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.