The Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York on Thursday set itself on a pioneering path toward free tuition for all of its students with the announcement of a $10 million launch gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies (CNP).
The gift boosts the Newmark J-School’s core endowment to $30 million and will allow half the class starting in August 2025 to study for free. The school aims to raise an additional $30 million from donors by the end of 2026, its 20th anniversary year, to become the first top-tier graduate journalism school in the United States to offer fully free tuition in perpetuity to its entire student body.
“If we believe journalism is public service, a service that is essential to our democracy, then we need to eliminate the barriers that stand between the people who want to go into journalism and a successful career in news media,” said Graciela Mochkofsky, dean of the Newmark J-School. “The first barrier is a lack of access to an excellent journalism education, and the Newmark J-School is determined to lead the way in eliminating it. Our beleaguered industry and profession demand it.”
As part of Newmark J-School’s efforts to enhance access, the institution took a historic step this past year by awarding full-tuition scholarship support to 25% of the Class of 2024, while another 65% received partial scholarships. This year, for the first time, the school waived application fees for the incoming Class of 2025, giving students the opportunity to apply no matter their financial situation.
The Newmark J-School serves the public interest by training aspiring journalists from varied economic, racial and cultural backgrounds and by bringing much-needed diversity to newsrooms. Founded in 2006, as the digital revolution began to reshape the news industry, the school continuously innovates its curriculum as AI and other emerging technologies further disrupt the media landscape and the work of journalists.
In 2018, Craig Newmark Philanthropies donated $20 million to the school’s foundation. In honor of the gift, the school was renamed after Craig Newmark in 2019 by the CUNY Board of Trustees.
“Trustworthy journalism plays a crucial role in protecting our country from bad actors at home and abroad,” said Craig Newmark, web pioneer and founder of the website craigslist. “Now more than ever we rely on the media to report the truth, hold the powerful accountable, and deliver information that empowers our communities. No school is better than CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism at training the next generation of journalists to meet this responsibility. For nearly 200 years, CUNY has been the pathway to the middle class for students who grew up like me. A tuition-free CUNY Journalism School opens the door to journalism jobs for students of all backgrounds, while helping to ensure that our local and national media outlets reflect the communities journalists serve.”
As part of the City University of New York, the largest engine of social mobility and civic engagement in the city, the Newmark J-School keeps a strong focus on local news coverage. Its programs include a unique engagement journalism program, a center for community media that serves immigrants and people of color as well as a groundbreaking initiative that trains journalists fluent in Spanish and English on changing the narrative around Latino communities.
“CUNY’s excellent Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism attracts talented and diverse students who represent every stratum of our socioeconomic spectrum. This landmark gift ensures more doors of opportunity will open at our university,” said Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “Kudos to Dean Mochkofsky and her team for the hard work they’ve done to deepen the school’s impact as it approaches two decades of service, and many thanks to Craig Newmark Philanthropies for its generous and sustained support, which has meant so much to the School, its students and the communities these future journalists will go on to cover.”
Newmark J-School’s tuition-free initiative is the signature element in a broader capital campaign to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Other funds raised will be used to achieve goals that include establishing new endowed chairs and initiatives to innovate around new technologies, to rebuild public trust in the news media, to train journalists to be safe in an increasingly adversarial environment, and to prepare business leaders to lead local news organizations.
About the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY:
The Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, founded in 2006, is a public graduate journalism school based in the heart of New York City. With affordable tuition and extensive scholarship support, it prepares students from diverse economic, racial and cultural backgrounds to produce high-quality journalism. The school offers 16-month master’s degree programs: M.A. in Journalism, M.A. in Engagement Journalism, and M.A. in Journalism — Bilingual Program (English/Spanish). Through the school’s J+ division, which offers a suite of executive training programs, the J-School trains seasoned journalists to reimagine news business models, build news products, and step into leadership roles with an entrepreneurial mindset. The Newmark J-School is also home to four unique centers and initiatives: the McGraw Center for Business Journalism; the Center for Community Media; the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism; and the Journalism Protection Initiative.
About Craig Newmark Philanthropies:
Craig Newmark is a web pioneer and philanthropist, best known for creating the online classified ads service craigslist. His full-time philanthropic work focuses on organizations on the frontlines of protecting America’s security and democracy. He has given more than $300 million in support of veterans and military families, trustworthy journalism and civic engagement campaigns, cyber security education programs, hunger relief, and pigeon rescue. Newmark was influenced by his Sunday School teachers who escaped the Holocaust, set his moral compass, and taught him to treat people like you want to be treated — and how to know when enough is enough. He stepped away from the day-to-running of craigslist almost two decades ago, but he still occasionally volunteers as a customer service representative.
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