Tow Center for Digital Journalism
The Tow Center for Digital Journalism, established in early 2010, provides journalists with the skills and knowledge to lead the future of digital journalism and serves as a research and development center for the profession as a whole.
Under the direction of Emily Bell — formerly the director of digital content for Britain’s Guardian News and Media — the Center will devise and publicize innovative methods of digital reporting and presentation, serving both established and new media companies. The Center explores how the development of technology is changing journalism, its practice and its consumption -- particularly as consumers of news seek ways to judge the reliability, standards and credibility of information.
In her new role, Bell will teach graduate students; collaborate with and study news organizations; develop new models for creating and delivering information along with business innovations to support those models; oversee original scholarly research; and advise on how to raise additional funds through research, program grants and gifts.
Bell will also help oversee the new dual-degree Master of Science Program in Computer Science and Journalism with Columbia’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. These students will receive highly specialized training in the digital environment, enabling them to develop technical and editorial skills in all aspects of computer-supported news gathering and digital media production.
The Tow Center officially launched on Oct. 19, 2010. Opening remarks were made by Martin Nisenholtz, the senior vice president of digital operations at The New York Times. Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center, delivered a keynote address about her vision for the future of the profession and took questions from the audience. Dean Nicholas Lemann and Columbia University President Lee Bollinger also addressed the gathering of journalists and students at Columbia Journalism School.
The first article of research from the Tow Center, released in September 2010, delves into the many traffic metrics that confront online news sites and provides insight into how those numbers affect everything from advertising models to editorial decisions.
In January 2010, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism announced that it had completed a $10 million match to help establish the Tow Center for Digital Journalism. This amount fulfilled the requirements established by The Tow Foundation, which in February 2008 made a $5 million pledge to create a center dedicated to the teaching and research of professional journalism in digital and emerging media at the Journalism School.
The Tow Foundation supports innovative projects and collaborative ventures where there is a shortage of both public and private funding and opportunities for breakthroughs, reforms and significant benefits to society. Significant investments have been made in areas of groundbreaking medical research, the performing arts, and higher education, as well as vulnerable families and juvenile justice system reform.
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