Mission Statement

UNC’s Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media supports existing and start-up news organizations through its dissemination of applied research and the development of digital tools and solutions. The Center supports the economic and business research of UNC’s Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics and the Knight Chair in Digital Advertising and Marketing. In addition, it supports professors and students associated with the Reese News Lab, which designs, tests and adapts digital tools for use in small and midsized newsrooms. The Center is funded by grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and UNC’s Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost.

Faculty

Penny Abernathy

Penny Abernathy

Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics

Penelope (Penny) Muse Abernathy is a journalism professional with more than 30 years of experience as a reporter, editor and senior media business executive, including positions at the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Paley Center for Media and Harvard Business Review.

savingcommunityjournalism.com Biography
Steven King

Steven King

Chief Innovation Officer, Reese News Lab, Creative Innovator

Steven King is an assistant professor of multimedia and interactive journalism at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He is an award-winning journalist and former Editor of Innovations and Director of Video for The Washington Post with a masters degree in computer science.

steventking.com
JoAnn Sciarrino

JoAnn Sciarrino

Knight Chair in Digital Advertising and Marketing

JoAnn Sciarrino is an advertising and marketing executive with more than 30 years of experience.
JoAnn pursues a broad research agenda in digital marketing, content marketing and brand attachment. Her current research appears in publications such as Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, and Journal of Digital and Social Media. She is also currently co-authoring a book with Penny Abernathy on Digital Media Entrepreneurship by Wiley Publishing. JoAnn is a frequent invited speaker at numerous client and professional organizations, including the Association of National Advertisers, the Advertising Research Foundation and Content Marketing World. At UNC, JoAnn teaches Digital Marketing and Market Intelligence to both undergraduates and MBAs. In 2016, her teaching earned her the prestigious Tanner Award for excellence.

Content Marketing World Irwin Warren Lectures
Ryan Thornburg

Ryan Thornburg

Director, Reese News Lab, Reese Felts Distinguished Professor

Ryan Thornburg is the director of the School of Media and Journalism’s M.A. program and the Reese Felts Distinguished Professor. Before coming to the school, he spent his career in the newsroom, focusing on online journalism.

Reese News Lab

Staff

Craig Anderson

Craig Anderson

Project Director

Craig Anderson is the project director for the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media at the UNC School of Media and Journalism in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where he is responsible for an array of research, outreach, and strategic planning support.

Pamela Evans

Pamela Evans

Project and Event Coordinator

Pamela Evans is the project and event coordinator for the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media where she handles events, travel, reimbursements, and logistics for the Center.

John Prudente

John Prudente

Research Associate

John Prudente is a research associate in the School of Media and Journalism. He works closely with JoAnn Sciarrino on research projects pertaining to the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media, and brings years of experience in online marketing and market research.

Erinn Whitaker

Erinn Whitaker

Research Associate

Erinn Whitaker is a research associate in the School of Media and Journalism, where she works closely with Penny Abernathy on research projects such as the emergence of US news deserts and new strategies for digital media entrepreneurship.