Get to know Professor Rick Wiley

July 25, 2023

Rick Wiley is the School of Journalism's new professor of practice.

The School of Journalisms new Professor Rick Wiley poses in front of a desert landscape for a photograph.

Rick Wiley

Join the University of Arizona School of Journalism in welcoming our new Professor of Practice Rick Wiley.

Wiley started his career as a staff photographer at the Tucson Citizen in 1988, after an internship at the Mesa Tribune and working as an editorial freelance photographer in the Phoenix area. While working at the Tucson Citizen, he covered University of Arizona sports extensively, including the 1994 NCAA Final Four, and covered news along the U.S.-Mexico border. In 1995, he was hired as the photo and graphics editor at the East Valley Tribune, leading photographers and graphic artists covering the rapidly expanding suburbs east of Phoenix, events in Phoenix and around the state. Coverage highlights included: a terrorist attack on an Amtrak train, the Phoenix Suns and NBA Playoffs, ASU Sun Devils and the Rose Bowl, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the 2001 World Series, the Fiesta Bowl National Championship, Arizona's first Super Bowl, the Rodeo-Chediski Fire, and news, features, fashion, and high school sports throughout the Phoenix area.

In 2004, Wiley became director of photography at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He helped guide three projects on U.S.-Mexico border issues, extensive coverage of University of Arizona sports, the Wallow Fire, and several other large wildfires in Southern Arizona, as well as the 2011 mass shooting at a local Safeway. He also edited photos and photographed the Bighorn Fire in 2020, and sports and breaking news throughout the Tucson area.

Wiley's photo awards include first place for news photography from the Arizona Newspapers Association in 2022, first place in sports photography from the Arizona Press Club in 2004, as well as awards from the National Press Photographers Association, Society for News Design and additional awards from the state ANA and Press Club.

Under his direction, Wiley's photo staffs have won state and national awards, including several awards for Arizona Photographer of the Year and NPPA Regional Photographer of the Year.

Wiley has a bachelor’s in journalism from Arizona State University.


Learn more about Wiley in the Q-and-A section below:


Q: What experiences in your past will inform the way you teach our young journalists?

A: I think covering all the events that I've covered in the past-which really kind of surprised me. I thought by staying in Arizona, I would sort of limit myself, but I haven't. I have covered the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Final Four, the NBA playoffs and a couple of terrorist attacks and you know, quite a few big news events here. The cool thing is that I can bring that knowledge to the students and explain how newsroom editors, reporters and photographers work through these problems and coverage of these events.


Q: With the recent layoffs that happened at the Arizona Daily Star, how do you plan on using that experience as a lesson for your students if they ask about it?

A: It's just a reality that we face now in journalism, and I hope that things will improve. I hope that the industry will change and become more sustainable. I don't know where it's going yet, but I think it's important to be honest about what's happening. For anybody that steps into journalism nowadays, you need to be able to cope with that reality and if it's something that is uncomfortable for you then maybe journalism is not the right thing. You want to be honest about that upfront, so nobody is surprised by going into a new career and then suddenly being thrown out of a career because of changing economics.


Q: Are there any other areas of teaching that you might be interested in other than photography?

A: I think multimedia. I've had some experience in melding video, words, photos, and graphics data together in online presentation. I think that's a valuable tool and I think readers expect that now. I think visuals like graphics and photographs have a big role in communicating news and information. The world has been conditioned to expect a lot of visual so it's important to keep pace with that.


Q: What would you like the J School community to know about you ahead of time?

A: I'm not a rookie teacher. I did teach a little bit at ASU. I taught photojournalism up there while I was working at the East Valley Tribune as a photo editor. But I have a lot to learn, and it's my first full time job as a teacher. I hope to bring in some more conversational style teaching, that's what I like. I think that's a good way to learn more about the industry. If we have discussions about real world situations, that can better prepare them for something that might come up when they're an intern or when they're a full-time employee for a news organization.


Q: How are you feeling stepping into this new role?

A: I like the energy on the college campus, and I think that's going to propel me forward. I like new ideas; I like people pushing me and asking questions and forcing me to learn some new things. I hope it benefits me as a person as much as it benefits the students.