The Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program trains leaders of the world’s most respected news organizations and promising media start-ups to lead innovation and solve strategic business challenges in a time of rapid transformation, uncertainty, and opportunity. Fellows use the 21-week program to launch, accelerate, and implement a real-world project that is critical to the mission of their organizations and integrated into their day-to-day work. The program begins with a two-week intensive at Columbia Journalism School January 2-12, 2024. Fellows then return to their organizations to immediately implement what they learned and are supported through a weekly virtual cohort meeting and one-on-one coaching. The program culminates back at Columbia for a final week-long intensive, including final project presentations, May 20-24, 2024.
Fellows in this five-month low-residency program spend three weeks at Columbia Journalism School in New York City, starting with a 10-day residency from January 02-12, 2024. Fellows then work on their project and assignments back at their organizations and attend a weekly virtual cohort meeting. Fellows return for one final week of residency, May 20-24, 2024.
Note: In-person sessions will adhere to CDC Covid-19 safety guidelines as well as all Covid-19 regulations and protocols required by New York City and Columbia University. Should any of these public health measures prevent in-person instruction, programming will be held virtually.
We focus on:
Leadership and Building a Culture of Innovation
Venture Design Innovation Process
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Audience and Trends
Marketing and Strategy
Negotiations and Pitching
Each fellow is required to bring to the program an individual project of strategic importance to their news organization and of critical importance to their own role.
What Sets the Program Apart
News executives no longer have the luxury of a full year to work on a project. The Sulzberger Program serves as an accelerator for mission-critical projects delivered at a pace that maximizes project success and real-world impact. Participants experience a year's worth of executive education in a focused, concentrated 21-week timeframe.
Innovation-Focused For executives in journalism navigating an industry facing constant disruption, traditional management training won’t suffice. Media industry leaders need to build cultures and create processes within their media companies that don’t just help them come up with “the next big thing,” but enables the organization to understand and anticipate the changing needs of their audiences, experiment with emerging technologies, and seek sustainable business models as the world rapidly changes beneath their feet. They need to proactively recognize opportunities for innovation and persuade their stakeholders for the resources to pursue them. The Sulzberger Program specifically focuses on building leaders who will thrive under these conditions.
Experiential Learning with Immediate Organizational Impact Leaders learn by doing. The Sulzberger Program, redesigned in 2020, maximizes personal growth, retention, and real-world applicability through active, experiential learning. Our unique venture design boot camp is an immersive experience that has fundamentally transformed how executives approach building and leading their organizations. Our project focus means that participants create measurable outcomes throughout the term by working on regular assignments and checking in with faculty, ensuring that what they learn in the classroom translates to their newsroom.
Leverages Columbia, Industry, and Alumni Networks The Sulzberger Program leverages the assets of Columbia University, pulling instructors from the Columbia Journalism and Business Schools, drawing industry innovators working in one of the world’s great media capitals, and tapping into the powerful Columbia Journalism School and Sulzberger alumni networks. This community gives Sulzberger Fellows a broad perspective and powerful network as they take their place leading innovation in media and journalism.
How It Works
Week 1: The program begins with a five-day immersive project-based Venture Design Bootcamp at our New York City campus. Over the course of the week, fellows form small teams and build a new venture from scratch, learning both the process of building a business as well as the elements that need to come together to make a venture successful. This experiential learning also begins to turn a group of strangers into a cohort built on trust and authenticity that extends well beyond the course.
Week 2: The program moves from the bootcamp model into workshops, case studies, and guest speaker events that dive deeper into concepts introduced in the first week. Led by Columbia Journalism and Business School faculty, topics include: Leadership, Interpersonal Dynamics, Marketing, Strategy, Negotiations, and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion. Week Two ends with our first Design Review, where Fellows are able to fail fast and get feedback on their projects from the other members of the cohort.
Weeks 3-20: Fellows return to their newsrooms and begin to apply the lessons learned. The fellows complete two-week sprints, in which they interrogate, test, and apply learnings to their own projects, using the same set of topics that they used in week one. Fellows have a weekly virtual meeting that rotates between getting feedback on their project deliverables and having intimate conversations with industry leaders. Fellows also have one-on-one coaching sessions with the Director.
