Meet the first Medill master’s students in Media Innovation & Entrepreneurship


The first group of Medill MSJ’s who studied media innovation and entrepreneurship in San Francisco in fall 2016. (L-R): Henry Keyser, Vivian Zhang, Jenny Sun, Colin Mo, Vijeta Ojha, Wynona Latham, Reedhima Mandlik, Ashley Zhang, Devin Emory, Josef Siebert, Nikolas Wright, Jessica Buchleitner

A magazine editor. A TV news producer. A book author. An entrepreneur building a sports-media startup. People with undergraduate degrees in journalism, business and sociology.

They are the first class of master’s students enrolled in Medill’s Media Innovation & Entrepreneurship specialization — people who’ve come from around the world to prepare themselves for future opportunities at the intersection of journalism, media and technology.

These pioneers enrolled at Medill in June 2016 and spent the fall at Northwestern | San Francisco, where they took three classes (Design Thinking & Research for Media Products; The Business of Innovation; Mobile Web Development for Media) — and interned two days a week at Bay Area media and tech companies. Earlier this month, they started the second half of their coursework in Chicago and Evanston.

It’s a great group, and I’m proud to serve as their advisor. If your company is looking for someone with reporting and storytelling skills, who wants to build media products and audiences, and who’s studied — and applied — design thinking, user research, analytics, agile development, product management and entrepreneurial thinking … well, you can’t have them yet, but most will be available for job opportunities in June. (We are still accepting applications for the next class of MIE students, who will start in June 2017. Contact me if you are interested!)

Let me introduce this first class to you:

Jessica Buchleitner at Northwestern | San Francisco

Jessica Buchleitner

Twitter: @50WomenProject | Medium

Background: From San Francisco. B.S., Communications and Journalism, Winthrop University. Wrote for finance industry publications, reported on the United Nations and worked in content strategy for a startup. Compiled two books entitled 50 Women, anthologies of personal stories from women all over the world who have exhibited strength and perseverance.

San Francisco internship: Reporting and analytics at the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Studying, winter 2017: NUvention Web+Media (entrepreneurship capstone); Investigative Reporting; Puerto Rico and Cuba: The Stories of Two Islands and Their Diaspora; Content Analytics; Magazine Mashup.

Quote: “The Medill media innovation program blends journalism with two other important disciplines: the business of media and how to build the technology for a media product. This program had everything I was looking for because it is cross-disciplinary.”

Devin Emory at his San Francisco internship

Devin Emory

Twitter: @DevinLeBeast | LinkedIn

Background: From Memphis, Tenn. B.A., African-American Studies, Morehouse College. Co-founder of Housesports LLC, a sports social-media platform.

San Francisco internship: Audience development,

Studying, winter 2017: Video Journalism; Sports & Society; Audience Insight.

Quote: “After Medill, I plan on being a full-time entrepreneur. I believe the lessons learned during my time in the program should propel my confidence in future endeavors.”

Henry Keyser at Northwestern | San Francisco

Henry Keyser

Twitter: @vrnalist | LinkedIn | Facebook

Background: From Chicago. B.A., Theatre, Florida State University. Worked as data manager at a Chicago parking company.

San Francisco internship: Product management at Outsell, a media and information industry research company.

Studying, winter 2017: NUvention Web+Media (entrepreneurship capstone); TV News Producing; Audience Insight.

Quote: “I can use my experience here to better understand people and advocate for products to address their needs.”

Wynona Latham at Northwestern | San Francisco

Wynona Latham

Twitter: @WKLatham | LinkedIn | Contently

Background: Grew up in South Africa. B.A., journalism, from Rhodes University. Parents are both journalists.

San Francisco internship: Marketing & communications, Color Genomics.

Studying, winter 2017: NUvention Web+Media (entrepreneurship capstone); Audience Insight; Content Analytics; Magazine Mashup; Personal Narrative.

Quote: “Our instructors have real-world experience and give us great insights into building a company. Although making the shift from journalism to media entrepreneurship has required a mental shift, I don’t feel left behind.”

Reedhima Mandlik at Salesforce, her internship site in San Francisco

Reedhima Mandlik

Twitter: @ReedhimaMandlik | LinkedIn

Background: From the Chicago suburbs. Double-majored in journalism and psychology at Northwestern University.

