Professor, 4 Alumni Among the New Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellows

Projects Strengthen Journalism’s Service to Citizens and Their Communities

Columbia, Mo. (May 7, 2015) — Assistant Professor Harsh Taneja and four alumni – Tad Bartimus, BJ ’69; Brian Hensel, PhD ’05; Marie Tessier, MA ’88; Anne Thompson, MA ’91 – are among the fellows for the Class of 2015-16 at the Reynolds Journalism Institute.

This year’s residential, nonresidential and institutional fellowships were chosen from among 225 applicants from around the world.

From exploring journalistic opportunities for wearable technology to helping smaller community newspapers provide digital services for advertisers, the ninth fellowship class of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute continues RJI’s commitment to nurturing and strengthening journalism’s service to citizens and their communities.

“This year’s group of fellows continues the tradition of bringing great expertise and enthusiasm to RJI,” said Randy Picht, RJI’s executive director. “We can’t wait to get their projects started.”

Tad Bartimus, Harsh Taneja, Marie Tessier and Anne Thompson
Clockwise from top left: Tad Bartimus, Harsh Taneja, Anne Thompson and Marie Tessier.
  • Tad Bartimus: Expanding upon her success in building skills and confidence in students from disadvantaged circumstances, Tad Bartimus, founder of Talk Story, Write Story, will pilot her personal writing workshop with a newspaper in a Missouri community. She will explore ways to spread the program to other communities as an opportunity for newspapers to foster engagement with and within the community.
  • Brian Hensel, an instructor in the University of Missouri’s Department of Health Management and Informatics, will explore the opportunities for journalism to help the health care industry, which has been accelerating efforts to use storytelling to improve performance and help patients stay healthy. His doctorate degree in journalism, and his experience as a health care executive will position him to explore interesting collaborations and potential new revenue sources.
  • Harsh Taneja: Harsh Taneja, an assistant professor of strategic communication at the Missouri School of Journalism, will conduct research using social network analysis on the role of news websites in people’s online lives. This “user behavior analysis” will focus on the makeup of the clusters of online destinations that people regularly visit. Are news sites a central part of this routine? Can these clusters give us helpful information about how non-news sites can help improve metrics on news sites?
  • Brian Hensel, PhD '05
    Brian Hensel, PhD ’05

    Marie Tessier: In an effort to boost participation of women in online community forums on news websites, a New York Times team will conduct gender-inclusive analysis and engineering design and product-testing protocols as part of the Coral Project. That project is an open-source comment system being developed by the Times, The Washington Post and the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project. Project leader: Marie Tessier, lead moderator of reader comment to The New York Times opinion pages and a blog contributor.

  • Anne Thompson: As journalism continues to explore new ways to engage and define its audience, a natural place to look for innovation and insight is the world of visual arts. Anne Thompson, an adjunct assistant professor in the University of Missouri‘s Art Department, will conduct several “news-art” experiments and also continue her nationally recognized “I-70 Sign Show” billboard project as an RJI fellow.

Visit the RJI website for more information about the 2015-16 fellows, their projects and the RJI Fellowship program.

Updated: September 8, 2020

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