Remembering Douglas Ann Newsom

Douglas Ann Newsom, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, Professor Emerita
Bob Schieffer College of Communication

The TCU Bob Schieffer College of Communication mourns the death of Dr. Douglas Ann Newsom, professor emerita, who died in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 24, 2021.A photo of Doug Newsom standing in her office in Moudy South in 2009.

Her Background

Douglas Newsom earned her bachelor’s degrees and master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. After graduation, she soon began doing publicity work for groups in North Texas. She started teaching as an adjunct at TCU in 1968, when she was still working full-time in public relations. After earning her doctorate from the University of Texas in Austin, she became a full-time professor at TCU in 1982.

Impact at TCU

In her more than 40 years teaching at TCU, Dr. Newsom mentored, taught and served thousands of students. She was known for being a tough, but fair, professor by her students. In a 2007 interview with TCU 360, Dr. Newsom “joked that students should not be intimidated because she wrote the textbooks for her classes – especially because she only receives 13 cents for each copy sold.”

A black and white photo of Doug Newsom standing at the front of a classroom teaching.

Doug Newsom stands teaching at the front of a classroom.

She served as chair of the TCU journalism department from 1979 to 1986, served as advisor to the student chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, created a curriculum that integrated advertising and public relations, and developed and directed the advertising/public relations master’s program. Dr. Newsom was one of the founders of TCU’s study abroad program in London for public relations and advertising students, and she led the program for many years. This popular summer program still continues today. TCU’s student chapter of PRSSA is named in her honor.

According to Dr. Jacque Lambiase, chair of TCU’s department of strategic communication, “Doug served our program and left a legacy to its students in so many ways, first and foremost in her integrated approach to teaching public relations and advertising. We are still delivering on this innovation, which was not popular with other academics in the 1980s and 1990s. Our current faculty showcases the entire toolbox of strategic communication, with an emphasis on ethics and global strategies. This global and ethical framework was always important to Doug.”

Accomplishments, Awards and Legacy

A long-time Texas Public Relations Association member, past president and charter life member of the Public Relations Foundation, Dr. Newsom was an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and a member of the PRSA College of Fellows. She was co-author of three public relations textbooks, co-editor of a women’s studies book and author of many book chapters.

Dr. Newsom received the Texas Public Relations Foundation’s Golden Spur Award and Educator of the Year Award, the Association of Women in Communications National Headliner Award, and in 1982, was the first woman to receive PRSA’s Educator of the Year Award. In 1985, she was the second woman to serve as president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) and the first public relations educator to hold that office; she was the sixth head of AEJMC’s Public Relations Division from 1974-1975. In 2016, she received PRSA’s Gold Anvil Award, the organization’s highest honor.

A photo of a delighted Dr. Newsom at AEJMC in San Francisco in 2015 when the Doug Newsom Award, created by the Public Relations Division, was announced.

Dr. Newsom’s delight was captured at AEJMC in San Francisco in 2015 when the Doug Newsom Award, created by the Public Relations Division, was announced.

She founded the PRSA chapter of the Greater Fort Worth area and served as president of the North Texas and Greater Fort Worth Chapters of PRSA, the Southwest Education Council for Journalism/Mass Communication, and the Fort Worth Chapter of Women in Communications, Inc.

In 2015, the Public Relations Division of AEJMC created the Doug Newsom Award, to be given for the top paper that fits the theme of global ethics or global diversity.

In 2019, the Greater Fort Worth chapter of PRSA created The Douglas Ann Newsom PRSA Professional of the Year Award to recognize those who have led and contributed to the advancement of public relations.

A Fulbright lecturer in both India and Singapore, Newsom was listed in Who’s Who in Public Relations. She was a member of Kappa Tau Alpha, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Beta Delta and Mortar Board national honorary organizations.

Dr. Julie O’Neil, professor and associate dean for the Schieffer College, explains that Dr. Newsom’s impact on students, academics, and professionals was far reaching around the world. She says, “She put TCU on the global map for her scholarship and her leadership. When people learned that I work at TCU, they would immediately ask about Doug. She was legendary. I am honored that I had an opportunity to work and learn from her.”

A photo of Doug Newsom, professor of strategic communication at TCU, seated in her office.

Doug Newsom, professor of strategic communication at TCU, smiles from her office chair. She retired from TCU in 2009.

Visitation and Donations

Visitation will be from 2-4 p.m., Sunday, May 30: Thompson’s Harveson & Cole, 4350 River Oaks Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76114; (817) 336-0345.

The family is requesting donations to her scholarship fund at TCU, the Douglas Ann Newsom Endowed Scholarship, at this link: After going to the link, add her name and scholarship fund to the notes section.

Learn more about Dr. Newsom