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Lavine Named Dean of Medill School of Journalism

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October 7, 2005 | by Alan K. Cubbage

EVANSTON, Ill. --- John Lavine will be the new dean of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Northwestern University President Henry S. Bienen and Provost Lawrence B. Dumas announced the appointment, which will take effect on January 9, 2006. Lavine succeeds current Dean Loren Ghiglione.

“As founding director of Northwestern’s Media Management Center, John Lavine brings extraordinary strengths to this position and an exciting vision for what Medill should be in the 21st century,” Dumas said. “We will support that vision with a major new investment in the School.”

Bienen added, “In a time when the role of the media is changing and being challenged — and with John Lavine’s leadership and the University’s investment — we are confident that the School will play a significant role in shaping the future of journalism and integrated marketing communications.”

Lavine said, “There are seismic challenges in journalism that put at risk having an informed society. Moving quality journalism to a new, higher level is an important first step of our response, but by itself that will not meet these challenges. We need to develop a more profound understanding of audiences and consumers, of what they value and of how to present journalism and the new digital media to them. We also need to have a far deeper understanding of media brands and marketing communications and how to use them to engage media audiences.

“Medill has unique assets to accomplish this. Its faculties of journalism and of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) are already among the best in the country, but in the past they have operated separately. IMC measures and manages consumer experiences with brands. Now, building on the strategic goals developed by the combined faculties, we will urgently work together to remake the school’s entire undergraduate and graduate curricula to teach our students how to meet these challenges and prepare for the next ones.

Lavine concluded, “Our students already have experience outside of the school, but in this process we will ensure that our graduates have even more exposure to every media platform in a variety of challenging, professional settings. When this sweeping change is done, we will create a guarantee for employers: Medill graduates will know more about how to engage and reach media audiences with 21st-century, quality journalism, media and integrated marketing communications than anyone else they can find.”

Dumas commented, “President Bienen and I consulted with the leadership of Medill’s Board of Advisors and Medill’s faculty strategic planning committee. Both groups strongly recommended that John Lavine be appointed the new dean.”

An expert on media strategy and management, Lavine holds appointments as a professor of media management and strategy in both Medill and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. Under his leadership, the Media Management Center is recognized internationally for its cutting-edge media research and senior executive education.

From 1984 to 1989 Lavine was the Cowles Professor of Media Management and Economics at the University of Minnesota. Before that he had an active career in the media. For more than 25 years he was publisher/editor of four daily and four weekly newspapers in Wisconsin. He was an executive of an international film company in London and the U.S. that also did work for television. He was president and publisher of an international medical journal publishing company.

Lavine received his B.A. from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and has an honorary LL.D. from Emerson College in Boston, MA.    

Dumas added, "When he became aware that John would be willing to take office in January, Loren Ghiglione graciously offered to step down from the deanship earlier than anticipated in order that John could begin implementing these ambitious plans for Medill.”

Ghiglione will continue to teach during the remainder of the academic year and then take a leave of absence during the 2006-07 academic year. He then will return to Medill as the first holder of the Richard Schwarzlose Professorship of Media Ethics.

Medill has approximately 675 undergraduate students. It also has approximately 180 master’s degree students in journalism and approximately 140 in Integrated Marketing Communications, including 60 part-time students. The School consistently ranks among the top schools in these fields, and faculty members are sought out by peers and media company leaders for their research and advice.

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