Miranda Mulligan to head Knight Lab

EVANSTON, Ill., June 28, 2012 — Miranda Mulligan, a seasoned innovator in journalism, education and news web design, has been named executive director of Northwestern University's Knight News Innovation Laboratory. The lab, which brings together journalists and computer scientists, aims to develop innovative technologies to be used by journalists, publishers and citizens locally, in the U.S. and abroad.

Miranda Mulligan

"This is an incredible team to be joining, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to further my exploration of innovative storytelling and publishing techniques," said Mulligan, who is currently the design director for digital at The Boston Globe. “Chicago is an inspirational city with a burgeoning news innovation community not to be ignored. It is such a stimulating time to be working in this area, and I'm excited for the chance to build on the great foundation that the current team has established.”

Mulligan will serve as the lab's executive director effective July 23. As design director for digital at The Boston Globe / boston.com she has focused on the intersection of journalism and technology. She is a designer and educator with more than 10 years of experience in print and web design, photography and information graphics reporting.

In 2011, Mulligan led the responsive web design approach to The Boston Globe’s new site – BostonGlobe.com – a design and development practice that allows content to be where users are, no matter their device; it takes full advantage of the web browser, which is the most popular app on any device. The site was named World’s Best Designed Website for 2011 by the Society of News Design.

Mulligan has also worked for The Virginian-Pilot, interned with The Sun-Sentinel and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and she has also volunteered with the Online News Association, Virginia Press Association, the National Press Photographers Association and the Society for News Design.

The Knight News Lab is a joint initiative of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. The Lab was established in 2011 and is supported by a $4.2 million grant from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“Miranda Mulligan has a wonderful background to lead the Knight Lab,” said John Lavine, dean of Medill.  “Her experience leading the Globe’s responsive-design project demonstrated her extraordinary skill managing projects that involve journalists and technologists, while also accomplishing real business goals.  She is also widely respected in the growing community of innovators in media and journalism, which Knight Foundation has done so much to build.”

Julio M. Ottino, dean of the McCormick School, said: "The Knight Lab serves as a catalyst for work at the intersection of computer science and journalism. This intersection is a unique strength at Northwestern, and Miranda Mulligan’s appointment will ensure that the lab continues to develop new, innovative media tools that incorporate new technologies to meet the needs of both media companies and their audiences."

Since its launch last year, the Knight Lab has produced a diverse mix of technology innovations relevant to media and journalism.  For example:

  • CongressionalPrimaries.org – a website providing coverage of 25 contested elections for Congress in Illinois, featuring aggregated news from multiple sources, an analysis of the candidates’ Twitter activity, and data about campaign contributions.
  • TimelineJS – a free, open-source tool for journalists and publishers that makes it easy to create attractive displays of stories that take place over time.
  • NATOinChicago.com – a news resource about the NATO summit in Chicago in May, providing news from top sources around the world and content from tweets about the summit and the protests that took place during the event.
  • Babl – a mobile application that is currently under development that provides a novel interface for sharing and tracking tweets on particular topics.


For a list of projects developed by the Knight Lab, visit: https://knightlab.northwestern.edu/projects/

Mulligan succeeds Michael Silver, who served as the Lab's first executive director and has left to pursue other opportunities.

About the author

Ryan Graff

Communications and Outreach Manager, 2011-2016

Journalism, revenue, whitewater, former carny. Recently loving some quality time @KelloggSchool.

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