Brant Houston

   Brant Houston
   Knight Chair Professor in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting
   University of Illinois
   College of Media
   Department of Journalism

Professor Brant Houston holds the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois. Houston teaches investigative and advanced reporting in the Department of Journalism in the College of Media at Illinois.

Houston became the chair after serving for more than a decade as the executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), a 4,000-member organization, and as a professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Before joining IRE, he was an award-winning investigative reporter at daily newspapers for 17 years.

Houston also is the author of three editions of the textbook, “Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide,” and co-author of the fourth edition and fifth edition of “The Investigative Reporter’s Handbook.”  Currently he is working on projects involving nonprofit journalism, ethnic media newsrooms, and new technologies for news-gathering.

Kate McDowell


  Kathleen McDowell
  Associate Professor and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
  University of Illinois
  Library & Information Science

Kate McDowell is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her teaching and research analyze historical and innovative ways to engage young people with reading, learning, and exploring our information world. She has published articles in Library Quarterly, Library Trends, Children & Libraries, and Book History, and has several book chapters, including an examination of evolution in children's science books published inCulture of Print in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine. McDowell's research on the history of children's reading was funded by the University of Illinois Campus Research Board and awarded the Arnold O. Beckman Research Award. Her article "Surveying the Field: The Research Model of Women in Librarianship, 1882-1898" won the biennial 2010 Donald G. Davis award of the American Library Association's Library History Round Table.

McDowell's recent work engages youth and community informatics. In Fall 2013 she was awarded a grant as co-PI from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) titled Closing the App Gap, which will develop a model for combating summer reading losses by bringing tablet-based reading experiences to underserved populations during summer reading programs. She led a youth services workshop at the 2013 iSchools conference and served as co-chair of the ALISE Youth Services special interest group in 2012.

McDowell teaches youth services librarianship, fantasy literature and media for youth, and storytelling (traditional and digital). Her latest course, on youth services community engagement, adapts community informatics concepts to build bridges between public libraries and other youth-focused community organizations. McDowell's students have placed her on the List of Teachers Ranked Excellent by Their Students for every semester she has taught.

Mira Sotirovic
Associate Professor of Journalism
Karin and Folke Dovring Scholar in Propaganda
University of Illinois College of Media, Department of Journalism

Mira Sotirovic is associate professor and Karin and Folke Dovring Scholar in Propaganda in the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She received her Ph.D in mass communications and M.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Since her arrival at the U of I in 1996, she has taught both practical and theoretical courses including Reporting, Public Opinion, and Research Methods. She has published chapters in books such as Handbook of Political Communication Research and articles in academic journals such as Journal of Communication, Mass Communication and Society and others. Her research interests are in news media effects on how people think and perceive social issues, and how those perceptions may affect support for social policies