We have lots of hard facts about how digital media is revolutionizing the news business. But often there is less information out there about precisely what that means for journalists doing their jobs.
Now Poynter reports that the Knight and Tow Foundations have given the Columbia School of Journalism a grant of $2 million to fund studies into best practices in digital journalism. The research may address questions like how to use real-time analytics, how to measure engagement, how to incorporate data into reporting and how to discover how much the audience benefits from article commenting, Poynter reports.
Emily Bell, the director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, who will be leading the project, says in a blog post for Knight Foundation that there is often a disconnect between the average newsroom and experts in data science and digital information dissemination. “We want to encourage those with the skills in these fields and an interest and knowledge in journalism to produce research projects and ideas that will both help explain this world and also provide guidance for journalism in the tricky area of ‘what next’,” she writes.
Bell names three key areas of focus for the research: transparency of public information, data journalism, and the “impact” of new forms of reporting. The results of the study, says Bell, should be “widely accessible and immediately relevant” to journalism professionals and students.
According to Bell, Columbia will soon be seeking a new research director to supervise these projects, and will begin advertising to people who wish to apply for grants.
More information about the grant can also be found in this Knight Foundation press release.