Dr. Jim Richstad.

Pacific Island Specialist, Cox Center Collaborator, Passes Away

Dr. Jim Richstad, a specialist on the media in the Pacific and a long-time collaborator with the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the University of Georgia, died suddenly late last year in Everett, Wash.

Richstad worked with the Cox Center across more than 20 years on Pacific Island projects, including workshops in Micronesia, Fiji, Papua new Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.

"Jim was a wonderful colleague who knew so very much about the Pacific Islands," Cox Center Director Dr. Lee B. Becker said. "I was always impressed with his ability to translate the topics of our workshops to the needs and interests of the professionals on the site."

Dr. Becker said he had last been in contact with Dr. Richstad in September of 2011, when they exchanged notes about an East-West Center program. The two met at the Honolulu center back in the early 1980s.

"I was just shocked when I learned of Jim's passing at the annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in Washington, D.C.," Dr. Becker said. Dr. Richstad and others from the field of journalism and mass communication education who died in the last academic year were honored at that meeting.

In a tribute to Dr. Richstad, former student and long-time collaborator Floyd Takeuchi called Dr. Richstad "a great friend" of Pacific journalism. "Jim loved the Pacific, just as he loved his family," Takeuchi said.

Dr. Richstad, 80, was a Korean War veteran who earned his doctorate from the University of Minnesota. He served on the faculties at the University of Oklahoma and at Nanyang Technical University in Singapore.

Dr. Richstad was one of the founders of the Pacific Island News Association, with which the Cox Center partnered frequently in its Pacific Island projects.

Dr. Richstad is survived by his wife, Marlene, three children, six grandchildren, 28 great grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild.