Natasha Veeser
William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications

School of Journalism hires news veteran to oversee student media operations

Mon, 07/29/2013

LAWRENCE — The School of Journalism has hired award-winning news veteran Brett Akagi to manage its student media operations, including KUJH-TV and the University Daily Kansan. Akagi owns his own media company and most recently was the assistant news director at KSHB-TV in Kansas City.

“I am excited to be a part of the journalism school at KU,” Akagi said. “They have a rich, long history, and the school has turned out some great journalists, in both print and broadcast. I am looking forward to helping out the next generation coming out of KU.”

Akagi’s career includes three years as the assistant news director at KSHB-TV in Kansas City and two years as the senior video producer in the multimedia department at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Akagi served as the director of photography for a decade at KARE-TV in Minneapolis, and he worked as a photographer at WDAF-TV in Kansas City, WIBW-TV in Topeka and KSNC-TV in Great Bend. He also worked at KGNO Radio in Dodge City.

“We look forward to being able to put Brett’s experience, knowledge, passion for journalism and working with up-and-coming journalists to use within our school,” said Ann Brill, dean of journalism. “He will provide a great opportunity for our students to improve their skills and prepare to enter the competitive and changing world of professional journalism.”

Scott Reinardy, news and information track chair and associate professor of journalism, says Akagi brings extensive professional experience in both newspaper and television news, making him an ideal media director.

“He clearly understands the needs of TV news and newspapers, the specialization of each and the intersection of the two,” Reinardy said. “Brett will create a synergy between KUJH-TV and the University Daily Kansan that will truly benefit the students.”

Akagi will be tasked with providing students with the knowledge and skills to be job ready. He will help the school and its students adapt to a media profession that is dramatically changing.

“This new position provides a more realistic view of the working environment our students will enter,” Reinardy said. “It holds true to the commitment to multimedia journalism and provides the students the opportunity to seek out specialization."

As Akagi makes another transition in his award-winning career, which includes 21 Regional Emmys and regional and national Edward R. Murrow and National Press Photographers Association awards, he says he looks forward to continuing the school’s commitment to providing professional media experiences to the students.

“I really don't care what you get into as long as you’re passionate about it and as long as you work hard,” Akagi said. “I want students to find the passion for what they do so they can work hard, learn and be prepared when they hit the streets.”

Matt Menzenski, a graduate student in Slavic languages & literatures, took this photo during President Obama’s speech at KU Thursday. Menzenski says he was struck by how relaxed the president was in his delivery. He missed a chance to hear former President Bill Clinton speak in his hometown in 2004, but finally got to see a sitting president this week at KU. “The opportunity to hear the president speak is just one of many great opportunities I've had at KU. So many interesting talks and events happen here all the time. I try to attend at least one a week-- it's never hard to find something interesting to go to.” Tags: University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences KU School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures KU Dept of Slavic Languages - Friends & Alumni Barack Obama The White House #exploreKU #POTUSatKU

#KUfacts : There are 30+ tenant companies in the Bioscience & Technology Business Center at KU. #growKS
Explore KU: The Bells of Mount Oread KU’s Campanile, a 120-foot-tall timepiece that tolls automatically on the hour and quarter-hour, not only sounded in the 2015 New Year at midnight with 12 mighty gongs, but also regularly rings up memories for many Jayhawks – the 277 faculty and students who gave their lives during World War II, the graduates who walk through its doors at commencement, and aspiring students who have strolled through the Lawrence campus. (See For nearly 60 years, KU’s 53-bell carillon has been tolling the sounds of peace and serenity across Mount Oread since it was installed in June 1955 inside the landmark World War II Memorial Campanile, which was dedicated in 1951. (See The carillon is also a four-octave musical instrument, which is played with a giant keyboard and foot pedals. University Carillonneur Elizabeth Egber-Berghout (, associate professor of carillon and organ, climbs 77 steps up a spiral staircase in the bell tower to perform recitals several times a month.

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