• By Newmark J-School Staff

The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism has begun a trial run of five new courses in entrepreneurial journalism as part of its efforts to find ways to help sustain the future of the news industry.

The School opened the courses to 11 students, alumni, and mid-career professionals who want to become involved in the developing field of entrepreneurial journalism. The classes include three CUNY J-School alumni along with postgraduate students from New York, Denmark, Cameroon, Rwanda, and Sri Lanka. More than 60 people sought admittance to the courses.

Creation of the five courses was among the first tasks of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism, established last fall with $6 million from The Tow Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The courses ultimately will serve as the foundation of a new Advanced Certificate in Entrepreneurial Journalism. The certificate program has already passed muster with the CUNY Board of Trustees and is awaiting registration by the New York State Education Department.

“The courses will provide students with the tools and techniques to start their own businesses or to help bring innovation and entrepreneurship to traditional media companies,” said Tow-Knight Center Director Jeff Jarvis, who heads the CUNY J-School’s Interactive Journalism Program and developed the new entrepreneurial curriculum along with Education Director Jeremy Caplan.

The courses are Fundamentals of Business for Entrepreneurial Journalism, focusing on core principles of finance and management; New Business Models for News, which examines the pressures and opportunities in media today; Entrepreneurial Incubator, in which students will develop a business; Technology Immersion, which studies relevant technological trends; and New Media Apprenticeship, where students spend time working at a startup.

The faculty consists of Jarvis and Caplan, along with adjunct instructors Amit Paley, a Washington Post reporter finishing up his MBA at Columbia Business School, and Selcen Onsan, a tech expert formerly with Apple. Students will also hear guest lecturers from the fields of finance, advertising, law, technology, and media.

“It’s challenging program,” said Caplan, who has both an MBA and M.S. in Journalism from Columbia. “And like every new venture, we’ll make adjustments as needed to improve the product.”