Phill Brooks

Welcome to the homepage of one of the few working public-policy journalists who also is a professionally trained computer programmer and network manager who writes computer programs, manages network systems and has consulted on journalism throughout the world.

I confess, I am a public policy addict having taken undergraduate and graduate courses in political science, political behavior, constitutional law, government budgeting and public administration.

I have been a government reporter on the federal and state level for almost my entire professional career and have won numerous national broadcast awards for documentary and investigative reporting on statehouse issues.

For nearly four decades, I've been the statehouse correspondent for KMOX Radio in St. Louis.

Until my retirement, I'd been a tenured faculty member directing the State Government Reporting Program of the University of Missouri School of Journalism based in Jefferson City which I founded as faculty member of the school in 1972.

I founded the state's press corps' organization, the Missouri Capitol News Association, which assigns statehouse resources allocated by government to the news media.

I'm also the founder and director of one of the world's first all-news websites, Missouri Digital News.

My students produced statehouse stories that were provided to newspaper, broadcast and online outlets throughout Missouri.

I may be the only faculty member to have worked in all of the school's daily newsrooms including my own statehouse news bureau (MDN), the Columbia Missourian, KOMU-TV, KBIA, and the school's Washingtion bureau where I covered Congress for NPR.

For most of my years with the school, I also have been the statehouse correspondent for KMOX Radio in St. Louis. Having covered Missouri government since 1970, making me dean of the statehouse press corps.

I'm also the founder and director of one of the world's first all-news websites, Missouri Digital News.

In 1972, I was appointed to the faculty of the Missouri School of Journalism to establish the school's State Government Reporting Program. I retired in 2015, but continued to supervise students as an emeritus faculty member for the next two years.

The program became the school's first, and as I write this, the only fully converged newsroom.

Just as importantly, my program taught students about public policy. My students interacted as journalists on a daily basis with legislators, statewide elected officials, agency heads, judges and lobbyists in covering stories for a wide array of outlets in Missouri.

As a result, many ended up in careers involving law, public adminstration and, yes, political consulting.

My own career has extended far beyond public policy journalism to include digitial technology innovations and international outreach and digital innovation. My accomplishments include:

I started my career as a broadcast journalist and have worked for KFRU Radio in Columbia, KLZ Radio/TV (now KMGH) in Denver and National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. where I covered Congress during the early stages of Watergate.

But my biggest lesson covering Congress for NPR was my biggest professional mistake. I missed what could have been one of the major Watergate stories. House Banking Committee Chair Wright Patman, one of my major sources, told me of a strange story about how CREP (Committee to Relect the President) was laundering money through off-shore countries for Watergate defendant payments.

I discounted his tale. No way, I thought, could a president of the U.S. and two of his former cabinet members would be involved in such a scheme. Beyond that, Patman was old enough that I distrusted what he was telling me.

My failure to pursue that story led to a couple of major lessons I would teach my journalism students. Don't discount something you're told, check it out. And don't dismiss information just because of the source's age or other demographic isssues.

Your screw ups often can be powerful lessons for your students, as I continued to realize during my decades teaching generations of future journalists.

While I was at NPR, the dean of the Missouri Journalism School recruited me to establish our state government reporting progam. The dean, the late Roy Fisher, agreed that I would be with the school just a year or two to get the program started and he would use his contacts to let me move on.

I had no interest in becoming a life-long academic. Roy, a former hard-nosed Chicago newspaper editor, understood my feelings and had the national journalism contacts to make sure leaving DC would not be a career setback.

But each year, Roy didn't want me to leave and I was having too much fun working with students covering the statehouse. Unlike what I found with the federal government, state government was not dysfunctional and top government officials were far eaiser to access.

Beyond that, Roy encouraged me in pursue my own statehouse reporting for CBS's KMOX. I think I remain the only journalism school faculty member who regularly reported for a major state outlet. It was a powerful demonstration to my students that I was teaching them what I was practicing.

In addition to my state government journalism responsibilities, I became very active in international journalism efforts. Countries in which I have assisted journalism efforts include Bosnia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, India, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan. I held a dual faculty appointments with the University of Navarra School of Public Communication in Pamplona, Spain, and the International School of Media and Entertainment Studies in Dehli, India.

I led the University of Missouri Global Scholars program in Spain to help MU faculty better understadn, among other issues, the conflict between between Christians and Moslems in the early years of Spain.

Immediately after collapse of the Iron Curtain, I became the first of my school's faculty to travel to Central Europe to assist development of journalism and journalism training in Eastern and Central Europe.

I helped found an international consortium of journalism schools to provide assistance to journalists and journalism educators in the Baltics and Poland. I also worked very closely with the journalism unions in southern Poland in development of a journalism support and training center.

Finally, I'm a computer system designer and programmer. Those efforts began when I developed the first newspaper pre-production computer system for a daily, general circulation newspaper. A few years later, I authored a research and development project with IBM that resulted in the largest research grant awarded to the University of Missouri system at that time. Through that project, I spent several years consulting with IBM, newspapers and newspaper system vendors on network and system design in the U.S. and Europe.

As part of those international computing efforts, I designed and installed the first journalism network system at the University of Navarra's Public Communication School under a grant from IBM Spain that I co-authored in collaboration with IBM Europe.

My current digital design focus is on development of NW2 (Newsroom without Walls). It's a completely Web-based system for news-story production and newsroom management. [an error occurred while processing this directive]