The Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing at Northwestern University has announced a $2 million gift from alumnus John M. Mutz (BSJ57, MSJ58).
To be matched with funds from the Ryan Family Chair Challenge, the gift will endow the John M. Mutz Chair in Local News within the school's Local News Initiative. Launched in 2018 with the help of a $250,000 commitment from Mutz, the initiative is a research and development effort focused on learning more about the ways in which digital audiences engage with local news and identifying new approaches that strengthen local news business models. Medill senior associate dean Tim Franklin, who heads the initiative, has been named the inaugural holder of the chair.
Mutz has two children and two grandchildren who are Northwestern alumni and is himself a member of the Henry and Emma Rogers Society, which recognizes individuals who have included Northwestern in their estate plans. Over his long career as a business leader and politician, he has served as an Indiana state representative (1967-70), state senator (1971-80), lieutenant governor (1980-88), and president of the Lilly Endowment (1989-94).
"Local news is vital to our democracy and an empowered citizenry," said Medill dean Charles Whitaker. "As the media industry has transformed, local news outlets face unprecedented challenges. We are deeply grateful for John's visionary generosity, which helped Medill launch the Local News Initiative and will now cement our place as a leader in addressing the crisis facing local news."
"My political experience has dramatically shown me how important reliable local news sources are to local governments and economies," said Mutz. "Without it we may lose our democratic society and that would be a tragedy."
(Tim Franklin photo credit: Northwestern University)