NEW YORK (AP) _ Jay Harris, a former newspaper publisher who directs The Center for the Study of Journalism and Democracy at the University of Southern California, has been appointed co-chair of the Pulitzer Prize board along with Richard Oppel, editor of The Austin American-Statesman.

Harris and Oppel have served on the Pulitzer board since 2000. As the new co-chairs, they replace Joann Byrd, former editorial page editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and Mike Pride, editor of the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire, Columbia University said Monday.

Harris and Oppel have long and distinguished careers in journalism. Harris' resume includes jobs as a reporter, editor, educator and executive, including serving as publisher of the San Jose Mercury News.

Oppel, who's retiring from the American-Statesman on June 1, also has led newsrooms for the Tallahassee Democrat, The Charlotte Observer and The Associated Press. While at the Observer, the paper won multiple Pulitzer Prizes.

The Pulitzers are given by Columbia University on the recommendation of the 19-member board.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.