COLUMBIA, Mo. -- The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) at the Missouri School of Journalism has been awarded a five-year $15 million gift from the Las Vegas-based Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.
“RJI is poised to be one of the leaders in defining what form journalism will take in the 21st Century and beyond,” stated Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Chairman, Fred W. Smith. “Our original grant allowed the University of Missouri to provide a state-of-the-art physical home and establish the programs of the Institute. This latest commitment will assure operation of the programs under the leadership of Dean Mills and Pam Johnson for another five years.”
“This gift from the Reynolds Foundation makes it possible for us to pursue our dream of an institute that supports democracies around the world by developing and testing 21st Century models and technologies of journalism to serve civil society,” said Brady Deaton, chancellor of the University of Missouri. “In its first year of full operation, RJI has shown its potential for restoring the connection between citizens and journalists that is essential to political, economic and personal freedoms.”
Says Pam Johnson, executive director of RJI, “We thank the Foundation and look forward to continuing our mission, which is to grow ideas that can change the future of journalism.”
RJI works with corporate partners including Apple, Adobe and AT&T to create new products. It conducts major industry research, participates with leading industry organizations and incubates promising business start-ups.
RJI also provides seed funding for entrepreneurial ventures aimed at sustaining journalism. CircLabs, a start-up based in Silicon Valley, grew out of the work of the inaugural class of Donald W. Reynolds Fellows. CircLabs has received significant support from The Associated Press and its first product, Circulate, is scheduled for launch in early 2010. A personalized news discovery, social networking and content sales/management service, Circulate provides an efficient and effortless way for citizens to get trustworthy news tailored to their interests.
“We have a unique opportunity to bring together innovation, expertise and entrepreneurial spirit,” says Johnson. “The new Reynolds Foundation gift revalidates our mission. Our incoming class of Donald W. Reynolds Fellows will focus on new media platforms, and we look forward to seeing them bring forth new important developments for journalism. We want to tell the industry our doors are open and we’re ready to do business.”
RJI is housed in 50,000 square feet of new and remodeled space including a modern four-story glass-walled structure built inside a carefully preserved 1892 Victorian gothic building on the University of Missouri campus. State-of-the-art facilities include the Futures Lab with its own high-definition television studio with global uplink capability and multimedia editing facility, and the Technology Testing Center, a skunk works and showcase for testing and demonstrating the use of the latest hardware and software for journalism and advertising.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it has committed more than $92 million to its National Journalism Initiative in the United States.