Week 21: The final week is back in New York City for final project presentations that prepare the fellows to seek support and resources from key stakeholders at their organizations. Fellows also visit with senior leaders at various NYC-based journalism institutions to see how the concepts they have learned throughout the course are applied in C-level roles.
Who Should Attend
The Program is designed for senior and rising newsroom and business-of-news practitioners. Our fellows come from a wide variety of news organizations, from the U.S. and internationally. We encourage organizations interested in fostering multidisciplinary collaboration to consider sending a team. We strongly encourage nominations of rising leaders from groups typically underrepresented in journalism.
Corey Ford, Director
Corey Ford joined Columbia in 2019 to redesign, run, and teach The Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program based on his extensive experience coaching and teaching media entrepreneurs and executives through his company, Matter Ventures.
From 2012 to 2019, Matter was an SF & NYC-based startup accelerator and venture capital firm grounded in the principles of design thinking that supported early-stage media entrepreneurs and mission-aligned media institutions. Prior to Matter, Corey built Runway, a pre-team, pre-idea incubator at Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors. He also taught design thinking innovation at the Stanford d.school. Ford began his career in journalism managing the production of 17 films for the PBS/WGBH series FRONTLINE for films that won an Emmy and a duPont-Columbia Gold Baton Award. He earned an MBA at Stanford, was a Kauffman Fellow, and was a Morehead Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Tuition is $20,000 for the complete program. Fees include course training, daily breakfast and lunches, and a few group dinners during the residency weeks. All other expenses, including travel and lodging, are the responsibility of participants and/or their sponsoring organizations. Participants can take advantage of Columbia discounts at area hotels.
The Sulzberger Fellowship is open to any leader in journalism and media from anywhere in the world to apply to directly. Most fellows are sponsored directly by their employer or by a donor to their employer. Available scholarships are listed below, and new scholarships may become available throughout the application period. Individuals without a sponsoring organization or relevant scholarship may also choose to apply directly and self-fund. We encourage all interested individuals to apply directly to the program regardless of their current sponsorship status.
Below are available scholarships that individual applicants can apply to directly. To apply to any scholarships, applicants should fill out the standard application by the standard timeline listed below, check the box for the scholarships they are interested in, and complete the supplemental questions about their eligibility for the scholarship(s).
The deadline for all scholarships is Oct. 15, 2023.
Note: This list will be updated as we add new scholarships. Applicants who have already completed an application will be notified of any new scholarships as they become available. If you would like to provide a scholarship, please reach out directly to the Program Director.
Google News Initiative (Underrepresented Leaders, Global)
Google News Initiative is sponsoring four scholarships for leaders from groups typically underrepresented in journalism to attend the 2022 Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program at Columbia Journalism School. Any leader in journalism across the world who self-identifies as being from a group typically underrepresented in journalism is eligible to apply. This scholarship covers tuition as well as travel costs to New York City for the residency weeks.
Application & Deadlines
Applications are now open and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The final deadline is Oct. 15, 2023. The cohort will be finalized no later than November 3, 2023. For international applicants, please see privacy notice: https://www.cuit.columbia.edu/privacy-notice
The application is a simple form that consists of 4 sections:
- Basic Information
- Demographic Information
- Application Questions
- Financial Considerations
Before you begin the form, you will want to prepare paragraph-length answers in English to the following 5 questions:
- Describe your current role and responsibilities in your organization.
(For context, please include who you lead and who you report to.)
- a) Paste a link to a project or work sample that you are proud to have significantly contributed to:
b) Tell us more about the link you just provided. Why are you proud of it? What was your role?
- Why do you want to be a Sulzberger Fellow?
- Describe your proposed Sulzberger Project.
(What problem are you trying to solve and why? What team, resources, and internal support for this project do you currently have? How much time can you spend on this project as part of your current job?)
- If your first choice of project were not to work out, what would you choose as an alternative project?
Once your application is reviewed, promising applicants will be selected for a virtual interview with Director Corey Ford.
Please expand for answers for commonly asked questions.
