Five of America’s Most Respected Research Universities Unite in a More Than $6 Million Effort to Help Revitalize Journalism Education

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Schools of Journalism at Columbia, Northwestern, Berkeley and USC, and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard are part of the The Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education. The initiative responds to a McKinsey & Co. study on the economic and technological challenges facing the news industry in the 21st century.

A national initiative led by five of America's leading research universities with the support of two major foundations will advance the U.S. news business by helping revitalize schools of journalism. 

The universities will take advantage of the riches of their institutions by integrating the schools of journalism more closely with the entire campus in an effort to better teach, challenge and prepare the next generation of news industry leaders for an increasingly complex world. The initiative will experiment with curriculum and hands-on experience with the hope of creating a national conversation with other schools across the country. 

Carnegie Corporation of New York president Vartan Gregorian and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation president Hodding Carter III announced the formation of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education here together with representatives of the University of California-Berkeley, Columbia University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Northwestern University and the University of Southern California. Presidents of the five schools have agreed to support this effort financially and institutionally. 

The Carnegie-Knight Initiative involves three distinct efforts:

  1. Curriculum Enrichment that will integrate the schools of journalism more deeply into the life of the university.
  2. News 21 Incubators: annual national investigative reporting projects overseen by campus professors and distributed nationally through both traditional and innovative media.
  3. The Carnegie-Knight Task Force, focusing on research and creating a platform for educators to speak on policy and journalism education issues.

At a time when technology's digital revolution is changing the news industry, the Carnegie-Knight Initiative will focus on preparing future media leaders to be analytic thinkers, clear writers and communicators, armed with an in-depth understanding of the context and complexity of issues facing the modern world.

A study based on interviews with 40 of the country's most prestigious news leaders indicated a need for schools of journalism to help reporters build specialized expertise that will enhance coverage of complex beats ranging from medicine to economics to international conflicts, and to understand the languages and cultures of distant parts of the world.

The report, undertaken for the Corporation by McKinsey & Co., also revealed a desire for journalism schools to help students understand and appreciate the ethical dimensions of their work as well as prepare them for the pressures they will face in a 24/7 competitive news environment. The news leaders voiced a need for the profession to depend on universities to channel the best writers, the most curious-minded reporters and the finest analytic thinkers to the news business. An executive summary is available at www.carnegie.org and www.knightfdn.org

"This is an explosively creative time to be in journalism--if you are not in search of the past," said Hodding Carter, president of the Knight Foundation. "These five institutions are proving this by doing something they've never done before: agreeing to work collaboratively on a major project for the greater benefit of all journalism educators."

"Journalism is too important to this nation and our democracy to have the schools that educate its future leaders be anything but central to the universities in which they reside," said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. "Our American universities, which offer the most enriching, challenging and academically excellent higher education in the world, can provide journalism schools with an unparalleled opportunity to engage with ideas about subjects such as history, philosophy, economics and culture that will help their students develop a passion for learning and knowledge along with the exemplary skills they will need to be at the forefront of the journalism profession in the 21st century." Read an expanded statement by Vartan Gregorian about the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education.

In the first two years, Carnegie Corporation is pledging $2.4 million; Knight Foundation $1.7 million. Henry Bienen, president of Northwestern; Robert Birgeneau, chancellor of UC Berkeley; Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia; Steven Sample, president of USC; and Harvard president Lawrence Summers have all agreed to support the initiative in its third year and there are clear indicators that the initiative is making progress.

Carnegie Corporation and Knight Foundation see these five highly respected universities as locations for experimentation, research and change. They also expect the Carnegie-Knight Task Force to commission research from other universities in order to spread to other journalism educators at other colleges the innovations that arise from the initiative.

This Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education was crafted by:

Geoffrey Cowan, dean, Annenberg School for Communication, USC Loren Ghiglione, dean, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern Alex Jones, director, The Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Nicholas Lemann, dean, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia Orville Schell, dean, Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley

As part of the planning for the initiative, the five deans drafted a vision for change that seeks to renew the mission of schools of journalism much the same way that schools of business, medicine and law have renewed themselves at different junctures in history.

The "deans' manifesto" clarifies goals for today's schools of journalism and focuses on the centrality of the university in the preparation of tomorrow's journalism leaders. That document is available in its entirety at www.carnegie.org and atwww.knightfdn.org

As part of this five-university journalism education launch, Carnegie Corporation is sponsoring an ABC News Summer Institute that will involve 10 students--two from each of the universities involved. The students will have eight-week fellowships under the guidance of ABC News and work with the award-winning ABC News Investigative Unit on a specific project that takes advantage of the students' experience, learning and research abilities. The students will be trained in ethics, investigative reporting and digital journalism. The summer's work will feature in a specific project underway at ABC News to mark the anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. Nicole Gallagher, director, news practices, ABC News, will head the summer institute. The names of the students involved in this initiative can be found on both foundations' web sites.

Information about Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Knight Foundation and their work on journalism and media is attached. The McKinsey study's executive summary is also attached. Further information and these documents are also available at www.carnegie.org and at www.knightfdn.org.