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Aug. 22, 2013 Volume 35, No. 1

Mizzou Advantage names new Media of the Future facilitator

Mike McKean brings 27 years’ experience to his role as the new facilitator of Mizzou Advantage’s Media of the Future initiative. “It’s a natural position for me to take,” said McKean, associate professor of journalism and director of the Reynolds Journalism Institute Futures Lab. 

“It will be an easy transition for him,” said Randy Picht, executive director of RJI. “As the ringmaster of the Futures Lab, he always kept the plates spinning.” 

Many of those plates will continue to spin, considering the aligned missions of the School of Journalism, RJI and Media of the Future. The school creates journalists, RJI creates media and Mizzou Advantage creates opportunities for expanding audiences and applications. Together, the combined mission is to create journalists that utilize effective media to best serve an audience. 

“Mike intuitively understands the nature of a changing media landscape: innovation adoption, experimentation, reflection and adaptation,” said Lynda Kraxberger, associate dean at the School of Journalism. “I’m looking forward to his application of this method on campus and hope it will mean more opportunities for journalism students to collaborate with other students and faculty across campus.”

McKean will be responsible for developing interdisciplinary projects that involve journalism and bring together faculty from other disciplines on and off campus. For example, students from the School of Journalism, College of Engineering and School of Medicine are working in teams to explore how motion capture technology used in video games can be used to help rehabilitate patients. Students in the Reynolds Journalism Institute lab also are expanding mobile application development on campus. A recent example is a new app that helps consumers locate, store and prepare fresh local produce.

“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. 

“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,” McKean continues. “This can lead to better job opportunities.” 

— Lauren Steele