For international applicants, please see privacy notice: https://www.cuit.columbia.edu/privacy-notice
When should I plan to be in New York?
Classes at Columbia are held in January (ten class days) and May (five class days) for the 2024 cohort. The dates are January 2-12, 2024 and May 20-24, 2024.
What if COVID-19 makes travel and/or in-person instruction unsafe?
If, as we near the start of the program, conditions appear to be unsafe due to COVID-19, we will switch to online learning until it is safe to gather in person again.
I am concerned about privacy surrounding my work and my news organization. How do you address this?
We understand that the topics that this course takes on — revenue models, product development, resource allocation, teams building — speak directly to news organizations’ most serious concerns, and we respect a desire to keep this private. We have found that one of the most fruitful and rewarding elements of the program is what Fellows learn from their peers, and so we have a strict norm of respect, discretion, and confidentiality within the cohort.
I am unsure whether I have the "right" project for the program. Can I talk it over with you?
Don't worry about getting the project exactly right as part of your application. The iterative and feedback-driven nature of the program means that your project will evolve through the course of the program. The rapidly changing nature of the industry and the world means you may need to shift strategic focus along the way. That's what innovative leaders do. Do your best to come up with a primary project focus and a back-up project focus and articulate those in your application. As part of the interview process, you will talk through your project with the Program Director and get feedback on how to adjust it for the program. All projects should be strategically important to your organization and should be part of your day-to-day work during the course of your program. We are not interested in doing projects as an academic exercise.
My company is not currently sponsoring a fellowship. Can I still apply?
Yes. If you are interested in the program, you should apply directly, regardless of whether your company is currently sponsoring a fellow. If your application looks promising, we may be able to work with you to discuss this opportunity with your employer. We may also have additional scholarship opportunities that present themselves. Just make clear in your application whether you already have a financial sponsor and, if you are not able to obtain one, whether you are able to self-fund.
How much time will the Program Director be able to devote to my work?
All Fellows will have significant time with the Program Director. The Program Director will be teaching and/or facilitating every experience in the course and giving detailed feedback on each fellow's project. During the 18 weeks between program sessions, the Program Director will facilitate and/or teach each weekly virtual session. The Program Director will also hold one-on-one coaching sessions with each Fellow.
What if I have a vacation scheduled during the program?
All fellows are required to participate in the three intensive in-person weeks without exception. During the 17 weeks of weekly virtual classes, we expect that Fellows may miss one or two sessions due to vacations. Fellows should proactively communicate any potential scheduling conflicts in advance.
Where will I stay when in New York? Is there housing?
There is no housing associated with the course. Columbia University has relationships with many area hotels, many of which offer a preferential rate to those studying at the Journalism School. You can download a list of some of these options here. This list is not an endorsement.
I have food allergies and/or sensitivities. How will you handle this?
If you have dietary restrictions or sensitivities, please notify Director of Professional Programs, Kate Kennedy, regarding their nature before the program start date.
What type of diploma will I receive?
This is a non-degree program. You will receive a statement of attendance upon completion of the program.
Why is this called the Sulzberger Program?
In 2005, the sisters of the legendary New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs (“Punch”) Sulzberger honored their brother by investing in a program they hoped would encourage innovation and sustainability in the news business. In collaboration with Columbia Journalism School, they envisioned a program that would focus on solutions and would provide the leaders of the industry with the tools they need for sustained success. The Sulzberger Program launched its first class of Fellows in 2007.
With whom may I speak about the logistics of the program?
Please contact Kate Kennedy, Director, Professional Programs, at [email protected]
Our fellows are executives from all media platforms and business models, including for‐ and not‐for‐profit journalism. Learn more about our current class.
