism students. He initiated a partnership with the Associated Press, making Capital News Service one of the first student-staffed news services in the country to be distributed nationally by the Associated Press. He helped oversee a multi-university partnership for student coverage of the national political conventions in 2016, allowing UMD journalism students to report from the residence of the U.S. ambassador in London. He also worked with USA Today to create a co-taught class featuring a UMD faculty member and the company’s senior director of news strategy.

Lorente has led multiple innovative efforts to advance the college’s offerings. He helped lead a team of faculty and staff that put together the successful proposal for a three-year, $3 million grant for investigative journalism from the Scripps Howard Foundation to create the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism. He also co-led the interdisciplinary team that developed a master’s degree in data journalism to be offered jointly with the College of Information Studies.

Previously, Lorente was a senior lecturer in the college and served as both the Washington and Annapolis bureau director for the college’s Capital News Service. Prior to joining academia, Lorente was a practicing journalist at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, particularly focused on legislative and political matters and higher education. He covered the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, the attacks of Sept. 11 and U.S.-Cuba relations.


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