Newmark J-school launches data journalism ‘equity’ campaign


The Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York is expanding its reach as a national data and investigative journalism leader by launching a major effort to train students from underrepresented backgrounds to become highly sought data reporters.

The Equity Through Data Project recently secured more than $600,000 in grants that will send selected students to work in local newsrooms — supporting emerging journalists with scholarships, competitive paid internships and post-graduate work opportunities. 

The longer-term goal is to establish the Equity Through Data Project as a student-powered data journalism hub that serves local newsrooms, making the Newmark J-School a model for data journalism education, training, and collaboration with news partners. 

“The Equity Through Data Project is the embodiment of the J-School’s mission: bringing greater representation to our profession while leading the way in an area of journalism that’s only become more crucial with the explosion of Artificial Intelligence technology,” said Dean Graciela Mochkofsky. “We’re extremely grateful to our funders and are looking forward to generating some high-impact journalism.”

“With AI and algorithmic bias creeping into so many facets of our lives, robust data journalism that draws strength from diversity is desperately needed,” said Professor Sandeep Junnarkar, founding director of the J-School’s renowned Data Journalism Program. “Yet many resourced-challenged newsrooms are lagging on hiring. This undertaking is poised to help produce a new generation of savvy data reporters — and help rebuild the sacred trust that strong journalism fosters.”

The Charles H. Revson Foundation recently awarded the J-School a $311,000 grant that will support a series of internships and post-graduate job opportunities, starting with dedicated slots for students at THE CITY and Documented. The grant, to be distributed over three years, will also fund data journalism training for newsrooms that are members of J-School’s Center for Community Media

“There’s no better place than the Newmark J-School to launch such an innovative effort to strengthen the city’s local news ecosystem,” said Julie Sandorf, president of the Charles H. Revson Foundation. “We’re thrilled to be supporting this crucial project and expanding the Foundation’s commitment to the next generation of local journalists.”

The J-School also recently received a $300,000 grant from The New York Community Trust-Reznick Family Giving Fund to bolster these efforts.

Fundraising is ongoing to build the project into a professionally supervised data journalism hub where students will serve local newsrooms by helping find and analyze government and other data. The goal: to foster strong, equity-based accountability reporting that benefits all New Yorkers. 

The Data Through Equity Project is spearheaded by Junnarkar and Jere Hester, the J-School’s director of editorial projects and partnerships. Both are working closely with Center for Community Media Executive Director Mikhael Simmonds.

“Data equity is essential for community reporting,” Simmonds said. “We’re committed to helping our members use data to tell stories that reflect their community’s needs, aspirations and voice.”

The J-School’s media partners expressed similar sentiments.

“Data journalism has been integral to THE CITY’s mission to help New Yorkers understand their communities and hold people in power to account,” said Richard Kim, editor-in-chief of THE CITY. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with the Newmark J-School to make sure that the people behind this work represent New York’s diverse communities.”

“Data stories can have far-reaching impact, helping us engage and drive change for immigrant communities,” said Max Siegelbaum, Documented’s co-executive director. “We’re excited to be a part of this program.”

Students in the J-School’s incoming Class of 2024 can apply for the Equity Through Data Project during their first semester. Those selected will be awarded scholarship support and paid summer internships at partner news outlets. They’ll also become eligible for subsequent paid school-year internships and paid post-grad work opportunities.

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’s media capital. 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 an M.A. in Journalism, M.A. in Engagement Journalism, and M.A. in Journalism — Bilingual Program (English/Spanish).


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