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Owen Youngman

Owen Youngman

Knight Professor of Digital Media Strategy

Owen R. Youngman is a professor and the Knight Chair in Digital Media Strategy. In addition to strategy, his courses in the graduate and undergraduate programs focus on innovation, media economics, technology, and the changing cultural and media landscape. He also teaches one of Northwestern's first massively open online courses (MOOCs), offered three times since 2013 through University partner Coursera.

Youngman was appointed to the endowed Knight Chair in 2009 after a 37-year career at the Chicago Tribune that focused on new product development, innovation and interactive media.  He created such Web sites as and as the Tribune’s first director of interactive media (1995-99); directed the 2002 development and launch of RedEye, the Tribune’s successful daily for young urban commuters; and, in nine years as a vice president and senior vice president, oversaw strategy and development. Before shifting to product development, Youngman held newsroom positions including deputy sports editor, associate metropolitan editor/suburban news, associate features editor, associate managing editor/financial news and managing editor/features. 

The goal of Youngman’s teaching is to equip students to be future media industry and journalism leaders, in large part by preparing them to identify the characteristics of digital innovations that will result in long-lasting and important changes in how journalists do their work and how audiences benefit from that work. His courses require students to think critically about current events and trends in journalism, while emphasizing the permanent importance of accuracy, ethical behavior and audience understanding.

Recently, Youngman has presented his research on MOOCs at the Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts; the Racom IMC Roundtable; and the Provost’s Learning, Teaching, and Assessment Forum at Northwestern’s Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching. He has presented on the intersection of journalism, technology and American culture at the University of Chicago, Indiana University-South Bend, Trinity International University, North Park University, to the Northwestern Board of Trustees’ technology committee and to Northwestern alumni clubs across the country. His written work has appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Guardian, The Atlantic, the Chicago Tribune and elsewhere.

Youngman is a member of the Board of Trustees of North Park University (his alma mater, which awarded him the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, in 2005). In October 2012 he was named an honorary life director of Swedish Covenant Hospital, where he was born and where his past board service included chairmanship of its marketing and strategic planning committee. He also serves as a director of the Solti Foundation U.S., is a Governing Member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; and is a member of both the Online News Association and the American Society of News Editors. He is a member of the Ashtabula (Ohio) High School Alumni Hall of Fame and has been listed in Who’s Who in America for more than 20 years. He has published his blog, “The next miracle,” since 1994.