The New School to expand Journalism + Design program nationwide with $1.3 million from Knight Foundation – Knight Foundation

The New School to expand Journalism + Design program nationwide with $1.3 million from Knight Foundation

Initiative will open new opportunities for learning and networking to students and professional journalists across the country

NEW YORK – Oct. 17, 2016 – The New School announced today that it will help prepare the next generation of journalists to meet new information needs by working with universities nationwide to expand an innovative model for journalism education, rooted in its Journalism + Design program. The initiative is supported by $1.3 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which will be matched by The New School bringing the total to $2.6 million.

The New School’s Journalism + Design program, an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts, was launched in 2014 with Knight Foundation support under the leadership of Heather Chaplin, founder and director of the program. The curriculum integrates design thinking, an approach that incorporates feedback from users when developing new ideas, so audience needs are built into the innovation process. It equips students to be constantly aware of new ways to engage audiences with a focus on serious reporting and new platforms for news delivery.

With Knight funding, The New School will create a model for college educators across the country to use design thinking as part of their journalism programs. The university will share curriculums and syllabi and provide mentoring and collaboration opportunities. It will also develop learning opportunities for journalists across the country and expand the Journalism + Design program on its campus, positioning The New School as an innovation and design learning hub for professional journalists.

“We are thrilled to bring new models to universities and newsrooms, based on our Journalism + Design program, to generate new product ideas and accelerate and implement change in newsrooms,” said Stephanie Browner, dean of Eugene Lang College. “The program is at the forefront of journalism education. We are preparing our students to be change leaders in the industry and to meet the information needs of communities, while equipping working journalists with best practices for journalism in the digital age.”

“The rapidly changing media environment makes it essential for journalists to constantly explore what their audiences want and how to tell and deliver the best story,” said Shazna Nessa, Knight Foundation director for journalism. “By creating a model for journalism schools to integrate design thinking into their programs, The New School is helping to develop change leaders in the industry focused on producing excellent journalism that meets community information needs, while promoting innovation.”

Since it launched two years ago, the Journalism + Design program has become the fastest growing major at Eugene Lang College — from seven classes at launch to 26 classes today — in response to demand from students who recognize its value to their future careers. A network of professional journalists has grown around the program and its sold-out events, and newsrooms and classrooms alike have sought guidance on how to integrate the program into their work. Combining classes from the top design school in the country, Parsons School of Design, with the rigor of Eugene Lang College, students focus on the skills they will need to successfully innovate in an ever-changing media landscape.

“What we have achieved in the past two years has been extraordinary,” said Chaplin. “This generous grant will help us move beyond our undergraduate program at The New School and bring resources to working professionals, as well as help other schools build their own programs.”

The growth of the program at Eugene Lang College will involve hiring additional staff and launching new classes. Over the next three years, the program will expand beyond The New School through partnerships with other universities and increased learning opportunities for journalism professionals in many cities, including New York.

Funding for The New School is part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to support new models for journalism education and advance journalism excellence in the digital age. Knight is a major supporter of newsroom training, with projects including News University and the Online News Association Challenge Fund for Journalism Education, as well as journalism fellowship programs at Stanford University, the University of Michigan, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Insitute of Technology and Columbia University.

More information on the Journalism + Design degree program can be found at and

About The New School
Founded in 1919, The New School was born out of principles of academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. Committed to social engagement, The New School today remains in the vanguard of innovation in higher education, with more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students challenging the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The New School welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and calendar of lectures, screenings, readings, and concerts. Through its online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence. Learn more at

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit


Will Wilbur, PR Manager, The New School, [email protected], 212-229-5667, ext. 3990

Anusha Alikhan, Communications Director, Knight Foundation, [email protected], 305-908-2646