Owen Youngman

  • Knight Professor of Digital Media Strategy, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications

Owen Youngman joined Medill as a tenured full professor and holder of the University’s endowed Knight Chair in Digital Media Strategy in 2009, after a 37-year career at the Chicago Tribune focused on new product development, innovation, and interactive media. He created such Web sites as chicagotribune.com and metromix.com as the Tribune’s first director of interactive media (1995-99); directed the development and launch of RedEye, the Tribune’s successful daily newspaper for young urban commuters (2002); and, in nine years as vice president and senior vice president, oversaw strategy and development, strategic marketing, philanthropy, and the company’s developing businesses. His Tribune editorial positions included deputy sports editor, suburban editor, associate managing editor for financial news, and managing editor for features. A user of online services since 1982 who brought the first Apple II into the newsroom in 1984, he went on to serve on a 1992 task force for parent Tribune Co. that created its first explicit technology strategy.

At Medill, Youngman has built on his work in media strategy by developing graduate and undergraduate courses in which students analyze the role of technology and media economics in journalism so that they are equipped for the next round of change. With other faculty, he worked to secure a $4.2 million, 4-year grant from Knight Foundation for the Knight News Innovation Lab and has served as the grant’s principal investigator. In the fall of 2013 he taught Northwestern University’s first massively open online course (MOOC) through Coursera, and subsequently taught it twice more, with total enrollment totaling more than 125,000 people in nearly 200 countries.

He speaks widely on behalf of both the Medill School and Northwestern, and recently has been involved in planning Medill’s launch of classes in San Francisco in Fall 2016. He is a member of the Board of Trustees at his alma mater, North Park University in Chicago, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2005. He also is a director of the Solti Foundation US, a Governing Member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and a past board member of Swedish Covenant Hospital; the Evangelical Covenant Church of America; and of the Evanston-based online obituary clearinghouse Legacy.com.