Lynda Kraxberger, Department Chair

Lynda Kraxberger, Convergence Department ChairPhone: 573-882-6633
Email: kraxbergerl@missouri.edu

Lynda Kraxberger coaches students on multi-platform and multimedia storytelling for distribution through the Missouri School of Journalism’s professional news organizations: the Columbia Missourian, KBIA-FM and KOMU-TV. Kraxberger’s roots as a newscast producer at KCNC-TV in Denver and WJXT-TV in Jacksonville, Fla., shaped her interest in visual storytelling. In 1993, Kraxberger joined the faculty at Missouri as the executive producer of KOMU-TV, the only university-owned commercial television station in the United States that uses its newsroom as a working lab for students. Now, she merges audio and video editing techniques with print to create “new” story forms online. In 2006, Kraxberger received the Journalism School’s highest teaching honor, the O.O. McIntyre Fellowship. In 2007, Kraxberger received the William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, an award that recognizes the University of Missouri’s most outstanding professors.

Mike McKean, Associate Professor

Phone: 573-882-3434
Email: mckeanml@missouri.edu
Mike McKean directs the Futures Lab, the experimental newsroom and technology testing center of the Reynolds Journalism Institute. He founded the School’s Convergence Journalism program and is a longtime member of the MU Information Technology Committee. McKean is a leader in the School’s partnerships with Apple, Inc., Microsoft, Adobe Systems, Hearst Innovation, AT&T, Sprint and other technology-driven firms to transform journalism education through pervasive computing. He is a frequent presenter to media companies and journalism schools in China. McKean helped design convergence journalism curricula at Nanjing University and Shantou University in China and at Moscow State University in Russia. He has lectured and organized workshops at the European Journalism Centre in Brussels, Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, Universidad de los Andes in Chile and University of Navarra in Spain. McKean has received the MU Faculty-Alumni Award and the Kemper Teaching Fellowship, one of the top faculty awards on the MU campus. He appears on Views of the News, a weekly media criticism program that airs on KBIA-FM and KBIA.org. McKean earned a bachelor’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism in 1979 and a master of arts in political science from Rice University in 1985. He has served on the J-School faculty since 1986.

Mark Hinojosa, Associate Professor

Phone: 573-882-9407
Email: hinojosam@missouri.edu

Mark Hinojosa comes to the convergence faculty from The Detroit News, where he was Director of Interactive Media. There he led efforts to enhance the digital delivery of news and information. He presided over the integration of the print and web news teams, and developed the news operation’s social media strategy. Previously, he was the Associate Managing Editor for Multimedia for the Chicago Tribune. While there, Hinojosa filled the newly created position of A.M.E. for Electronic News, now Multimedia. In that role, Hinojosa worked as a liaison between print, broadcast and the Internet, facilitating the development of stories across these different media.

Hinojosa is a two-time Pulitzer Prize judge and has lectured both nationally and internationally on multimedia, newsroom convergence and audience engagement. He was also the Hearst Visiting Professional at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

A Los Angeles native, Hinojosa has lived in Chicago, Kansas City and in three of the five boroughs of New York City. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. Hinojosa has served on the boards of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Online News Association and Street Level Youth Media, an organization committed to teaching media awareness to urban youth. He is also a founding board member of the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism.

Amy Simons, Associate Professor

Amy Simons, Assistant ProfessorPhone: 573-884-2001
Email: simonsa@missouri.edu

Amy Simons joined the convergence journalism faculty in August 2010. Previously she worked as the digital news editor for the Chicago Tribune, where she helped develop and execute the editorial programming strategy for chicagotribune.com. While at the Tribune, Simons worked closely with the newsrooms of WGN-TV, CLTV News and WGN-AM to coordinate the coverage of daily and planned news events. Before joining the Chicago Tribune, she spent seven years at CLTV News, the Tribune’s 24-hour news channel covering Chicago and the suburbs.

Simons hosts Views of the News, a weekly media criticism program that airs on KBIA-FM and KBIA.org. She also serves as the adviser to ONA Mizzou, the local club of the Online News Association and as a mentor in the school’s student competitions.  In July 2015, Simons helped a group of students launch the Women in Media student organization. As that club’s adviser, Simons supports members as they launch their careers in journalism, advertising and public relations.

Simons earned her bachelor of journalism degree from the Missouri School of Journalism in 1999.

