Cortland Anderson, 50, the director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University in Athens, and a former official of The Washington Post Co. and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, died of cancer Dec. 24 at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Mr. Anderson had headed the journalism program at Ohio University since 1981 and he was credited by Paul Nelson, dean of the College of Communication, with bringing it into national prominence.

In 1977, Mr. Anderson moved to the Washington area as executive vice president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In 1979, he joined The Washington Post Co. as vice president for corporate affairs. The Washington Post Co. owns The Washington Post newspaper, Newsweek magazine, Post-Newsweek Television Stations, and other properties. He remained with the company until going to Ohio University.

Mr. Anderson was born in Laurelton, N.Y. He graduated from Florida Southern College with a degree in English.

In 1959, he went to work for the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times as city editor and rose to be managing editor. In 1966, he moved to Stonybrook, N.Y., to help found the Suffolk Sun, a Long Island daily of which he was editor and vice president. In 1969, he was named assistant vice president for public relations of the New York Telephone Co. He continued that work until he joined the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Mr. Anderson was a member of the boards of WETA-TV, the public television station in Washington, the Register and Tribune Syndicate and the Center for Books of the Library of Congress. He also was a member of the National Press Club.

Survivors include his wife Fidella, of Athens; three daughters, Laura Mercer of Charlotte, N.C., Sharon Bobbit of Charlottesville, and Mary Anderson of Athens; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Cortland E. Anderson Sr. of Lake Worth, Fla.; one sister, Janet Anthony of Atlanta, and one granddaughter.