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Former Press Club President to Direct Center's Digital Media Efforts

October 25, 2006 | by Pat Vaughan Tremmel

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Veteran journalist Vivian Vahlberg has joined Northwestern University's Media Management Center to direct and expand the center's digital media initiatives.

A member of the center's senior leadership team, Vahlberg will be responsible for creating and developing a new line of educational programs, seminars, research and publications, both online and print, to help media executives understand, embrace and innovate in the rapidly evolving new-media world.

Michael P. Smith, executive director of the Media Management Center (MMC), said Vahlberg's role as director of digital media is crucial for the future of MMC, an executive education and research center that is affiliated with the Medill School of Journalism and Kellogg School of Management and provides education, research and implementation assistance for media executives around the globe.

“As digital media become an ever-increasing part of the media landscape, leaders of media organizations have a growing need for help understanding and addressing the opportunities and managerial challenges posed by new media,” Smith said. “Vahlberg will intensify our attention to these important needs, thus ensuring that MMC remains the place that media executives look for high-quality, strategic insight and advice for their most pressing concerns.”

Initially, the center's “Digital Future” programs will identify and highlight best practices from around the globe through a series of conferences and white papers and will add to knowledge about how customers use technology for information, entertainment, education and citizenship. Vahlberg also will be editor of MMC's data, news and technology Web site, MediaInfoCenter.org, where she will produce a new blog about digital media, called MMCDigiMe.

“Vivian brings to the job a wealth of management, research and consulting experience, a long history in journalism and broad knowledge of the major forces of change affecting news businesses,” said Smith. “She is also an excellent reporter and writer. These journalistic skills will be particularly valuable as she leads us into new areas of the digital future. As we develop our digital initiatives over the next year, sharing information with our friends, alumni and students will be very important.”

“MMC is such an incredibly robust and valuable source of guidance and insight for the news media,” said Vahlberg. “I look forward to helping Mike Smith expand the center's expertise and services in this innovative and fast-growing sector.”

From her student days in the Medill School's Washington program, Vahlberg launched a journalism career that led to her becoming the first woman president of the National Press Club in 1982, while she was Washington correspondent for the Daily Oklahoman. As president, she hosted world leaders at more than 70 televised National Press Club luncheons, and she led the successful rescue of the troubled National Press Building renovation project.

Her leadership of the Press Club led to her becoming executive director of the Society of Professional Journalists, where she halted a long membership slide with new services and improved communications.

In 1992, she became the first director of journalism programs for the McCormick Tribune Foundation. She oversaw investment of more than $70 million in journalism grants in the United States and Latin America during a 13-year period. She spearheaded the national newspaper initiative that led to the formation of the Readership Institute at the Media Management Center. And she developed a series of programs designed to help broadcast and print news executives adapt to and understand the many financial, technological and demographic changes affecting news media.

In 2005, she formed her own consulting company, working with educational institutions, media organizations and nonprofits on strategy, innovation and development.

Her work has been honored by many organizations. She is a member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. In 1996, Working Women magazine named her one of the “350 Women Who Changed the World.”

Topics: People