Retired ex-newspaper exec Leonard Tow is donating $8 million dollars to two schools in a dual-effort to train journalism students in digital media and experiment with new business models for the newspaper business. Columbia University will receive $5 million for training, while City University of New York gets $3 million for research and development. While I think this is both generous and positive, I do wonder if $3 million will really have any impact or utility on testing new newspaper business models or technological concepts. Nonetheless, a really nice gift, but might MIT had been a better place for this kind of R&D investment?The newspaper biz does need all the help it can get and Dr. Tow is clearly focused on the notion that authentic, trained news reporting may be eroding.
Leonard Tow, a co-founder of the foundation, said the grants were a response to his “serious concerns about what is happening in the world of journalism.”“I thought it was time for us to think about addressing these new-media opportunities so what we as citizens receive from them is more an accurate reflection of what is going on in the world than some opinion”