Emmy-winning journalist named Chair of Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement at UO

Andrew DeVigal is also the first professor of practice in the School of Journalism and Communication

EUGENE, Ore. – (July 10, 2014) – From Google to Twitter to Facebook to the 24-hour news cycle, we are inundated with information. Many times that information highlights differences and creates division. However, the University of Oregon believes that journalistic storytelling can lead to meaningful public engagement and collaboration.

The Center for Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement, based in UO’s award-winning School of Journalism and Communication, will develop new models of journalism that engage citizens and build stronger and more effective communities. To advance its position as a national and international leader in media research and practice, the university has named Emmy-award winning journalist and former New York Times multimedia editor Andrew DeVigal the inaugural Chair of Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement and the first professor of practice in the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC).

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Andrew DeVigal to our distinguished faculty. This groundbreaking journalist brings extraordinary talent and expertise to his new role as the chair of journalism innovation and civic engagement,” said Julianne Newton, interim Edwin L. Artzt dean of the SOJC.

“We selected Andrew because of his dynamic history of developing innovative, award-winning journalistic projects for national and global communities,” Newton continued. “We look forward to the exciting new work he and our faculty, students and staff will develop as they partner with communities to shape the future of journalism through community engagement.”

Funding for the new chair position and the Center for Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement was made possible through a $5 million gift from an anonymous donor, with $2 million given to endow the faculty chair and $3 million donated toward the $25 million dollar endowment goal for the center. DeVigal’s role as chair and professor of practice will begin in September.

Based at the George S. Turnbull Portland Center, the Center for Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement will bridge SOJC’s programs in both Portland and Eugene. In addition to working within academia’s scholarship and teaching framework, the center will also collaborate with more non-traditional resources from across the state, the country and the world. Through the center, DeVigal and SOJC faculty will foster new programs and projects that advance public interest journalism, communication and the student experience.

“I was drawn to this position for the opportunity to collaborate with the world-class faculty at the University of Oregon and help forge the future of journalism in the service of civic engagement,” said DeVigal.

As a professor of practice, DeVigal is one of a small number of academic, business and government leaders who have made major contributions to disciplines important to UO programs and who want to share their experience to enhance student success and university achievement.

“Journalism education plays a pivotal role in how journalism must evolve,” said DeVigal, “where learning from our successes and failures is expected and honored.”

DeVigal most recently served as the creative director of content strategy at Second Story, a media company that is focused on innovative storytelling and interactive experiences.

Prior to working at Second Story, DeVigal served as the multimedia editor at The New York Times, where he guided the newspaper’s print-driven format into the multimedia era. He integrated new approaches to interactive storytelling with The New York Times’ long tradition of journalistic excellence to help shape the industry with techniques still in use today. 

Among the projects his department led at The New York Times was “One in 8 Million,” a collection of 54 audio stories from the interesting characters who inhabit New York’s five boroughs. The project won The New York Times its first Emmy Award in 2010, earning the newspaper’s website the award for new approaches to news and documentary programming: documentaries. His department also won The New York Times’s second Emmy for “A Year at War.” 

DeVigal’s previous academic experience includes a 2011-12 Punch Sulzberger Executive Leadership Fellowship at Columbia University, which uses critical challenges to promote change and growth in newsroom leaders. From 1996 to 2004 he was a fellow with the Poynter Institute, where he also was a research associate and co-program director for the 2000 Stanford-Poynter Eye­Track Research Project studying online news site consumers. DeVigal was an associate professor in the San Francisco State University Department of Journalism from 2002-06. 

“My career has revolved around stories, bridge building, interactivity and engagement,” said DeVigal. “With my experience in the news and media industries, as well as academia, I have worked to effectively conceive, innovate and direct initiatives and projects. 

“In the last few years, the media industry has mostly been focused around being digital or mobile first. The center needs to focus on being community first,” DeVigal continued. “It can be the global hub that meets the need to evolve and embrace the space between traditional news media and unfiltered social media through practices and research.” 

About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of “Very High Research Activity” in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO is also one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities. 

About the School of Journalism and Communication

The UO School of Journalism and Communication, which will celebrate its centennial in 2016, is the only comprehensive school of journalism and communication in the Pacific Northwest. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Melissa Foley, UO Public Affairs Communications, 541-346-5361, mfoley@uoregon.edu

Note: The University of Oregon is equipped with an on-campus television studio with a point-of-origin Vyvx connection, which provides broadcast-quality video to networks worldwide via fiber optic network. In addition, there is video access to satellite uplink, and audio access to an ISDN codec for broadcast-quality radio interviews.