Gene Policinski 

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Ball State

B.S., Journalism, 1972
Spent a three-month sabbatical from the Freedom Forum at Ball State, helping to set up a Knight-funded project in the journalism department

Current Position

President and Chief Operating Officer, Freedom Forum Institute and Freedom Forum Senior Fellow for the First Amendment 


Gene started as a reporter in 1969 at The Greenfield Daily Reporter (Ind.). Worked as a reporter in Marion, Ind., and as Gannett statehouse bureau chief in Indianapolis before moving to the Gannett News Service bureau in Washington, D.C., in 1979 to cover Congress and national politics. In late 1981, he moved to the advanced group of editors preparing to launch USA TODAY, and was Washington editor of USAT when it began publishing in 1982. AT USAT, Gene held a number of news executive roles which ended with a run from 1989 to 1996 as Managing Editor/Sports.

He then moved to the Freedom Forum, a non-profit foundation that would later build and operate the Newseum Amendment law and issues since 1996, in a variety of executive roles. Gene has held his current position since 2013, when the Institute was founded as the programs arm of the Newseum and Freedom Forum.

Along the way, he has worked in television, radio and online news operations, and hosted and produced news and interview programs in all of those mediums. Gene currently hosts podcasts and writes a nationally distributed column, “First Five,” at the Freedom Forum. From 1999 to 2014, Gene was a narrator/emcee of a touring production, “Freedom Sings,” a multimedia, music-based stage play about freedom of expression in music.

Gene Policinski

“I’ve served for more than ten years on committees advising the CCIM Dean. Having benefited so much from my introduction to journalism at Ball State as I began my career, I’ve tried in various ways to give back to the department, and to the college and the university.”