Columbia, Mo. (Nov. 3, 2017) — Many people don’t choose their degree or line of work on a whim, but strategic communication student Dun Li found inspiration in unexpected places.
Li chose to study journalism because of his love for The Newsroom, a television show that aired in 2012 on HBO. The show is about a fictional news channel with passionate, forward-thinking journalists who are trying to change the face of the media as we know it.
“That’s right,” said Li. “Some of my most important choices in life were inspired by the media content I consumed. Compared to sailing the seven seas as a Jack Sparrow or uncovering ancient artifacts as a Nathan Drake, being a hopelessly quixotic Will McAvoy reclaiming the Fourth Estate seemed like a much more attainable feat, at least until reality changed my mind. At that point, the prestigious Missouri School of Journalism was one Google search away from popping onto my radar as the ideal place to be.”
Achieving a journalism degree from the top journalism school in the nation became Li’s reality when he was accepted to the school in the fall of 2014. After learning about the many facets of the journalism school, Li declared his interest to be in strategic communication, where his passion for research thrives.
“Data tells the best story. No successful advertising campaign is born without a solid foundation of research,” said Li. “A fact-based narrative, distilled from a seemingly indiscernible pile of raw numbers, gives advertising wings to navigate the market landscapes. I hope that I can contribute to that effort one day with my own skill set and knowledge.”
His drive and tenacity correlated with the opportunities provided to him at the J-School has led him to be extremely successful during his time here at Mizzou. Li has accomplished many things, like being selected as one of the top 20 teams in the 2016 Adobe Analytics Challenge after defeating over 1,500 contestants from 70 universities across the United States, volunteering as a crowd-sourcing campaign strategist and implementer for a non-profit, and achieving multiple scholarships for his high academic performance. However, after all those achievements, his favorite memory by far was being accepted into MOJO Ad, the premiere student-staffed, professional advertising agency at the Missouri School of Journalism.
“It was a milestone for me and an honor to have my previous endeavors up to that point in time recognized by the faculty – the initial joy didn’t subside for weeks,” said Li.
With an emphasis in market intelligence, which is the study of how to effectively gather and use consumer data, Li has been able to spread his wings in his role as researcher within his MOJO Ad team. Working in the capstone has had its ups and downs, but Li has enjoyed every minute of it.
“It is very fulfilling, if you are one to crave for challenges,” said Li. “Mojo truly pushes everyone on the team to their limit – physically and mentally. New challenges arise every day, and interpersonal collaboration along with interdisciplinary problem-solving is crucial to making any progress at all.”
Although his initial attraction to the journalism and the advertising industry was inspired by a television show, it ignited a passion that has yet to fade. Li’s advice for other up-and-coming students? Find your niche.
“Learn your weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths,” said Li. “I’d venture to say that finding a niche that works for you is often the precursor of professional success.”
Updated: October 26, 2020