What is the mission of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism?

We run educational programs, conduct research and support journalism startups to help foster sustainable business models for quality journalism.

What are the Tow-Knight Center’s primary activities?

Our education programs train journalists in media entrepreneurship. Our research arm explores new business models for news. Our incubation efforts center around events, workshops and mentorship programs for professionals and students. Join our Meetup group to attend future events.

Learn more about our faculty…

What is your core academic program?

Our entrepreneurial journalism fellowship — our core program — is a unique, 15-week, intensive immersion into the process of building a media startup. Each year we select a small group of outstanding individuals who spend January through May with us developing their own entrepreneurial journalism projects (sites, apps, services, products, etc). Here’s more on the curriculum. We also administer elective courses for graduate students at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

What are some noteworthy news projects launched by Tow-Knight Fellows?

· Founded by Noah Rosenberg, Narrative.ly is a multimedia platform devoted to original, in-depth stories. The site raised $54,000 through Kickstarter. It was named one of 50 best websites by Time magazine and best website by the Pictures of the Year International Competition.

· Radio journalist Ashley Milne-Tyte launched The Broad Experience, a podcast on women and the workplace. The Guardian named it one of The 10 Best Lesser-Known Podcasts.

· Hanan Solayman’s Mandara Online, a portal covering rural areas in southern Egypt, was awarded a $40,000 International Press Institute Grant.

What other types of startups have Tow-Knight Fellows launched?

· Adda Birnir launched Skillcrush, which teaches tech skills online. She was named one of 20 Women to Watch by Columbia Journalism Review.

· Cara Eisenpress’ Big Girls, Small Kitchen is an award-winning cooking site which has been featured in the The New York Times Diner’s Journal. Her business also offers an in-home cooking coach service.

· Stephanie Lowe is the founder of Playfull, an innovations lab. She raised $15,000 through her Kickstarter campaign for Feetprints, a unique app that connects people locally through storytelling — without algorithms.

· Jeanne Pinder took a New York Times buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.com to provide accurate health care prices. Her startup has won more than $54,000 in grants.

What do journalists get when they complete your fellowship program?

Participants earn an advanced certificate in Entrepreneurial Journalism — the first such certificate in the country — through a combination of coursework, practical training and building something new. Students who also complete the three-semester M.A. program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism earn a Master of Arts degree in Entrepreneurial Journalism, the nation’s first such degree. Read more about the center’s activities.

What kind of background must you have to become a fellow?

Mid-career journalism professionals and journalism graduate students are the most common candidates. We also welcome candidates with strong backgrounds in business, techology, design and other related fields who have a parallel interest in journalism and media. Meet some of our current and past fellows.

How does the entrepreneurial certificate program differ from the entrepreneurial M.A.?

Certificate and M.A. candidates take the same group of courses during the four-month entrepreneurial program. The primary difference is that the M.A. candidates take three semesters of courses required for the School’s traditional M.A. in Journalism and then spend a fourth semester in the Tow-Knight Entrepreneurial Journalism fellowship program. Candidates for the certificate spend just one semester at the school to attend the entrepreneurial program.

Where are you located?

The Tow-Knight Center is in New York City, in the heart of Manhattan’s Times Square. It is housed in the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, on the same block as The New York Times. Nearby are the headquarters of several major media companies, including Hearst, Conde Nast, Time Inc., News Corp., Thomson Reuters and many others.

History

When was the Center founded?

In September 2010, the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism established the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism, the nation’s most intensive program in entrepreneurial journalism. The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism was itself founded in August of 2006.

Who provided the funding to launch the Tow-Knight Center?

Our Center was originally funded through generous grants from The Tow Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with supplemental support from the City University of New York.

When did the Entrepreneurial Fellowship program begin?

The Tow-Knight Center’s pilot fellowship program took place from January through May of 2011. The winter-spring program in 2017 will mark the seventh iteration of the fellowship program.

Tow-Knight In the News