San Francisco internship: Content strategy and social marketing, Salesforce.

Studying, winter 2017: NUvention Web+Media (entrepreneurship capstone); Audience Insight; Internal Communications; Magazine Mashup.

Quote: “I feel that I’ve learned so much about design thinking, mobile web development, audience analytics and the business of innovation that I understand the needs of the tech industry and am better prepared to innovate and create for those needs.”

Vijeta Ojha at Northwestern | San Francisco

Vijeta Ojha

Twitter: @Vijeta_ojha | LinkedIn | Instagram

Background: From India. Undergraduate business degree from RTMNU in Nagpur. Accounting experience at two companies.

San Francisco internship: Content strategy and analytics for the Bay Area News Group.

Studying, winter 2017: NUvention Web+Media (entrepreneurship capstone); Business, Money and Markets Seminar; Content Analytics; Magazine Mashup; Social Dynamics & Network Analytics (Kellogg).

Quote: “Keeping my business and finance background in mind, and my passion for journalism, this specialization made a perfect fit.”

Jenny Sun at Advance Digital’s space in San Francisco

Mengyi (Jenny) Sun

Twitter: @MengyiJennySun | Linkedin | Instagram

Background: From China. Majored in broadcast journalism at the University of Southern California. Worked as a reporter at KSCI-TV and as a documentary producer in Los Angeles.

San Francisco internship: Digital content, social video and audience insights at Advance Digital, where she worked on The Tylt, a social voting platform.

Studying, winter 2017: NUvention Web+Media (entrepreneurship capstone); Knight Lab Studio; Audience Insight; International Business Strategy (Kellogg).

Quote: “This program is perfect for experienced journalists who love new media technology and want to become media entrepreneurs and product managers.”

Nikolas Wright at Northwestern | San Francisco

Nikolas Wright

Twitter: @Wrighteous | LinkedIn | Instagram

Background: From Cleveland, Ohio. B.A., English from Denison University. Former trade magazine editor, writer, corporate copywriter, and bike mechanic.

San Francisco internship: Digital content, Sunset magazine.

Studying, winter 2017: NUvention Web+Media (entrepreneurship capstone); Business, Money and Markets Seminar; Magazine and Interactive Journalism; Ethics & Law of Journalism

Quote: “We get to play in the same sandbox as those who are developing digital tools, launching companies and designing new storytelling platforms — all of which I predict will be hiring for jobs that journalists wouldn’t ordinarily consider.”

Ashley Zhang at her internship site,

Wanruo (Ashley) Zhang

Twitter: @ashleywanruo | LinkedIn | Facebook

Background: From China. B.A., Sociology, University of Michigan, where she co-founded a startup. Worked at

San Francisco internship: Content strategy at, “a tech startup that provides digital marketing services.”

Studying, winter 2017: NUvention Web+Media (entrepreneurship capstone); Knight Lab Studio; Content Analytics; Strategy Beyond Markets (Kellogg)

Quote: “What I appreciate most about this program is that it introduces us to how things work in the real world.”

Vivian Zhang at Northwestern | San Francisco

Qiqi (Vivian) Zhang

Twitter: @vivianqiqi621 | LinkedIn

Background: From China. Majored in international relations at Beijing Foreign Studies University. Four years as a broadcast news producer at China Central Television (CCTV).

San Francisco internship: Content strategy and social marketing at Penton Media.

Studying, winter 2017: NUvention Web+Media (entrepreneurship capstone); Digital Marketing Analytics (Kellogg); Content Analytics; Audience Insight; Business, Money and Markets Seminar.

Quote: “We worked in teams and learned how to do user research, define minimum viable products, develop prototypes and test them. All of these are critical to developing a successful media product. After graduation, I hope to take on the role of product manager to develop media products with innovative technology that address users’ needs.”

About the MSJ Media Innovation & Entrepreneurship Specialization:

Medill website | Video | Sign up for Medill Media Innovation newsletter | Rich Gordon’s guest column (Entrepreneurial Journalism Educators Network)



Richelle "Rich" Gordon
Medill Media Innovation & Content Strategy

Professor, media innovation & content strategy, Medill School, Northwestern U.