Tony Weldon Pederson

Belo Distinguished Chair & Professor of Journalism, SMU

P.O. Box 750113
(214) 768-3969

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Tony Pederson holds the rank of professor and is the Belo Distinguished Chair in Journalism at Southern Methodist University.  In that position he chairs the Division of Journalism in the Meadows School of the Arts.   Before assuming the Belo chair in June of 2003 he was senior vice president and executive editor of the Houston Chronicle.

His teaching at SMU focuses on media ethics, and he has written extensively on the subject and serves as a local resource for media in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  He lectures and speaks frequently on mass media issues, especially relating to converging media.

He is a longtime activist in First Amendment issues and international press freedom issues, especially in Latin America.  He was president of the Inter American Press Association in 1999-2000.  He currently is serving as president of Consejo Latino Americano de Acreditación en la Educación en Periodismo, the accrediting council for schools of journalism in education and communication in Latin America.

Pederson spent 29 years with the Houston Chronicle.  From 1992 until 1994 Pederson served as chairman of Texas Media, a coalition of media groups formed to pursue access issues and open government in Texas.  He has received the James Madison Award from the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas for his work on First Amendment issues and the Jack Douglas Award from the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors Association for service to Texas newspapers.  Pederson serves as a director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas and the Inter American Press Association and is a member of the board of advisers for the International Center for Journalists.   He does a wide range of media and business consulting and also serves as an expert witness in media cases.

Pederson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism/communication from Baylor University and a Master of Arts in journalism from The Ohio State University.

Education and Honors

  • M.A., The Ohio State University, 1976
  • B.A., Journalism/Communication, Baylor University, 1973

Publications, Speeches and Presentations


  • "Media Violence: A Thorny Constitutional Issue," published online by SMU News in the faculty experts series, Jan. 13, 2013.
  • "Election 2012: Media Feed the Frenzy and Ignore the Issues," published online by SMU News as part of the group of faculty experts on the election," September 21, 2012.
  • “Waco Showed True Character After Devastating Tornado Struck,” Waco Tribune-Herald, May 11, 2011.
  • "The Public Must Pay for Essential Online Newspaper Content," Jan. 10, 2011, The Dallas Morning News.
  • Media’s performance during campaign was inadequate,” Nov. 16, 2008, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • “Wanted for Media Survival: More Mavericks Like Rupert Murdoch.” This op-ed piece appeared Aug. 5, 2007 in the Orange County Register and Aug. 4, 2007 in the Houston Chronicle.
  • “Case for Law Protecting a Free Press: Proposed legislation would protect sources as much as journalists,” Houston Chronicle, Jan. 28, 2007. This was an op-ed piece offering analysis of the proposal for a shield law in the Texas Legislature.