Donald Shaw
1936 - 2021
American Cremation
1204 Person St
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Donald Shaw
October 27, 1936 - October 19, 2021
Chapel Hill, North Carolina - Donald L. Shaw, a world-renowned researcher who taught journalism for 50 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Media and Journalism, died Tuesday, Oct. 19, following weeks of illness.
Shaw, 84, was a Kenan Professor emeritus at UNC-CH and was a 2012 inductee into the N.C. Media and Journalism Hall of Fame.
In 1972, Shaw and Maxwell McCombs published "The Agenda-Setting Function of Mass Media," research that detailed how newspapers, magazines and TV newscasts had influenced what people thought were the important issues of the 1968 elections.
That paper and their subsequent research into the 1972 and 1976 elections created the "agenda-setting" area of journalism research and changed how we view mass media.
Their book, "The Emergence of American Political Issues: The Agenda-Setting Function of the Press" is considered by journalism scholars as one of the most important books of the 20th century.
Shaw took pride in having many diverse interests. He often took time to explore new ideas and to mentor young scholars. He authored or coauthored 13 books; held visiting teaching positions at Columbia, Syracuse, American, Texas and other universities; and lectured at more than 20 universities and on five continents.
Shaw was the son of Luther Shaw, a professor and department head at N.C. State University and later a researcher for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Lowell Shaw. He earned his associate's degree at Mars Hill College in 1957 and his bachelor's and master's degrees from UNC-CH, respectively, in 1959 and 1960. After work as a newspaper reporter in Burlington and Asheville, he earned his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin in 1966 and began teaching at UNC-CH the same year.
Shaw joined the U.S. Army Reserve in 1960 as a private and retired in 1992 as a colonel, having served many assignments on active duty. He worked in the Pentagon during Operation Desert Storm. After retirement, he served as the North Carolina director of the Selective Service System, a period when he successfully worked with state legislators to increase registration.
He volunteered with his church, Center United Methodist Church in Snow Camp, and served occasionally as a lay minister.
He was married for 54 years to Ilse Feichter Shaw, who preceded him in death in March 2015. He is survived by his children, Matthew Shaw of Wilson, Dona Shaw-Souders, Lauren Mann and husband Ronnie, all of Chapel Hill; and David Shaw of Asheville; eight grandchildren; six great grandchildren; and many nephews, nieces and other relatives.
Memorial service will be Saturday, Nov.13, at Center United Methodist Church, 9204 Center Church Road, Snow Camp, N.C. 27349. A visitation will be held at 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. in the church's fellowship hall, followed by the service at 1 p.m.
The family requests any memorials be made to the Don Shaw Fund, UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media.

Published by The News & Observer on Oct. 24, 2021.
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11:45a.m. - 12:45p.m.
Center United Methodist Church
9204 Center Church Road, Snow Camp, NC
Center United Methodist Church
9204 Center Church Road, Snow Camp, NC
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6 Entries
Sending your family love and light. We are so sorry for your loss.
Kippy and Tom Perkins
November 12, 2021
Tom and Kippy Perkins
November 12, 2021
Cecily and Kevin Broaddrick
November 8, 2021
In loving memory of Dr. Shaw
Ying Du, Cong Li, Jusheng Yu
November 2, 2021
Ying Du, Cong Li, Jusheng Yu
November 2, 2021
Dr. Shaw's passion for dialogue and exchange of ideas, positive energy, humor, love of his family, and kindness made a difference in many of our lives.
Micheen Panosh
October 23, 2021
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