MU announces the opening of new, digital University of Missouri Press

Monday, July 16, 2012 | 6:42 p.m. CDT; updated 1:44 p.m. CDT, Monday, August 20, 2012

COLUMBIA — More than seven weeks after announcing the closing of the University of Missouri Press, MU officials announced a plan Monday for a new press. 

This press will focus on innovative and online publishing and will be a part of MU's College of Arts and Science.

Discussions of a new press had been going on for roughly two years, as the university was looking into new approaches for publishing scholarly work, Dean of the Missouri School of Journalism Dean Mills said.

MU Provost Brian Foster would not say whether MU had been planning on implementing a new press when the old one was shut down, but did say that the new press would serve as a replacement for the old one. 

“The world of media is changing rapidly — it’s hard to know where it’s going to go,” Foster said. This new press will be adapting to the ever-changing media, he said.

In May, the University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe announced the closure of the University of Missouri Press. This announcement gained national attention and sparked protest from press supporters, faculty, staff and Association of American University Presses members.  

A meeting is planned for 11 a.m. July 24 in room 2501 of the MU Student Center to discuss the opposition to the closing of the previous University of Missouri Press, according to the Save The Missouri Press facebook page. 

When the University of Missouri Press officially closes in fiscal year 2013, its 10 employees will lose their jobs, Foster said. However, those people will be welcome to apply for positions at the new press, granted they will have to accept the new teaching aspect of the job, he said.

The press will be funded by book sales, in addition to broader university revenues, he said.

The director of the new press will be Speer Morgan, editor of The Missouri Review. In that role, he worked to adapt literary journals for online publishing, which made him a prime candidate for directing the new press, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said in a news release. 

Morgan said the new press will serve “an experimental, educational and teaching function, as well as function as a press.” 

One of its first goals will be making more books available online, he said, which will require more effective marketing.

A more long-term goal of the new model is to incorporate multimedia elements into more e-books, Morgan said. This will be a way to incorporate new technologies in the delivery of books. 

The press will be run by an editorial staff, which Morgan is currently looking into hiring. There will be additional graduate students who will intern with the press. They plan to hire five grad students as interns, he said, and Morgan hopes to have completed staff hiring by the fall.

The first person Morgan needs to hire is an editor. Then, he will work on hiring a managing editor and a publicity director.

Unlike its predecessor, which served the entire UM System, the new press will be located and operated by MU. 

This will help get the campus involved with the press, instead of having the press as its own entity, Morgan said. It will also allow the press to incorporate student learning and teaching, which will further the education of students.

Morgan plans to keep his role as editor of The Missouri Review, in addition to serving as the new director of the press. The two publications will be separate entities, but both will report to Michael O’Brien, dean of the MU College of Arts and Science, Morgan said.

Both the School of Journalism and the College of Arts and Science are looking into courses in which undergraduate students will get practical experience, Mills said.  

The press will allow students to work and learn from an experienced staff. It will also give MU faculty on the new press an opportunity to teach and research new innovative publishing methods, Mills said.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

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Ellis Smith July 17, 2012 | 6:05 a.m.

To repeat my post, made to the first article (Monday)) on this matter, this is fine but why wasn't it considered and adopted BEFORE announcing that the press would be terminated during fiscal year 2013?

Would you like a damp towel to wipe the egg off your faces?

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