Mike has been a lecturer in data and digital journalism at the University of Illinois Chicago for the past six years and is an SPJ Digital Tools Trainer in the Google News Initiative training program. He also owns Penny Press Digital, LLC, a digital consulting company.

Mike has trained more than 12,000 journalists, students and teachers in digital tools since 2016, speaking at conferences, journalism schools and in newsrooms in 41 states. He has done more than 370 trainings in the Google program and dozens more for other clients such as Gannett.

In 2015 and 2016, Mike was the director of digital production and professor of practice at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. He and his digital production students rebuilt, updated and produced multimedia, mobile stories and data visualizations for Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS. His group also built the Carnegie-Knight News21 Weed Rush and Nicaragua: Channeling the Future sites.

He taught several classes over 6 1/2 years as a faculty member at DePaul University, including Reporting for Converged Newsrooms, Online Journalism I, Online Journalism II, Mobile Journalism, News Editing and Multiplatform News Editing. In winter 2011, he launched The Red Line Project with students in his Online Journalism II class. The site won many national and regional awards — including honors from ONA and Editor & Publisher. His UIC students continue to publish to it today.

He also served as founder and faculty adviser the SPJ/ONA DePaul student organization. The group was named the 2013 and 2011 SPJ National Campus Chapter of the Year, Region 5 Campus Chapter of the Year three times and was DePaul University’s 2012 Outstanding Student Organization. Reilley was named DePaul’s Outstanding Faculty Adviser in 2012 and won SPJ’s David Eshelman Award for Outstanding Campus Adviser in 2013.

Mike is a former reporter and copy editor at the Los Angeles Times and was one of the founding editors of He’s a former digital news editor at and helped run the 2000 Summer Olympics copy desk for AOL. Mike also founded the journalism research site, The Journalist’s Toolbox , which he sold to the Society of Professional Journalists in 2007 and continues to update for SPJ. He also blogged about the Chicago Bears for two seasons on the NFL Blog Blitz site.

Mike has more than 2,500 bylined stories as a professional reporter, covering teams such as the Los Angeles Rams, Anaheim Angels, Chicago Cubs, college sports and recruiting. He has written for MediaShift’s EducationShift page, and had an article published in 2003 in the Columbia Journalism Review about incorporating computer-assisted reporting and research cross-curriculum.

Mike has a master’s degree in journalism/newspaper-media management from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He graduated at the top of his class at Medill and received the Harrington Award, the school’s highest academic honor. He taught full-time at Medill from 1997 to 2000. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he was editor of his college newspaper, The Daily Nebraskan.

You can reach Mike on Twitter @journtoolbox or through his LinkedIn bio. Medium posts and practice for his class: | Email:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s