Mary Ann Owens
B.S. Northern Illinois University
Office: Temple 1147
Mary Ann Owens has worked at Virginia Commonwealth University as an adjunct and an instructor of print/digital journalism, copy editing and media ethics since 2004. Outside of the classroom, she serves as faculty co-adviser to the journalism honor society Kappa Tau Alpha. She also has held the positions of assistant director and director of the School’s Capital News Service and several summer high school workshops. During her tenure at VCU, Owens has received three outstanding teaching awards from the School and the College of Arts and Sciences.
Born and raised in Chicago and its metropolitan collar, Owens found her calling as a journalist during the turbulent 60s at the age of 17. Since then she has dedicated her professional and academic life to seeking truth, reporting it and being a fierce defender of a free press. After attending Bradley University and Northern Illinois University, Owens began her professional career working for the Thompson Group and Morel Media as a beat reporter, feature writer and editor of a monthly regional magazine.
While her children were young, Owens returned to NIU to teach and chip away at her graduate studies. While there she taught all levels of print journalism, directed the department’s DeKalb News Service and was the architect for NIU’s summer-outreach programs in print and broadcast journalism, and public relations. In 1985, Owens was among a select group that traveled to Germany to study and document the country’s laws designed to prohibit central control of all media outlets.
Prior to moving to the Richmond, Virginia suburbs, Owens spent 12 years living inside the Washington, D.C. Beltway where she worked as a copy editor and served as the international wire editor at USA Today/Gannett News Service. On Sept. 11, 2001, she was stuck in gridlocked traffic next to the Pentagon’s helicopter pad. Her photos have been credited as the only close-up images of the carnage before the building’s roof collapsed.
Owens devotes her free time to her husband, adult children, grandchildren and her dogs.