Carla Harris brought journalism education to a generation of Oregon students

Carla Harris

Carla Harris

By Rob Melton
Carla Harris began her journalism teaching career at McNary H.S. in Umatilla, Oregon where her husband — a United Methodist minister — was stationed. When the Harris family moved to Corvallis, Ore., she became a professor in the Department of Journalism at Oregon State University. She became the first Director of Northwest Scholastic Press (NWSP) in 1984, when Oregon journalism teachers moved the state’s high school press conference to OSU after the UO School of Journalism discontinued the Oregon Scholastic Press Fall Press Conference.

Under Harris’s leadership, the organization was originally housed in the Journalism Department at Oregon State University. She brought joy and a can-do spirit to every undertaking and for decades was a leader and positive, energetic force for the cause of scholastic journalism in Oregon. Like scholastic press association directors before her, she was the go-to person for teachers and advisers on all things related to scholastic journalism.

After the university closed the Journalism Department at OSU in 1988 and her husband was assigned to a new church, NWSP moved to Hillsboro with Director Harris. During that time she also became the Editor of the United Methodist Magazine of the Oregon-Idaho Conference, a position she held for many years.

She always thought of the needs of others, taking left-over food or sack lunches each day to shelters for the homeless during summer workshops and providing support and tender, loving care to advisers and students across the state. Her good deeds speak volumes about her life work and her actions always match her words. It was upon these principles that people could depend upon Carla, and Carla could depend upon them. Nothing finer could be said about her life and her friends up to this point.

The High School Press Day continued at Oregon State University. NWSP was incorporated as a nonprofit and public charity in 1989 by Oregon State University’s Journalism Department and Department of Student Media.

After her retirement, NWSP moved to the Department of Student Media.

She served for many years on the JEA Certification Commission, and most recently served as a JEA Mentor.

She now lives in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her husband Dale, where she is editor of the a local neighborhood newsletter.