McKean will oversee Media of the Future initiatives

Mike McKeanCOLUMBIA, Mo. — The University of Missouri is known for its highly collaborative, interdisciplinary culture. Since 2010, four key areas of strength have been collectively known as the Mizzou Advantage: Media of the Future; One Health, One Medicine; Sustainable Energy; and Food for the Future. Nearly 100 research projects involving approximately 400 faculty members and hundreds of students across campus have been spearheaded by a facilitator in each of the four areas in addition to a facilitator that oversees an educational component.

Mike McKean, associate professor of journalism and director of the Reynolds Journalism Institute Futures Lab, has been appointed as facilitator for the Media of the Future area. He succeeds Charles Davis who was recently named Dean of the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia. Michael Gold, research professor of agroforestry and associate director in the Center for Agroforestry at MU, has been appointed education facilitator for Mizzou Advantage.

Media of the Future

As the facilitator for Media of the Future, McKean will be responsible for developing interdisciplinary projects that involve journalism and bringing together faculty from other disciplines, on and off campus.

“Mike McKean comes to this position with an immense amount of relevant experience in the world of media,” said University of Missouri Provost Brian L. Foster. “Our first facilitator, Charles Davis, made great progress and laid a good foundation, which Mike will be able to use and build upon as we move forward.”

"Mike is the perfect choice for this assignment,” added Randy Picht, executive director of the RJI. “He has a deep understanding of the technologies and trends that are changing the media and a great appreciation for the important principles of journalism."

One example of a Media of the Future initiative involved students from the School of Journalism, College of Engineering and School of Medicine working in teams to explore how motion-capture technology used in video games can be used to help rehabilitate patients.

Another project bringing national attention to Mizzou has been a partnership with Harvest Public Media. HPM is a consortium of public media outlets in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado and Illinois that provides coverage of food, agriculture and energy issues. Mizzou Advantage provided funding and helped Harvest launch. The RJI Futures Lab has also provided multimedia training for HPM journalists

The RJI facilities allow students to expand mobile application development on campus. They recently created a new app that helps consumers locate, store and prepare fresh local produce as well as an app that helps university students find a safe path across campus.

“Jobs in today’s world require students to have expertise in more than just their area of study,” McKean said. “For example, journalism students need to know how to use data sets for applications and online media, while information technology (IT) students need to learn how to use media to promote their work. So, for example, by bringing journalism and IT students together, they can learn important skills from one another that they may not have had the opportunity to in the classroom. This can lead to better job opportunities.”

Futures Lab Print and Graphics Editor Reuben Stern has been promoted to deputy director of RJI’s Futures Lab in conjunction with McKean’s new Mizzou Advantage duties.


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