Journalism and Information Technology have been fused in a new Master of Computer Science and Journalism degree offered by Columbia University.
Columbia, based in New York, said the program aimed to help redefine journalism in a fast-changing digital media environment. Graduates could be employed as a:
- Online editor/manager of information technology at a large news organization
- Data-mining expert for journalistic applications and investigative journalism
- Entrepreneur/founder of media startup
- Web designer for news site
Columbia has about 230 students enrolled in its one year Master of Science (Journalism) program. The new journalism/computer science degree had its first intake in August, with three of the first five students coming from China.
Yang Sui began at Columbia in Computer Science before joining the joint degree. He said he wanted to be “tactical and resourcesful at the same time”.
I want to know what’s really going on in newsrooms and know the technical requirements and be able to talk to the technical people. I want to be able to say, “Hey this is what we can do and this is what we can’t do”, to find alternative ways to solve problems, to fill out the gap between the editorial side and technology.
“The traditonal technology [people] don’t interact with the editorial team,” he said. The joint degree was much more practical.
Shujian Ju, from Nanjing, studied electrical engineering in her undergraduate degree. “Columbia is so nice,” she said. “Everyone knows that as a journalism school it’s the best”. Shujian had interned in major newspapers in China and realised, she said, that the press systems were very different to the United States. But she hoped to take what she had learned in the US back home.
I am always thinking of going back to China to do some real journalism. I am thinking about forming a new company and opening a new newspaper. The media market in China is opening up and the press has more voices.