Phill Brooks

Welcome to the homepage of one of the few working 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 have been a government reporter on the federal or 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 and a tenured member of the Mo. Journalism School faculty.

Having covered Missouri government since 1970, I am dean of the statehouse press corps. 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.

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.

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

Unlike students in the school's traditional newsrooms where they showed up in a medium-specific outlet, my students produced and particated in production of stories for every medium -- regardless of the medium-specific course in which they were enrolled.

As you might expect, it created tensions in the school among some.

Instead of a medium focus, under my direction the Journalism School's State Government Reporting Program focused on teaching journalism students in public policy journalism.

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.

More importantly, they were taught about public-policy subjects that can empower a government reporter including constitutional law, budgeting, administrative processes, government auditing and much more.

By way of background, 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 Washington bureau.

But my career has extended far beyond public policy journalism to include digital 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.

While I was at NPR, the dean of the Missouri Journalism School recruited me to establish the State Government Reporting Program. Roy Fisher, agreed that I would be with the school just a year or two to get the program started and he then 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 easier to access.

Roy passed many years ago, but I continued to follow his vision of an independent, converged newsroom.

That independent focus on what was important to the state aggrivated many at the Journalism School. But I kept remembering Roy's admonishment to me that "hell" it wasn't worth establishing a statehouse newsroom if it just became an extended local news room. "

In addition to my state government journalism responsibilities, I have become very active in international journalism efforts. Countries in which I have worked to assist journalism development include Bosnia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, India, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan.

I also have 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, which I helped found.

Immediately after collapse of the Iron Curtain, I pursued a number of efforts to assist development of journalism and journalism training in Eastern and Central Europe. I founded an international consortium of journalism schools to provide assistance to journalists and journalism educators in the Baltics and Poland.

I also worked with the journalism unions in southern Poland in development of a journalism support and training center. These efforts began when I became the first member of the school's faculty (along, again, with my dear colleague Brian Brooks) to travel to Central Europe after collapse of the Iron Curtain.

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 proposal to 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.

As for now, as I write this bio, I still continue to cover Missouri government on a very part-time basis for KMOX. And, I continue to maintain the unique databases of MDN. [an error occurred while processing this directive]