Tow, Knight Grants Kickstart CUNY’s Entrepreneurial Journalism Program

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By: E&P Staff

The City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism said it will establish an intensive program in entrepreneurial journalism with the creation of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism and the country’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, Conn., and $3 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, supplemented by foundation grants and in-kind contributions of staff and technology from CUNY’s journalism school.

“Concerned about the fate of print journalism in the digital age and the impact of its decline on the health of our democracy,” the Tow Foundation challenged CUNY to “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, Executive Director Emily Tow Jackson said in a statement. “We are delighted that the Knight Foundation has stepped forward to join us.”

To open next month, the Center will work to create a sustainable future for quality journalism by educating students and mid-career journalists in innovation and business management, researching relevant topics, such as new business models for news, and developing 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 BusinessWeek editor-in-chief. Author of What Would Google Do?, Jarvis already teaches a course in entrepreneurial journalism and has done Knight-supported research on new business models for news.

In conjunction with the Tow-Knight Center, CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism plans to launch a Master of Arts degree in entrepreneurial journalism — a two-year program for select students, adding business training and research to the school’s existing three-semester master’s degree in journalism. Students will be trained to launch their own enterprises or work within traditional media companies.

Courses for the new degree, to 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. The first entrepreneurial degrees are expected to be awarded in spring of 2012, to students currently enrolled in the 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.

Jarvis’s existing course in entrepreneurial journalism has encouraged several graduates to start businesses. The School also has held conferences on the topic and is working with The New York Times and on hyperlocal content and business models in Brooklyn.

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