|Year||First Name||Last Name||
|2022||Shameel||Arafin||The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism|
|2022||Tyson||Evans||The New York Times|
|2022||Rachel||Fishman Feddersen||The Forward|
|2022||Hidenaka||Kato||Nikkei Europe Ltd., Nikkei Inc.|
|2022||Amy||King||The Los Angeles Times|
|2022||Rafael||Lama-Bonilla||El Nuevo Día / GFR Media|
|2022||Russell||Midori||Military Veterans in Journalism|
|2022||Shawn||Mooring||Lenfest Institute for Journalism|
|2022||Garry||Pierre-Pierre||The Haitian Times|
|2022||Andrew||Ramsammy||Local Media Association|
|2022||Dalit||Shalom||The New York Times|
|2022||Freek||Staps||ANP (Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau)|
|2022||Elite||Truong||The Washington Post|
|2021||Ernesto||Aguilar||National Federation of Community Broadcasters|
|2021||Lawrence||Bartley||The Marshall Project|
|2021||Tracy||Brown||Chicago Public Media/WBEZ|
|2021||Claudio E.||Cabrera||The New York Times|
|2021||Charo||Henríquez||The New York Times|
|2021||Hidenaka||Kato||Nikkei Europe Ltd.|
|2021||Samantha||McCann||Solutions Journalism Network|
|2021||Tina||Pamintuan||KALW Public Media|
|2021||Xanthe||Scharff||The Fuller Project|
|2021||Moira||Shourie||Zócalo Public Square|
|2021||Mary Margaret||White||Mississippi Today|
|2021||Kimi||Yoshino||Los Angeles Times|
|2020||Sarah||Ashworth||Vermont Public Radio|
|2020||Carla||Miranda||O Estado de São Paulo|
|2020||Sandra||Romandía||La Silla Rota|
|2020||Amanda||Rottier||The New York Times|
|2020||Jan||Schwalbe||Finanz und Wirtschaft|
|2020||Sam||Sifton||The New York Times|
|2018||Mark||Hansen||Columbia Journalism School|
|2018||Milind||Kamlakar Khandekar||ABP News Network|
|2018||Marc||Lacey||The New York Times|
|2018||Ximena||Leon de Campo||Grupo RPP|
|2018||Kristen||Muller||Southern California Public Radio|
|2018||Manuel||Delgado Nachtigall||Grupo RPP|
|2018||Michael||Reilly||MIT Technology Review|
|2018||Heidi||Robdrup||Danish Broadcasting Corporation|
|2018||Kevin||Sullivan||Reveal, Center for Investigative Reporting|
|2017||LaSharah||Bunting||The New York Times|
|2017||Max||Da Silva||The New York Times|
|2017||Frida||Delgado Nachtigall||Gruppo RPP|
|2017||Laura||Frank||Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting|
|2017||Jag||Sanger||AHG Pty, LTD|
|2016||Matt||Ericson||The New York Times|
|2016||Erin||Grau||The New York Times|
|2016||Mary||Walter-Brown||Voice of San Diego|
|2016||Irving||Washington||Online News Association|
|2015||Sam||Dolnick||The New York Times|
|2015||Michael||Freeman||The Orlando Sentinel and Forum Publishing Group|
|2015||Alex||Hardiman||The New York Times|
|2015||Camille||McDuffie||Columbia Global Reports|
|2015||Will||Pry||The Dallas Morning News|
|2015||Jon||Sawyer||Pullitzer Center on Crisis Reporting|
|2015||Charles||Sennott||The Ground Truth|
|2015||Susan||Smith Richardson||The Chicago Reporter|
|2014||Brenda||Breslauer||New York Public Media|
|2014||Stephen||Dunbar-Johnson||The New York Times Company|
|2014||Scott||Finn||West Virginia Public Broadcasting|
|2014||Susan||Mercandetti||Salt Point Strategies|
|2014||Nicki||Purcell||The Dallas Morning News|
|2014||Christa||Scharfenberg||Center for Investigative Reporting|
|2014||Michael||Slackman||The New York Times|
|2014||Christine||Souders||Columbia Journalism School|
|2014||Cheryl||Sullivan||The Christian Science Monitor|
|2013||Peter||Barthel||Vertical Media GmbH|
|2013||Rick||Berke||The New York Times|
|2013||Tom||Huang||The Dallas Morning News|
