It got a bit lost in the overall noise when the Knight Foundation announced the winners of its 21st Century News Challenge, in which the foundation awarded some $12 million in grants for creating new kinds of community journalism, but one of the most intriguing and potentially valuable winners was Rich Gordon at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Rich’s goal is, essentially, to help bring into the journalism universe more people like Adrian Holovaty (also a grantee). Adrian is a terrific programmer with a journalist’s soul.
Rich will use the Knight grant to create:
an academic program blending computer science and journalism, designed to fill a staffing void at many digital news sites. By offering scholarships to Medill’s graduate journalism program to people with education and/or expertise in computer programming, the goal is to turn out students who understand both journalism and technology, connect one to another in ways that build audiences and also enhance and protect the civic functions of journalism in a democratic society.
Now, Northwestern isn’t what you’d call a hotbed of technology superstars. But Medill is a great journalism school — and it’s offering scholarships for qualified applicants.
Rich wants to get this program going in the fall term. That means a short deadline for applying.
If you blog about such things, please link to Rich’s call for applicants on the Medill site. What Adrian has been doing, and what Rich wants to broaden, is essential to the future of journalism.