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.
Operating as an institute within Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, the Tow Center is poised to take advantage of a unique combination of factors to foster the development of digital journalism. Its New York location affords access to cutting-edge technologists, a strong culture of journalism and multiple journalism and communication schools, with outstanding universities attached to them. The Tow Center is where technology and journalism meet, and where education and practice meet.
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. By commissioning research in these emerging areas, and developing teaching methods and courses, the Tow Center seeks to convene debate around the issues facing digital journalism. Our mission is to help individual journalists, news organizations and areas of relevant media policymaking with their thinking and practice in this area.
Digital journalism has a vital role in a world of information overload and explanation drought by striking a new relationship between data and narrative. The Tow Center seeks to cultivate the skilled practitioners needed to mine data and text, but who can also think journalistically in relating this information through words, pictures and graphics. Digital journalism needs to include the citizen and witness as a participant, and not just a recipient. But these new complexities demand professional intervention and standards. As an institution, the Tow Center seeks to be a leader in these areas.
In addition to developing resources for students both students of the Journalism School and the community at large, the Tow Center is involved in producing new research related to the practice of digital journalism.
The Tow Center also oversees the dual-degree Master of Science Program in Computer Science and Journalism offered in conjunction with Columbia’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. These students 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.
Currently, those interested in pursuing academic work with the Tow Center must apply for and be accepted to the dual-degree Master of Science Program in Computer Science and Journalism program, for which application information and materials can be found here. However, the Tow Center faculty also regularly teach courses in both the Master of Science program and the Master of Arts program.
Other students, alumi/ae, journalism or technology professionals, and members of the community can also connect with the Center by joining us for events, contributing to this site, or following us on Twitter @TowCenter.
We are also always interested in new approaches, ideas and technologies. If you have one (or more) of these to share, please get in touch with one of us.