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Michael Smith Named Executive Director of Northwestern University's Media Management Center

December 12, 2005

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Michael P. Smith has been named executive director of the Media Management Center at Northwestern University, announced Northwestern Provost Lawrence B. Dumas today (Dec. 12). 

Smith will replace John Lavine, who was appointed dean of the Medill School of Journalism last week. Both will assume their new positions on Jan. 9, 2006.

Smith and Lavine have worked together since 1991, when Smith joined the Center after a career in journalism. The Media Management Center is an executive education and research center affiliated with the Medill School of Journalism and the Kellogg School of Management. It offers on-campus and company-specific executive education programs and conducts research on many of the media’s toughest management issues. Smith has led the center’s executive programs and overseen much of its research and general operations.

“Michael Smith’s appointment to direct the Media Management Center will enable the center to continue to do the valuable research and executive education that have been its hallmarks under John Lavine,” Dumas said.

“No one is better qualified to take the helm of the Media Management Center than Mike Smith,” Lavine added. “Since we began working together 15 years ago, he has been a major contributing force to the center’s research and executive education programs. He has profound knowledge about how to achieve media quality, and is recognized here and abroad as an expert on how to understand and engage younger media audiences. I am excited to work with him in our new roles.”

Smith holds joint appointments in Medill and at the Kellogg School of Management, where he teaches MBA students in the Media Management major.

Smith said, “This year especially, we have been telling the media that it is time to innovate. The media are caught in the middle of a generational tidal wave and the impact of digital technology. If that were not enough, the economy and fragmentation of the consumer market are shaking the business models of newspaper, broadcast and magazine companies.

“The media are on the precipice of dynamic change,” Smith concluded. “We will work with them and with our colleagues at Medill and Kellogg to help the media thrive in this challenging transition.”

Smith has led research and projects on Generation X and Generation Y for the center that are used internationally by numerous media companies. He also helped create the Readership Institute, the national newspaper research center, which is a division of the Media Management Center. In the mid-1990s, he founded the Editorial Leadership Initiative, a national research project aimed at helping editors become more strategic managers while preserving the values of journalism.

He is the senior researcher on two current initiatives -- the national Women in Media project and conferences and the Color of Leadership national survey of women and minorities in leadership positions in the media. He continues to conduct seminars on the changing role of the publisher and the role of the newspaper in the community.

Smith has written extensively about his research. His book “Values, Culture, Content” has been translated into several languages. He has written several other books including, “The Changing Reader” and “The Newsroom Brain.” He is a contributing editor to the Spanish-language journal “Hora de Cierre” (“Deadline”).

Smith joined Northwestern after spending more than 20 years as a journalist and editor. He was a beat reporter, copy editor and magazine editor at the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel; managing editor of the Boca Raton News; and sports editor, executive news editor and features editor for the Detroit Free Press. For two years, while assigned to the corporate staff of Knight Ridder Inc., he served as an internal editorial consultant and change agent. In 1982, he shared in the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.

Smith has a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Ball State University and an MBA from Kellogg.

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