Dr. Carrie Brown to Lead Proposed New Social Journalism Degree Program

  • By Newmark J-School Staff
Carrie Brown head

The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism has named Dr. Carrie Brown to head the school’s proposed new M.A. in Social Journalism, Dean Sarah Bartlett announced today.

The program, which will prepare graduates to become leaders in community journalism in the age of social media, plans to begin in January, pending New York State approval. Development of the new Social Journalism program is being underwritten by investor, philanthropist, and author Reid Hoffman, cofounder of LinkedIn and a partner at the leading venture-capital firm Greylock Partners, with matching funds from the Knight Foundation.

Dr. Brown was most recently an associate professor of journalism at the University of Memphis, where she earned recognition in 2014 as the national Educator of the Year from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Newspaper and Online Division. A pioneer in changing journalism education, she has developed and taught new courses in social media and entrepreneurial journalism at Memphis and launched a new graduate certificate program in entrepreneurial journalism there in partnership with local accelerator Start.Co.

“In Carrie, we have found an inventive and charismatic educator who will inspire students — and our industry — to change how they think of journalism and its relationship with communities and find new opportunities there,” said Dean Bartlett. “We see our school as a startup that must constantly reinvent itself as we work to reinvent journalism for a new age.”

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to come to CUNY to work with faculty and professionals in New York to develop this groundbreaking new program, preparing graduates for the new roles we see exploding in news organizations, both legacy and startup,” said Dr. Brown.

The program will operate under the auspices of the school’s Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism. The Center also created the nation’s first M.A. and Certificate in Entrepreneurial Journalism, pioneering a course of study that has now spread to journalism schools around the world.

“Tow-Knight is tackling fundamental questions about the nature and future of journalism from three directions, investigating new relationships, forms, and models for news,” explained Prof. Jarvis, who head the Tow-Knight Center. “The new social journalism program will examine how journalists can start by listening to the communities they serve, transforming journalism into a service. The entrepreneurial program builds both education and research to explore new ways to sustain the business of journalism. As a school, we are also experimenting with new forms of interactive and broadcast news.”

Dr. Brown’s research has focused primarily on how newsrooms can adapt to the rapidly evolving digital, mobile and economic climate, and has included extensive periods of observation at various news organizations. She is working on a book that will detail these findings with coauthor Jonathan Groves. In 2013 she and Groves won the Top Paper Award at the ISOJ conference in Austin, Texas. Dr. Brown was recently invited to be part of a “select group of thought leaders” on American Press Institute’s Research Advisory Board, whose members meet and collaborate with top leading news organizations to shape practical research agendas.

Dr. Brown also has professional journalism experience, having worked as a reporter and/or editor for the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, CD Publications, and the Columbia Missourian. In addition, she traveled to more than 50 newspapers large and small across the United States as the manager of the Traveling Curriculum Program of the Committee of Concerned Journalists, helping newsroom leaders and staff find ways to preserve core values while adjusting to industry changes.

Dr. Brown received her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri, where she studied with the director of the Center for the Study of Organizational Change. She received her MA in communication from the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania and her BA in journalism and biological aspects of conservation from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, in the state where she was born and raised.

The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism was founded in 2006 as the only publicly supported graduate school of journalism in the Northeast and quickly became internationally recognized as an innovator and leader in the field. It offers a fully converged and constantly updated curriculum that teaches all media to all students. In receiving its accreditation from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications in 2014, the reviewers said that “it defies logic that a graduate program in journalism could come so far so fast.”