Mike Fancher

The University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication announced the appointment of Mike Fancher as interim director of the new Center for Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement. In this role, Fancher will support the school in its search for a Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement Chair and will lead the initial launch and development of the Center.

“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to help launch this important center,” Fancher said. “The UO School of Journalism and Communication is ideally suited to explore the nexus between journalism innovation and civic engagement, in part because the Pacific Northwest epitomizes both.

Fancher — who graduated from the UO SOJC in 1968 and is an honoree of the School’s Hall of Achievement — retired from The Seattle Times in 2008, after 30 years. He served as the newspaper’s executive editor for 20 of those years, during which it won four Pulitzer Prizes and was a Pulitzer finalist 13 other times. In 2009, the Western Washington Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists presented Fancher its award for Distinguished Service to Journalism.

As a 2008 Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellows, Fancher explored how the changes in journalism affect the values and principles of journalists today. He is the author of the public policy paper “Re-Imagining Journalism: Local News for a Networked World,” which examines the experimentation, collaboration and public engagement critical for transforming journalism. In the paper, Fancher “calls upon a variety of stakeholders in business, the nonprofit sector, government and community institutions, and citizens themselves to each play a role in nurturing a revitalized and re-imagined local media ecosystem.”

The Center for Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement will explore the current state of innovation in journalism, the role of journalism in civic life and strategies for transforming and sustaining high-quality journalism in a digital world. In addition to a faculty fellowship program, the Center will host a series of summits at the Turnbull Portland Center and in Allen Hall in Eugene.

“We are extremely pleased to have an innovator with Mike’s professional experience join us as we move forward with building the Center,” Julianne Newton, Edwin L. Artzt Interim Dean said. “Mike has the practical knowledge and creative vision required as we look to imagine the future of journalism.”