Being a “lifelong learner” has a special significance for John Misner, whose formal education caught up to his career several years ago when he earned a bachelor’s degree from ASU.
Now the president and general manager of 12 News (KPNX-TV) and the chief operating officer of Republic Media, Misner’s early college career at UCLA was cut short in the mid-1970s when he was hired as sales manager for a radio station. His star rose quickly, and the talented executive moved up through the Gannett organization in Minneapolis and Atlanta, landing in Phoenix in 2002.
Before deciding to complete his undergraduate degree via the university’s Bachelor of Liberal Studies program, he never imagined he’d be downloading ASU classwork on a US Airways flight to Virginia, or writing a term paper in a New York hotel room. He hadn’t anticipated rushing to the ASU Computing Commons on his lunch hour, bent over a computer in a suit and tie as a group of young students tutored him in designing web pages and writing code.
“It was exhilarating,” says Misner. “The TV station was moving quickly into the digital age at that time, and I was creating a new role in my job.” He walked down the aisle for graduation at Wells Fargo Arena one month into the merger of the Arizona Republic and KPNX-TV.
Though the timing was good, Misner’s goal in going back to college was simply to broaden his knowledge, studying political science and immigration, two areas of interest that also were hot topics in the news. Today he is blazing new territory, overseeing the only Gannett operation in the country that combines a print newspaper, TV station and digital news platform.
He’s a strong ASU supporter, serving as president of the board of trustees for the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. His organization hires about 80 ASU student journalists as interns each year, who work on breaking news teams, write stories, monitor Twitter, and dispatch news crews. His oldest son graduated from ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business and Barrett, the Honors College in May.
“My son already has a job lined up, three months before graduation. Many of the journalism grads have jobs upon graduation. That says a lot for ASU,” Misner asserted.