Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Real World creator's donation will fund a documentary journalism program at Mizzou

Posted By on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 7:09 AM

Jonathan Murray cuts a big check to Mizzou.
  • Jonathan Murray cuts a big check to Mizzou.
As the co-creator of The Real World and Road Rules - and executive producer of Project Runway and Keeping Up with the Kardashians - Jonathan Murray is one of the biggest names in reality-TV development, and arguably the genre's true pioneer. (Peep his IMDB here.) Murray also happens to be a 1977 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia.

That connection translated into some great news for the school yesterday, when it was announced that Murray would be giving $6.7 million to Mizzou to develop a documentary journalism program in the School of Journalism.

According to a news release from the university:

The new program, established in response to the increasing demand for video content across multiple media platforms, will offer bachelor of journalism and master of arts degrees and fund research that advances the field of documentary journalism. It will feature three new faculty positions and will engage visiting professionals from the documentary journalism community around the world. The bachelor's degree program will be offered beginning in the Fall 2015 semester. The start date for the master's degree is still under discussion, but could also begin as early as the Fall 2015 semester. Coursework for the degree will focus on the history, business models, advocacy and advanced production of documentary journalism.

"It's an honor for me to give back to the University of Missouri, an institution that helped build my journalistic foundation, upon which I shaped my career in news, documentaries and television before creating Bunim/Murray Productions," Murray said in the news release. "The establishment of this new documentary journalism program is my way of helping to ensure that we've prepared the media and entertainment industry's future documentary film makers to do great work, a goal that I share with MU."

The program should also be a nice complement to Columbia's True/False Film Fest, the annual documentary film festival that'll be held at the end of this month. Mid-Missouri as a national destination for the flourishing art of documentary filmmaking? We like the ring of that.


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