Award-Winning Journalist Randy Smith Named First Donald W. Reynolds Endowed Chair in Business Journalism

Columbia, Mo. (Aug. 17, 2009) — Award-winning journalist Randy Smith will be the first Donald W. Reynolds Endowed Chair in Business Journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism. He begins his responsibilities when the semester starts on Aug. 24.

Randall Smith
Randall Smith

“We are delighted to have Randy Smith as the first Reynolds Chair,” said Dean Mills, dean of the School. “He brings not only decades of experience in journalism but also invaluable hands-on experience in the business of journalism. That experience will enrich immeasurably the teaching and training programs he develops at Missouri.”

Smith’s appointment allows for the expansion of business journalism courses for undergraduate and master’s students, including the School’s online master’s program, which serves working professionals around the world. Smith will work closely with Missouri’s Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, a world-class center for researching and testing new models of journalism.

“We can no longer be content to simply cover business. We must be active in inventing the business models of the future,” Smith said. “My goal is to put students at the forefront of strengthening the financial fundamentals of journalism. And to do that, you’ve got to understand business, particularly your own.”

Smith, who earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the School in 1974, is a 30-year veteran of The Kansas City Star. He began his career there in 1979 and has worked on both the news and business sides. Smith started as a copy editor, rising to the positions of business editor and deputy managing editor, and most recently, to director of strategic development.

Smith is a former president of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and a recipient of the organization’s Distinguished Achievement Award. He played a major role in conceiving the idea and raising the money for the School’s SABEW endowed chair, currently held by Martha Steffens.

He is the vice chair and first non-family member of the board of the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships. The author of the book “A Kenyan Journey,” Smith has lectured to classes in China, Africa and the U.S. Throughout his career Smith has been involved with helping promote young minority journalists, and he played a key role in getting Knight Ridder to adopt the Rotating Internship Program, which placed more than 250 journalists into newspapers during a 20-year run.

As an editor Smith has worked with award-winning newsroom teams that have earned the profession’s top awards and honors. One won a Pulitzer Prize in 1982 for coverage of the Kansas City Hyatt skywalks disaster in July 1981. Other recognitions include a Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists, an EPpy award, a Philip Meyer Award, 12 Missouri Press Association Gold Cups and a Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Award.

Smith received the Mizzou Alumni Association‘s highest recognition, the Faculty-Alumni Award, in 2005.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation awarded the School a $2 million grant to establish the new chair in December. The Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., it is one of the largest private foundations in the U.S.

Updated: May 5, 2020

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