From Dean Klatell.
This spring, the school will offer an exciting initiative in business and economics journalism, called News 21. Funded through grants from the Knight Foundation and Carnegie Corporation, News 21 is part of a consortium among this School, the schools of journalism at Berkeley, Northwestern, University of Southern California and the Shorenstein Center at Harvard. Its aim is to develop exciting curriculum initiatives while simultaneously producing first-rate journalism through the combined efforts of students and faculty at these schools.
The overall theme of the News 21 project this year is “Liberty and Security”; each of the participating universities have chosen a different sub-set of that overall story and a different media format. Columbia has decided to investigate what has changed since 9/11 in the government’s access to private or corporate financial information, under the rubric of the fight against terrorism. We want to know what, exactly, has the government been doing, what has it learned, what has it done with that information, and to hat extent has it challenged important concepts of privacy and liberty. We have selected on-line journalism as our preferred publication format.
There are three important components to this project: a required spring 6-credit Seminar (Business and Economic Journalism – emphasizing the News 21 subject matter, with Professor Nasar), a required 3-credit Elective (Investigative Business Reporting with Judith Dobrzynski), and a 10-week paid internship ($7,500 per student) reporting and writing stories under the guidance of the faculty, including Ms Dobrzynski, Louise Story, Dorian Benkoil and others. There is money available for travel – reporting trips and to meet with colleagues from the collaborating schools, as well as funds for some investigative expenses (document searches, court or FOI filings, etc.).
Students interested in participating in the summer reporting project must (with the exception of night-Bagehot Fellows) enroll in both the Seminar and Elective noted above. The 10 best-performing students from those classes will be offered the opportunity to continue working through the summer and, of course, get paid. Students who take the courses but are not selected may nevertheless have the opportunity to have their best work published. It is possible to enroll in these courses (up to the limit of 16 in each) without becoming a candidate for the summer job.
In the coming days I will provide more information, and we will flesh out the course descriptions in the Spring Letter, but I wanted to get this message to you in advance of any course decisions you may be making about the spring term.
SO HERE’S THE DEAL, PLEASE DON’T ATTEMPT TO NEGOTIATE A DIFFERENT ONE: WE HAVE COMMITED TO THE FUNDATIONS AND THE OTHER UNIVERSITIES THAT THESE COURSES WILL BE REQUIRED OF ALL PARTICIPANTS; THE FACULTY WILL HAVE FINAL SAY OVER THE SELECTION AND ASSIGNMENT OF THE SUMMER JOBS; ANY STUDENT SELECTED MUST MAKE A BINDING COMMITMENT TO REMAIN WORKING ON THE NEWS 21 REPORTING PROJECT FOR AT LEAST THE 10-WEEK PERIOD OF SUMMER REPORTING.
This is a great opportunity for those interested in following the money trail all the way from individual accounts (ex: “Islamic charities” that were initially targeted by Homeland Security) to the government agencies mining, analyzing and acting upon the data. If this is not what you want to do, please don’t let the appeal of a well-paid internship at the School sway your judgment; this is serious business and we want only those who will make and keep the commitments required of participants.