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Media and Journalism Department mourns former faculty member

Updated as of Jan. 24, 2024.

Charles “Chuck”  Baldwin stepped on USD’s campus in 2007 as the first full-time Journalist in Residence within the Al Neuharth Media and Journalism Department. 

Baldwin died this past December 17, at the age of 70. He is survived by his son Joshua “Josh” Baldwin, as well as the students and colleagues who remember him fondly. 

“To his colleagues, students, mentees, and everyone at USD teaching journalism was one of the great loves of his life. He cared deeply for you all,” said Josh Baldwin.

Before teaching at USD and becoming the advisor to The Volante, Baldwin spent 35 years as an award-winning career journalist, including years as a reporter for the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, SD. 

Current Media & Journalism Department Chair Michelle VanMaanen, remembers her colleague as a “reporter’s reporter.” She commended Baldwin for his passion in defense of freedom of speech, specifically in the case of college campus student media.

“He’s had a huge impact,” said VanMaanen. “We have people all over the nation who were taught by Chuck Baldwin, and I think that’s a great thing because if they took away even a few ounces of the passion, and the energy and the ethical practices that he taught, then that’s a really good thing for the public.”

The impact of the 11 years Baldwin spent as a teacher and advisor within the department has not gone uncredited by USD alumnus. For this piece, this reporter was able to listen and quote students that recall everything from Baldwin’s authenticity in the classroom to his signature gray pony-tail.

“I certainly wouldn’t have a career in journalism without him, I know that,” said Joe Sneve, Co-Founder of The Dakota Scout.

“A true credit to his profession, Chuck was an asset to our program and a role model for us all. He taught me the importance of integrity in journalism, and how to spot a buried lede from a mile away,” said Kelly Kronaizl, Office Manager at the Vermillion Plain Talk.

For some students Chuck Baldwin was a staple throughout the entirety of their time at USD as well as during their post-graduation career.

“He was one of the first people I met when I toured USD as a prospective student,” said Jackie Hendry, Host of SDPB’s South Dakota Focus. “…When things were especially difficult in 2020, years after I’d moved to Sioux Falls, and I wrote on Facebook about second-guessing my career, he sent me a series of emails with encouragement and jokes and his reflections on journalism. He told me he’d pray for me, and [that he] supported me no matter what I chose. I’ve looked back on those emails countless times over the years.”

The impact of Baldwin’s lessons were not exclusive to his USD students. For twelve years he was involved with the Crazy Horse Journalism Workshop. The program held at Crazy Horse Memorial was designed under the purpose of fostering the interest of Indigenous Youth in media careers. 

“He had such a tremendous heart and so much compassion especially for those students that might be othered by the public or society in general,” said Professor Janet Davison. 

Baldwin’s son has announced a celebration of life scheduled for this spring. 

“One of the wonderful things that came out of the Anita Whitney case, I think in the early 1920s, was the message that the way you react to unpopular ideas is not silence but more ideas. More speech not less speech,” said Charles Baldwin on the importance of uncensored student media in a 2018 interview with SDPB.