Judd Slivka, Assistant Professor

Phone: 573-882-1770
Email: slivkaj@missouri.edu

Judd Slivka is an assistant professor of convergence journalism at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He has worked as a reporter at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The Arizona Republic and its television partner, KPNX-TV.  His freelance work has appeared in Slate, ESPN: The Magazine, The American Spectator and the Los Angeles Times. He was the lead legal investigator in three police brutality cases against “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio and served as principal investigator in a number of multimillion dollar civil lawsuits. He also served as the communication and information services director for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.  Slivka earned his bachelor of journalism degree from the Missouri School of Journalism in 1996.

Reuben Stern, Deputy Futures Lab Director

Phone: 573-884-9144

Reuben Stern is the Futures Lab’s Deputy Director. In addition to overseeing other projects, he hosts and co-produces the weekly Futures Lab video update.

His areas of expertise include innovation, management, content strategy, product development, marketing, multimedia reporting and editing, cross-platform content delivery, audience research and engagement, user experience, design and infographics.

In 2009, Stern helped create the cross-platform public affairs program Intersection, a collaboration of RJI and NPR-affiliate station KBIA/91.3 FM, and he hosted the program from its launch through 2013. He also has been teaching classes at the Missouri School of Journalism since 2002.

Before joining RJI, Stern was the managing editor for the Columbia Missourian, where he directly oversaw the day-to-day operation for the website and daily newspaper and helped launch several innovative initiatives including a revamped website and custom-built content management system. Previously Stern worked at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; The Budapest Sun, an English-language newspaper in Hungary; and the Los Angeles Daily News. He also spent several years working as a freelance editor and graphic designer.

Rachel Wise, Video Editor

Phone: 573-884-9143

As video editor at RJI’s Futures Lab, Rachel Wise co-produces and edits the weekly Futures Lab video updates, and produces other video projects at RJI. She also mentors and coaches the Futures Lab video reporting team during the production process. Wise came to RJI from the Knoxville News Sentinel in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she served as an online producer. In this role she produced short- and long-form videos, managed the news organization’s websites, trained staff and updated several social media accounts. Previously, Wise worked at daily, weekly and online publications in Florida and New York in roles as editor, reporter, photojournalist, producer, copy editor and page designer. She earned a master’s degree in journalism from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in communication from Florida Gulf Coast University.

Amy S. McCombs, Professor, Lee Hills Chair in Free Press Studies


Amy McCombs is the Lee Hills Chair in Free-Press Studies. She spent the majority of her career in media with executive management responsibilities at both the Chronicle Publishing Company in San Francisco and the Broadcast Division of the Washington Post Company. She was the president and CEO of Chronicle Broadcasting with properties in San Francisco, Omaha and Kansas. McCombs also holds a professor appointment at the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri and is the Executive Editor of the Global Journalist. She recently served as the interim president of the Presidio Graduate School. She serves on the advisory board of Newsy.com, a digital media innovator combining news content with emerging technologies. For nearly 20 years, McCombs was a member of the board of directors of the Auto Club Group (ACG) in Dearborn, Michigan serving as board chair, and over the years, chair of the investment, finance and executive committees. McCombs holds a master’s degree in journalism and bachelor’s degrees in political science and journalism, all from the University of Missouri. McCombs continued her education at the senior executive program of Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and the National Association of Broadcasters General Management Program at the Harvard Business School, Harvard University.

Randall Smith, Professor


Randall Smith, BJ ’74, is the first Donald W. Reynolds Endowed Chair in Business Journalism. He joined the Missouri School of Journalism in August 2009. His 30-year career at The Kansas City Star began in 1979, and he 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 Writers and Editors 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. 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 staff recognitions include a Sigma Delta Chi award, 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.

Robert Greene, Assistant Professor

Robert Greene serves as the filmmaker-in-chief at the Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism. His critically-acclaimed films include the Gotham Awards-nominated “Actress” (2014), “Fake It So Real” (2011) and “Kati With An I (2010). The Independent named Greene one of the 10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2014, and he received the 2014 Vanguard Artist Award from the San Francisco DocFest. Greene has edited over a dozen features, including “Queen of Earth” (2015) and “Listen Up Philip” (2014) by Alex Ross Perry, “Approaching the Elephant” (2014) by Amanda Rose Wilder and “Christmas, Again” (2015) by Charles Poekel. Greene writes about documentary for outlets such as Sight & Sound and Filmmaker Magazine and programs an annual cinematic nonfiction competition at the Little Rock Film Festival. His first book, Present Tense: Notes On American Nonfiction Cinema 1998-2013, will be published in summer 2015.