Ron Stodghill named Meredith Chair in Service Journalism

Ron Stodghill

By Austin Fitzgerald

Columbia, Mo. — (August 31, 2021) Ron Stodghill, BS/BJ ‘86, has been named the Meredith Chair in Service Journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism, effective Sept. 1.

An Associate Professor, Stodghill is a renowned journalist who has written for the New York Times, Business Week, Time, and many other top publications, and he has served as editor-in-chief of Savoy Magazine. He has also authored several books and received numerous awards for his writing.

“As an alumnus of the School of Journalism, I’m thrilled by the opportunity to help the university continue to innovate and educate the next generation of world-class journalists,” Stodghill said. “At a time when there is so much rethinking about what it means to be a newsroom or a news organization, I’m honored to be part of helping Mizzou continue to lead in that change.”

In announcing the appointment, Dean David Kurpius highlighted Stodghill’s strong ties to the magazine industry, where he has seen success as both a writer and editor. Kurpius also emphasized the importance of service journalism, which aims to give audiences practical advice that is relevant to their lives and forms the crux of the endowed chair.

“Ron has deep experience working with the best magazines in the country, and his knowledge about where the industry has been will help him show us where it can go next,” Kurpius said. “The insights he can provide to students, and the connections he will help forge with industry partners like the Meredith Corporation, will drive us toward the exciting and innovative future of service journalism.”

The Meredith Corporation, which endowed the Meredith Chair in 1986, is one of the nation’s leading media and marketing companies and publishes a variety of magazines devoted to service journalism, including Better Homes and Gardens and Southern Living. With this type of content seeing a surge of interest in the era of digital journalism, Stodghill is seeking to develop new ways to reach audiences.

“Ron will bring a lot of energy and new ideas to this role, and those ideas will help create the next generation of digital magazines,” said Professor Mike Jenner, the Houston Harte Chair in Journalism. “The respect and appreciation he has for his craft and its future is evident in the strong connections he forms with his students. He’s someone who makes you smarter just by listening to him.”

Jenner said Stodghill is known to be generous with his time outside of class, with his office often drawing long lines of students seeking his advice or inside knowledge about the industry. This is no accident. For Stodghill, being a good teacher is all about accessibility.

“When I was a student, the best mentors were the ones who were happy to sit down and talk to me about their experiences, good or bad,” Stodghill said. “As a teacher, it’s important to recognize that younger people are driving change, and we ignore them at our own peril. The moment someone is willing to work hard at becoming a journalist is the moment we should take them seriously and welcome them into the club.”

Updated: September 7, 2021

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