Michael Parks is a journalist and educator whose assignments have taken him around the globe, and whose "balanced and comprehensive" coverage of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa earned him the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. From 1997-2000, Parks served as editor of the Los Angeles Times, a period during which the Times garnered four additional Pulitzer Prizes. As of June 2013, Parks is the School of Journalism's interim director.
Parks joined the USC Annenberg faculty in Fall 2000. In Fall 2001, he became interim director of the School of Journalism. He was named director of the school in March 2002 and finished his term June 30, 2008. Parks was also the school's interim Director during the 2013-2014 academic year.
From his first overseas assignment covering the war in Vietnam as the Baltimore Sun's Saigon correspondent, Parks has reported on major international news events from a variety of international capitals, including Beijing, Moscow, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, and Jerusalem. He joined the Los Angeles Times in 1980 and in 1995 was promoted to deputy foreign editor and later managing editor, before taking the helm as editor in 1997.
As editor of the Los Angeles Times, Parks was responsible for news coverage and editorial page positions of the largest metropolitan newspaper in the United States. He managed an editorial staff of 1,350 and a budget of more than $120 million. Under his direction, the Times' circulation increased 16 percent to 1,170,000 and also developed an enhanced online news site, www.latimes.com. With a sense of the educational and social responsibilities held by the newspaper, Parks helped launch "Reading by 9," a community program to ensure all 9-year-old children in Southern California would read at grade level by the end of the 3rd grade, as well as editorial advocacy for adoption of a new city charter for Los Angeles and education reform, including the election of a new school board.
At USC Annenberg, Parks guided the creation and adoption of an innovative core curriculum that trains students to report stories for print, broadcast, and new media. Under his direction, the School has expanded its international reporting programs and its focus on developing expertise in covering diverse communities. The School has also deepened its commitment to mid-career training for journalists through the work of the Online Journalism Program, the Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism, the Institute for Justice and Journalism and the newly-established USC Annenberg Getty Arts Journalism Fellowship program and Strategic Public Relations Center.
Parks began his journalism career as a general assignment reporter at the Detroit News, where he worked while studying at Ontario, Canada's University of Windsor. After earning his B.A. in Classical Languages and English Literature, Parks worked as a New York correspondent for the Time-Life News Service. He later helped start the Suffolk Sun, a 120,000 circulation daily on Long Island, New York, and served as that paper's assistant city editor before joining the staff of the Baltimore Sun in 1968.
Parks has served the profession as a juror for the Pulitzer Prize, Gerald Loeb Awards, ASNE Writing Awards, and the Selden Ring Award. He has also served on the Western Selection Committee for the German Marshall Fund Fellowships and the South African Selection Committee for the Fulbright Fellowship. His memberships include the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Council on Foreign Relations, Pacific Council on International Policy, International Press Institute, Asia Society, and the Society of Professional Journalists.
Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Parks and his wife live in Pasadena, California. They have three grown children and three grandchildren.