To advance its position as a national and international leader in media research and practice, the University of Oregon has named Emmy-award winning journalist and former New York Times multimedia editor Andrew DeVigal the inaugural Chair of Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement and the first professor of practice in the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC).

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Andrew DeVigal to our distinguished faculty,” said Julianne Newton, interim Edwin L. Artzt dean of the SOJC. “This groundbreaking journalist brings extraordinary talent and expertise to his new role as the chair of journalism innovation and civic engagement.”

Based at the George S. Turnbull Portland Center, the Center for Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement will bridge SOJC’s programs in both Portland and Eugene. Through the center, DeVigal and SOJC faculty will foster new programs and projects that advance public interest journalism, communication and the student experience.

“I was drawn to this position for the opportunity to collaborate with the world-class faculty at the University of Oregon and help forge the future of journalism in the service of civic engagement,” said DeVigal.

Funding for the new chair position and the Center for Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement was made possible through a $5 million gift from an anonymous donor, with $2 million given to endow the faculty chair and $3 million donated toward the $25 million dollar endowment goal for the center, a gift that exemplifies the impact private philanthropy can make at the UO by strengthening areas of academic excellence with key faculty hires and creating access for students. DeVigal’s role as chair and professor of practice will begin in September.

DeVigal most recently served as the creative director of content strategy at Second Story, a media company that is focused on innovative storytelling and interactive experiences.

Prior to working at Second Story, he served as the multimedia editor at The New York Times, where he guided the newspaper’s print-driven format into the multimedia era. Among the projects his department led was “One in 8 Million,” which won The New York Times its first Emmy Award in 2010.

“Described in numerous profiles as a renegade, multimedia guru and genius, Andrew DeVigal is one of the world’s best known groundbreakers in interactive/digital storytelling, as well as a leader in using mobile web apps and a variety of other interactive media in service to civic engagement,” said Professor Tom Wheeler, who chaired the search committee. “We are honored and excited to welcome him to our faculty. The School, the University, our media professions, and our constituents and communities will all benefit from his leadership of the Innovation Center.”

DeVigal’s previous academic experience includes a 2011-12 Punch Sulzberger Executive Leadership Fellowship at Columbia University. From 1996 to 2004 he was a fellow with the Poynter Institute. DeVigal was an associate professor in the San Francisco State University Department of Journalism from 2002-06.

“Andrew is a catalyst. I can’t begin to imagine the good that will come from his working with our faculty and students,” said Mike Fancher, interim executive director of the center. “Together they will create new ways for journalism to enhance public knowledge and civic life.”

For more information on DeVigal and the center, read “Former New York Times multimedia editor named Chair of Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement.

– by Melissa Foley, Public Affairs Communications, and Kathryn Thier, SOJC Communications