By: Joe Strupp
The Tow Family Foundation is providing $8 million worth of grants to Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, a joint release from both schools revealed Sunday.
The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism will receive a $3 million “challenge grant” to establish the Tow Center for Journalistic Innovation, which will study new business models for journalism and create “an incubator to help develop new journalistic products and services using Internet technologies,” the release stated. CUNY will be required to raise $3 million in matching funds in order to accept the grant.
The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism will receive a similar $5 million grant for curriculum development and new faculty to teach interactive journalism. Columbia will be required to raise another $10 million on a two-for-one matching basis to receive the donation.
?I have become increasingly worried that the quality of mainstream journalism will decline before the transition is made to the new media formats,? says Leonard Tow of the foundation. ?We want to help speed the process of evolution and help prepare the next generation of journalists for a new media environment. These two schools offer different approaches and I am confident that the work of the two centers will be complementary.?
“At the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, the Tow Center?s primary mission will be to educate the next generation of journalists who have the skills and knowledge to lead the future of professional journalism on the Internet and other forms of new media,” the release stated. “The center will focus on the interactions between journalists and readers, as citizens provide more reporting and commentary and readers seek ways to better understand the reliability, standards and credibility in new media.”
?This gift from The Tow Foundation reflects their vision of a journalism profession that evolves with changing demands and is based on sound research and cutting-edge innovation,? Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Graduate School at Columbia, said in a statement. ?Their generosity is also a reminder and a challenge to those in the field of journalism to turn the obstacles we face into opportunities for growth.?
The Tow Family 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,” the release stated. “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.”