CUNY’s grant

At the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, we’re proud to announce today that we received a $3 million matching grant from the Tow Foundation to create a Center for Journalistic Innovation. As you can guess, I’ll be very involved in this.

Our idea is to start an incubator to help support new products, businesses, platforms, technologies, and standards from new companies — some that will be started by students out of my entrepreneurial journalism class — and big media as well. We will create a New Business Models for News initiative to gather and share best practices in the industry. Another intitiative will do the same with editorial innovation. We will establish a chair in journailstic innovation and scholarships for entrepreneurial students.

Columbia’s journalism school also received a $5 million Tow matching grant. They will devote their efforts primarily to new journalism education, which is needed across the nation. But because we at CUNY are new and dealt with many of those issues when we started the school from scratch, we decided instead to look outward to the news industry. We believed that the greatest need of the industry is innovation and this was our effort at an answer that we hope will be complementary and collaborative with other efforts in this area from Knight, Poynter, and others. We also will work hard to create international ties for the center’s work so we can learn lessons from around the wrold.

In CUNY’s and my work, there is a continuing theme of innovation in the news industry. The entrepreneurial journalism course received a grant from the McCormick Foundation to provide seed funding for the students’ best proposals for sustainable journalistic enterprises. There were some great plans out of the class but we quickly learned that these llitle shoots need nurturing. We believe there are many similar ideas out there that need such help. Thus, the incubator. Last fall, we held a MacArthur-Foundation-funded conference in networked journalism and David Cohn reported best practices before and after. This October, we will do likewise with another MacArthur-financed conference in New Business Models for News. Those, too, lead right into the work of the Tow Center.

Now we have to raise the other $3 million so we can open the center’s doors. That’s the plug. If you have money, connections to it, or ideas, please do let me know. I’m eager to get going.

  • “If you have money, connections to it, or ideas, please do let me know. ”
    I wish I could help, but I’m already green with envy. Your students must really be lucky. Wish you the best of luck.

  • janice


  • lsfdkj

    i get all my news from google news. its free.

    look it up. they don’t need millions

  • CMWinfield

    This is fantastic news!

    It may be a good idea to start hitting up some of the major media organisations with online footprints for money. Seriously. If they believe in interactive journalism and want a well-trained workforce it would behoove them to contribute. I would.

  • Pingback: Maybe all that’s needed to turn around the news business is consumer marketing « The Future of News()

  • Geo

    For someone who does not live in the NY area thank you for defining the acronym for CUNY as an HR person who’s seen it on resumes I had no idea what it meant.

  • This is great news for those of us who see great promise in the future of journalism. How can I get involved?

  • That is great news and I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with for projects. we really need some work on best practices to help us sort out the confusing rush of innovation. please get in touch; i’ve got a few ideas for some potential joint ventures in the networked journalism and lifestreaming space that might be interesting.

  • that’s fantastic Jeff – congrats. We in Australia don’t have the philanthropic resources you have in the US, but we’ll be watching what you come up with

  • Pingback: Build the Echo » Blog Archive » CUNY gets money, starts incubating()

  • Pingback: List o’ Links for Wednesday 6/25 | Online News Squared (tm)()

  • Will be interesting to see what projects come out of this.

    There are no grants anything like this in New Zealand but myself and a fellow jounalism student setup our own community news website for New Zealand using our own resources and funding.

    We have now been running the site for 18 months putting a lot of what I have read on this blog into practice. We continue to get great feedback and the site recieves about 50,000 visitors each month. Our website is


  • Matthew

    I’m wondering if j-schools can offer a JIS degree much like GIS and Geography?

  • Pingback: Vadim Lavrusik » Blog Archive » More journalism schools should partner with business schools()

  • Pingback: Reprint Reprimand: Times v. Neighborhoodies()