The City University of New York (CUNY) announced on Monday that is creating an Entrepreneurial Journalism masters degree program, reports the New York Times. Stephen B. Shepard, the founding dean of the school, comments "We're all very concerned about sustaining quality journalism, and we think the future of journalism is going to be entrepreneurial." For some, maintaining quality journalism and mixing reporting with business is contradictory.
As noted by Journalism.co.uk, CUNY has already invested in entrepreneurial journalism programs, such as its hyperlocal partnership with Patch and its research endeavors concerning business models in the news industry. With over $6 million in funding, mainly derived from the Tow Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the creation of a new masters program appeared to be the next logical step. The Entrepreneurial Journalism M.A. two-year program will refine students' business and research skills along with assisting and encouraging them to launch their own startup projects. Additional new programs are currently being considered for working professionals in the journalism field.
The introduction of the business side of journalism into the education of reporters is bittersweet. According to MediaShift, arguments can be made that distinction between journalism and business allows for the art of reporting to remain unadulterated by outside factors. Yet with changing trends in technology and falling revenue, journalists are required to take more responsibility for their careers. "It's healthy, I think, that reporters and editors now believe they should understand what it is that brings in the money that goes into their paychecks," writes Dorian Benkoil for Media Shift.
It appears that journalism is increasingly expected to balance additional aspects of the digital age while maintaining quality reporting. Schools are pushing students to not only be proficient in traditional journalism skills, but also to master social media, programming, and entrepreneurial skills. After graduation, professionals are torn between writing content that is critical to world affairs and writing to attract Google and other search engines. Shepard maintains that the shifting in journalism can retain its integrity as long as reporters use professional judgment and not "cave in all the time to advertising demands in a way that would hurt the reader or viewer." Will the introduction of Entrepreneurial Journalism water-down the art of reporting, or is it a trend that will empower journalists to take control of the industry?