The City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism announced today it will establish the nation’s most intensive program in entrepreneurial journalism with the creation of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism and the nation’s first Master of Arts degree in Entrepreneurial Journalism.
The $10 million Tow-Knight Center will receive $3 million in funding from The Tow Foundation of Wilton, Connecticut, and $3 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, supplemented by additional foundation grants and in-kind contributions of staff and technology from the CUNY J-School.
"At The Tow Foundation, we became concerned about the fate of print journalism in the digital age and the impact of its decline on the health of our democracy," said Executive Director Emily Tow Jackson. "We challenged the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism to seek and devise solutions to protect and maintain journalistic standards and to be an incubator for the development of viable economic models for the new digital media. We are delighted that the Knight Foundation has stepped forward to join us in supporting this important work."
“Everyone knows the economics of journalism are changing,” said Eric Newton, vice president of the Knight Foundation’s journalism program. “Not everyone has good ideas about how to cope with this. CUNY does. It wants to lead the emerging field of entrepreneurial journalism, to give students skill sets in the fields of both journalism and business.”
The Center, which opens next month, will work to create a sustainable future for quality journalism in three ways:
- Education of students and mid-career journalists in innovation and business management;
- Research into relevant topics, such as new business models for news;
- Development of new journalistic enterprises.
Professor Jeff Jarvis, who directs the School’s interactive program, will head the Center, reporting to Founding Dean Stephen B. Shepard, former editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek. Professor Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do? already teaches a course in entrepreneurial journalism and has done Knight-supported research on new business models for news, which he presented at the Aspen Institute last summer.
In conjunction with the Tow-Knight Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism plans to launch a new Master of Arts degree in Entrepreneurial Journalism, the first ever. It will be a two-year program for select students, adding business training and research to the School’s existing three-semester M.A. degree in Journalism. Students will be trained to launch their own enterprises or work within traditional media companies.
Faculty members are developing courses for the new M.A. degree. The courses, which will be pilot-tested next spring, are expected to teach business and management skills, the new dynamics of news and media economics, and technology and project management, with apprenticeships at New York startups. Upon approval by the New York State Education Department, the first entrepreneurial degrees are expected to be awarded in the spring of 2012, to students currently enrolled in the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
The School also plans to open the courses to mid-career professional journalists who would earn a new Certificate in Entrepreneurial Journalism upon completion of the program.
“With our emphasis on new technology and our research experience in new business models for news, we believe we can help build a sustainable future for journalism,” said Dean Shepard. “What Stanford and MIT bring to the technology industry in nurturing innovation, we believe journalism also needs. We hope to meet that need with the Tow-Knight Center.”
Shepard said the Tow-Knight Center is a natural outgrowth of the School’s work in new business models for news and entrepreneurship. Last year, the School did pioneering research on a new approach to local news (available at http://newsinnovation.com/models). Professor Jarvis’s existing course in entrepreneurial journalism has encouraged several graduates to incubate new businesses. The School has also held three conferences on the topic and is working with The New York Times and Patch.com on hyperlocal content and business models in Brooklyn.
“We are optimists about the future of journalism,” Professor Jarvis said. “We tell our students they will build that future. To help them do that, we realized we have to give them the ability to create and run new products and new companies. We must train not just journalists but entrepreneurial journalists.”
For further information, please contact Stephen B. Shepard, Founding Dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, at 646-758-7816; Emily Tow Jackson, executive director of The Tow Foundation, at 203-761-6604; or
About the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism opened in August 2006, the first publicly supported graduate school of journalism in the
About The Tow Foundation:
The Tow Foundation was established in 1988 by Leonard and Claire Tow and makes grants that provide leverage to the recipients, making possible things that are far greater than what could be achieved alone. Investments focus on support of innovative programs in the areas of groundbreaking medical research, the performing arts, higher education and vulnerable children and families, with a concentrated initiative on juvenile justice reform. For more information, visit www.towfoundation.org
About the John S. and James L Knight Foundation:
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since 1950, the foundation has granted more than $400 million to advance quality journalism and freedom of expression. The Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed and engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more information, visit www.knightfoundation.org.
About the City University of New York:
The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847 as The Free Academy, the University’s 23 institutions include 11 senior colleges, six community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies, and the CUNY School of Public Health. The University serves 260,000 academic credit students and 269,808 adult, continuing, and professional education students. Please visit the University’s web site: www.cuny.edu.
Stephen B. Shepard
Phone (646) 758-7816
Fax (646) 758-7809
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.