The Associated Press executive to lead MU journalism institute

Friday, April 13, 2012 | 8:16 a.m. CDT; updated 9:41 a.m. CDT, Friday, April 13, 2012

COLUMBIA — Randy Picht, a longtime executive at The Associated Press and most recently the news cooperative's chief of bureau in four states in the upper Midwest, has been named as executive director for the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Picht, 52, will be the institute's second executive director and succeed Pam Johnson, who retired in 2011. The institute promotes journalism as a tool to strengthen democracy, and was created in 2004 by a $31 million gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

"We're delighted to have persuaded Randy Picht to take this job," said Dean Mills, dean of the Missouri School of Journalism. "He's a perfect fit, having worked on both the news and business sides of journalism at a national level. And he has an impressive history of both innovating and bringing innovation into practice — precisely RJI's mission."

Picht was most recently the AP's bureau chief for Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. He began his AP career in Albany, N.Y., in 1983 and worked in bureaus in Rochester, N.Y., St. Louis and Kansas City before transferring to New York as business news editor in 1997. He was appointed director of the cooperative's stock market tables operation in 2000.

In 2002, Picht was named to lead Capitolwire, an Internet start-up business purchased by the AP. He was appointed chief of bureau for Missouri and Kansas in 2005 before taking on a series of special assignments for the AP beginning in 2008.

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