|2013||Mark||Katches||Oregonian Media Group|
|2013||Meredith||Kokos||Boston Globe Media|
|2013||Christopher||Ladd||The New York Times|
|2013||Nunzio||Michael Lupo||The Atlanta Journal-Constitution|
|2013||Amelia||Newcomb||The Christian Science Monitor|
|2013||Eric||Ulken||The Philadelphia Inquirer|
|2012||Adrian||Acosta||Journal Media Group|
|2012||David||Albright||ESPN Digital and Print Media|
|2012||Leona||Allen||The Dallas Morning News|
|2012||Clayton||Collins||The Christian Science Monitor|
|2012||Brian||Fallon||Distilled Media Group|
|2012||Baadur||Koplatadze||The Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management|
|2012||Michael||Manning||The Boston Globe|
|2012||Ellen||McDonnell||Ellen McDonnell Consulting|
|2012||Torrey||Oberfest||Hachette Book Group|
|2012||Michael||Shapiro||Columbia Journalism School|
|2012||Amy||Singer||Columbia Journalism School|
|2012||Achilles||Tsaltas||The New York Times|
|2011||Karen||Bordeleau||The Providence Journal|
|2011||Neill||Borowski||Central New York Media Group|
|2011||Andrew||DeVigal||University of Oregon|
|2011||Peter||Doucette||The Boston Globe|
|2011||Brian||Hamman||The New York Times|
|2011||Marc||Lemcke||Jule Holding, LLC|
|2011||Benjamin||Monnie||The New York Times|
|2011||David||Scott||The Christian Science Monitor|
|2011||Peter||Waelty||20 Minuten AG|
|2011||Abi||Wright||Columbia Journalism School|
|2010||Johannes Vitus||Boege||Axel Springer|
|2010||Thomas||Cavallaro||The New York Times|
|2010||David Keith||Dahl||The Boston Globe and Freelance Contributor for BBC|
|2010||Kerrie||Gillis||The New York Times|
|2010||Timothy||Griggs||The Texas Tribune|
|2010||Susan||Hackney||The Christian Science Monitor|
|2010||Nicole||Hollway||Because Really, LLC|
|2010||Marshall||Ingwerson||The Christian Science Monitor|
|2010||Steve||Jones||ABC News Radio|
|2010||Lisa||Kresl||The Dallas Morning News|
|2010||Susan||Neisloss||Big Bite, Inc.|
|2010||Jennifer||Preston||John S. and James L. Knight Foundation|
|2010||Lynda||Sachs||The New York Times|
|2010||Ernest||Sotomayor||Columbia Journalism School|
|2009||Linda||Austin||APME's NewsTrain and Fullbright Scholar|
|2009||Alfredo||Carbajal||The Dallas Morning News|
|2009||John||DeAugustine||The Daily Gazette|
|2009||David||Kellogg||Columbia Journalism School|
|2009||Jason||Kissell||The Boston Globe|
|2009||Shawna||Leigh Richer||The Globe and Mail|
|2009||Jean||Nadeau||Brunswick News, Inc.|
|2009||Shazna||Nessa||John S. and James L. Knight Foundation|
|2009||Raymond||Pearce||The New York Times|
|2009||Jonathan||Wells||The Christian Science Monitor|
|2008||Kenn||Altine||Southern Oregon Humane Society|
|2008||Jane||Folpe||Ropes and Gray LLP|
|2008||Dennis||Giza||Columbia Journalism Review|
|2008||Gene||Haddock, Jr.||The Houston Chronicle|
|2008||Mike||Hoyt||The Big Round Table|
|2008||Nels||Jensen||San Diego Business Journal|
|2008||Joseph||Kolb||Western New Mexico University|
|2008||Eliot||Pierce||The New Republic|
|2008||Jason||Samuels||New York University|
|2008||Michael||Stoll||San Francisco Public Press|
|2008||John||Yemma||The Christian Science Monitor|
|2007||Aaron||Barlow||NYC College of Technology|
|2007||Randolph||Brandt||The Journal Times|
|2007||Thomas||Heslin||The Providence Journal|
|2007||Chopeta||Lyons||Chopeta Lyons Consulting|
|2007||Daniele||Manca||Corriere della Sera|
|2007||Jeffrey||Price||PGA of America|
|2007||Sergio||Salinas||El Paso Times|
|2007||Stephen||Weis||The Houston Chronicle|