Donald W. Reynolds Journalism InstituteColumbia, Mo. — The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism will have a record number of fellowships this fall thanks to its new non-residential option and a greater number of applicants.

The nine new fellows, announced today, will be working across a broad spectrum of challenges and opportunities facing journalism, from infographics to video storytelling to news credibility.

RJI, which will celebrate its 5th anniversary in September, expanded its fellowship options to attract innovators and future-leaning individuals who weren’t in a position to interrupt their careers or move to Missouri.

"We wanted to broaden the kinds of collaborative projects and initiatives that RJI focuses on and we also want to make it easier for folks with good ideas to work with us,” said Randy Picht, who is beginning his second year as executive director of RJI. “We think these non-residential fellows will help us get even further down the road toward our goal of strengthening democracy through better journalism."

Although the non-residential fellows will be working off campus, they will come to campus periodically to meet with RJI staff and researchers. Some of their projects are new and some have working projects that RJI can help accelerate.

The class also includes two residential fellows, as well as three Missouri School of Journalism faculty fellows, who will be developing their concepts at the University.

This fall’s class, which is the largest in RJI’s fellowship history, will bring the overall total number of Reynolds Fellows to 38. The group was selected from more than 150 applicants from across the country and overseas.

"The motto for RJI's incoming class of fellows is: the more the merrier," said Picht. "We're delighted that the new non-residential option attracted so much interest and so many great applicants. We can't wait to get started."

Meet the non-residential fellows

Misha LeybovichMisha Leybovich, of San Francisco, Calif. — Leybovich is working in one of the hottest areas in the news industry video news. He wants to further develop Meograph, a tool he's created that easily allows newsrooms to piece together various video assets and display them using a timeline to provide context and background as news stories develop.

Kim GarretsonKim Garretson, of Edina, Minn. — Garretson is an entrepreneur who has worked with scores of startups throughout his career. Since entrepreneurship and startups are playing bigger and bigger roles in both journalism and the sources of revenue for media companies, Garretson will create a unique program designed to help young companies and entrepreneurs thrive in the media industries and help prepare their ideas for next stage funding and development.

Daniel SchultzDaniel Schultz, of Providence, R. I. — While at the MIT Media Lab, Schultz created a real-time fact-checker he calls Truth Goggles. Dan plans to broaden the scope of this potentially valuable tool for citizens and continue to improve the speed of the results it returns.

Eric NewtonEric Newton, of Miami, Fla. — Newton, senior adviser to the president at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is building an e-book about digital-age journalism that, with a click, will turn itself into a classroom-ready edition. A team of RJI-selected researchers and educators will work with Newton to produce lesson plans, classroom activities and research assignments useful to high school, community college and college teachers interested in journalism’s digital transformation. Click here to learn more about the team, which includes Mark Goodman, Cathy Collins, Ruben Valadez, Judd Slivka, Mimi Perreault, Greg Perreault and Adam Maksl.

Residential fellows

The residential fellows will spend the academic year on the Missouri campus and have access to numerous intellectual, marketing, research and technological resources at the RJI and the University.

Chris ShipleyChris Shipley, of Redwood City, Calif. — Shipley is a Silicon Valley veteran who expects to develop simple, efficient ways to help citizens determine the credibility of news sources on the Web. She will also help the RJI establish a network and partnership opportunities with technology and digital media companies in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Trina ChiassonTrina Chiasson, of Chicago, Ill. — Chiasson has a young company (Infoactive) that's devoted to simplifying the process of creating interactive data visualizations, and automatically optimizing those graphics for different devices. She wants to be able to democratize the workflow of creating interactive, data-driven stories, and make it available to media companies of all sizes.

MU staff/faculty fellows

Stacey WoelfelStacey Woelfel, of Columbia, Mo. — Woelfel, news director at NBC affiliate KOMU-TV at the University of Missouri, will explore the phenomenon of second-screen viewing — citizens using their iPad or iPhone while watching TV news — and how the local TV news station can plug into it to provide more and better content for stories and events.

Yong VolzYong Volz, of Columbia, Mo. — Volz, a professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, will spend her fellowship interviewing pioneering women in the field of journalism to gather valuable insights. She'll work with the Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) organization to identify the women journalists to include in the project.

Scott SwaffordScott Swafford, of Columbia, Mo. — Swafford is a professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and an editor at the Columbia Missourian newspaper. He has noticed a paucity of content about local elections, which is a subject that news organizations should be heavily involved with. His fellowship will take a deep dive into the topic and find ways to help news organizations reconnect citizens with their local governments.

Interested in pursuing or learning more about RJI’s fellowships? Click here for more information.

Throughout the summer RJI will be featuring a profile of each Reynolds Fellow and their project. To receive the weekly profiles, sign up here.


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