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  • David Weintraub

In memoriam: David Weintraub

Former School of Journalism and Mass Communications faculty member David Weintraub died Aug. 25, 2021.

Weintraub earned his bachelor's in English and comparative literature from Columbia University and then commenced a 30-year career as a photographer, writer and editor. 

He was the author of eight travel guidebooks about hiking and kayaking in the San Francisco Bay Area and Cape Cod. His articles about travel, adventure sports and photography have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines. In addition to his writing and editing, David had a storied career as a professional photographer, with work published in the American Bar Association Journal, Audubon, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Information Week, Sierra and Smithsonian magazines.

He enrolled in the master's program at the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications in 2006.  His thesis, "Newspaper coverage of global climate change: risk, frames, and sources," was a content analysis of 432 newspaper articles from 91 different English-language newspapers and contained 162 pages with data tables. It helped him secure the Bryce W. Rucker Excellence in Student Research Award for 2007.

After receiving his degree, Weintraub was hired as a full-time instructor in the J-school. A member of the visual communications sequence, he taught courses in photovisual communications, video for mass communications, design of online content, writing for mass communications and magazine article writing. He was named senior instructor in 2015 and retired in 2019.

Then-sequence director Van Kornegay says of David:

"David came to the school after a successful career as a commercial photographer, writer and editor. He landed at the SJMC at a pivotal moment when the visual communications program was getting underway. He was a consummate team player, always willing to roll up his sleeves and pitch in.

He created a handful of popular courses, such as freelancing for creative professionals, modernism and visual communication and design of online content. He remained connected to the professional world and used his connections to bring a number of high-profile speakers from fields such as photojournalism and commercial photography to conduct seminars and workshops that were very popular with students. The visual communications program’s success owes a great deal to David’s contributions.

Beyond that, he was a collegial colleague. He made tea for office mates on a regular basis and always helped organize our annual senior portfolio party. I don’t think he ever missed one."

Long interested in exposing students to business opportunities, in 2016 he was awarded a summer-stipend grant from the Center for Teaching Excellence to add an integrative-learning component to the Freelancing for Creative Professionals course he had taught for five years. The course provides students with an enriched integrative-learning experience and examines the theory and practice of entrepreneurship as they apply to creative professionals.  Read more about the experience of students in the course »

"Entrepreneurship goes beyond freelancing,” Weintraub said. “I’m teaching students, 'How do you come up with the ideas and solutions to challenges that your clients may have and how do you help them solve those challenges? How do you create a business around that?'"

Outside the classroom, he was actively involved in service to students, having mentored a number of honors students with senior projects. In 2014, he mentored Monica Munoz, a senior public relations student and Magellan Scholar, in examining the effects of catastrophic events, such as fires and floods, on U.S. national parks and their possible link to climate change.

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