Pyle Leads News and Media Relations as News Director

Amy Pyle

Amy Pyle, a seasoned and savvy journalist with more than 20 years experience, is now leading UCSF’s news and media relations team.

Pyle reports to Barbara J. French, vice chancellor of Strategic Communications and University Relations, who leads comprehensive, integrated campus and medical center strategic communications, advocacy, and governmental and community relations.

“Amy’s role is to communicate UCSF’s excellence in patient care, discovery and education through the media,” French said. “Her first-hand knowledge of the challenges and opportunities in today’s ever-changing media environment will serve UCSF well.”

Pyle came to UCSF this fall after spending the past decade as investigations editor at The Sacramento Bee, based in the state’s capital. She most recently served as assistant managing editor at the Bee, leading a staff of six reporters and researchers to produce investigative and enterprise stories for print and online publication. That coverage ranged from deep investigations of government corruption to several series of stories about medicine and health care policy, and three blogs. 

UCSF attracted Pyle because she was motivated by its advancing health worldwide™ mission, and the many opportunities the University has to contribute to national news coverage of hot topics ranging from stem cell science to health care reform and biotechnology.

Pyle says her extensive experience in “telling a story that is both intriguing and informative” and her ability to “pull a team together, crystallize a message and move forward efficiently without losing momentum on other projects” has prepared her well for her current role as news director.

Describing herself as a listener, learner, leader and collaborator, Pyle has immersed herself in UCSF, already proving to be a valuable communications and media relations strategist.

“During a time of diminishing editorial staff and space at mainstream media organizations, it has become more important than ever for institutions like UCSF to aggressively pitch our best stories to key reporters, expand our networks of nontraditional journalists, and find ways to tell our own story on the web,” Pyle said.

Pyle brings to UCSF a long-standing connection with education. She not only covered education as a reporter, but worked as a college admissions officer for two years at her alma mater, Mills College in Oakland. And academia is part of her family history – her father is professor emeritus at UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business, and her mother is a retired college librarian.

Prior to working for The Sacramento Bee, Pyle served as a Capitol correspondent in Sacramento for The Los Angeles Times, education writer for the Times in Los Angeles and assistant city editor for the Times’ San Fernando Valley Edition, where she coordinated breaking daily coverage of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. She shared in two staff Pulitzers during her decade there, including one for the Northridge quake coverage. She began her career in journalism at The Fresno Bee, where she reported on social services and poverty, including farm labor, immigration and the rapid migration of Southeast Asian refugees to the southern San Joaquin Valley.

Pyle succeeds Corinna Kaarlela, a longtime UCSF communications professional who retired in August after serving 31 years in the office previously called Public Affairs.

After earning a Bachelor’s degree in French from Mills College, Pyle continued to Northwestern University, where she earned a Master’s degree in journalism from Medill School of Journalism. She is conversationally fluent in Spanish and proficient in French.

A world traveler, Pyle enjoys hiking, cooking and reading. She and her husband, freelance photojournalist Robert Durell, have two nearly grown boys.

Photo by Susan Merrell

Related Link:

French Promoted to Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications and University Relations
UCSF Today, May 27, 2010