Drury journalism professor earns national recognition for “disruptive” innovation in the classroom

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 15, 2018 —For the second year in a row, the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism has selected Drury Professor Jonathan Groves as a Tow-Knight Disruptive Journalism Educator.

The recognition places Groves among the nation’s leading voices in journalism education. The fellowship, one of six awarded this year, comes with a $1,500 stipend to help launch a student radio newsroom that will tackle community issues by raising public awareness and gathering solutions. Tow-Knight also awarded Groves this recognition in 2017 for his efforts to launch and support Drury’s student-led KDRU-FM campus radio station

Changing industry, responsive curriculum

As chair of Drury’s communication department, Groves worked with his colleagues to update the Multimedia Production and Journalism curriculum to reflect a rapidly changing media industry by including a strong emphasis on multimedia storytelling, analytics, and data visualization techniques.

Now, the department is revamping the program around the concept of a Drury-based community-information hub (centered on KDRU) that combines these emerging journalism techniques with an emphasis on civic engagement. The project will be based in part on the bi-annual Community Focus Report, which is heavily relied upon by Springfield leaders in decision-making and strategic planning. Groves served as a facilitator for the most recent report in 2017.

“We plan on sending our students into the community to listen, learn, and report using Springfield’s Community Focus Report – which identifies the strengths and weaknesses of our area – as an exploration guide,” Groves says.

Groves is learning from other “disruptors” in the industry, ensuring Drury’s curriculum is informed by what’s happening in real newsrooms. He used a sabbatical this spring to conduct first-hand research with journalists at outlets around the country, including the nonprofit Texas Tribune in Austin, WBEZ’s Curious City team in Chicago, and community journalism platform Gather. He’ll visit investigative powerhouse ProPublica this summer. Some of these ideas will be tested in a new interdisciplinary course in entrepreneurial journalism Groves will teach this fall. 

About the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism

Established in 2010, the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism is the nation’s most intensive program in entrepreneurial journalism. Its mission is to “run educational programs, conduct research and support journalism startups to help foster sustainable business models for quality journalism.” The Tow-Knight Disruptive Journalism Educator fellowship recognizes educators whose innovations enable students in the rapidly evolving world of media.


Media Contact: Dr. Jonathan Groves, Associate Professor of Communication - (417) 873-7343 or

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