Professor Jeff Jarvis is Named to New Chair in Journalism Innovation

  • By Amy Dunkin

The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism is excited to announce its first-ever endowed chair, in journalism innovation, and the first designee will be Professor Jeff Jarvis, a world-renowned thought leader on the future of the news business.

The Tow Foundation has pledged $1.5 million over five years to support The Leonard Tow Chair for Journalism Innovation, which is named after its founder, a cable television pioneer and philanthropist who has been a principal donor to the CUNY J-School.

Emily Tow Jackson, executive director and president of The Tow Foundation said, “We are thrilled to continue our support of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism through establishing this endowed chair. Jeff Jarvis is at the forefront of innovation and an important leader in the field. This investment will positively impact the school and its students and support the CUNY J-School and Jeff Jarvis to make important contributions to the ongoing transformation of the field of journalism.”

“It is so appropriate that our school’s first endowed chair carries the name Leonard Tow, in recognition of his deep commitment to innovation in our field, and that the first recipient of the chair is Jeff Jarvis, whose contributions to our curriculum and reputation are legion,” said CUNY J-School Dean Sarah Bartlett.

Jarvis directs the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism, established at the CUNY J-School in 2010 with $3 million from The Tow Foundation and a matching amount from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

In addition to teaching entrepreneurial journalism and heading the school’s Strategic Planning Committee, he was the architect of the News Integrity Initiative, a Tow-Knight project aimed at advancing news literacy and increasing trust in journalism.

He also writes an influential media blog,, and is author of Geeks Bearing Gifts: Imagining New Futures for News; Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live; What Would Google Do?, and the Kindle Single Gutenberg the Geek.

Leonard Tow graduated from CUNY’s Brooklyn College, earned a Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University, and was a highly successful and early entrepreneur in the nascent cable television industry.

“In the past nine years, [The Tow Foundation] has pledged more than $7 million to the school,” according to the CUNY Board of Trustees resolution approving the chair on Oct. 23. “[The Foundation nurtures] a progressive vision for journalism at a time of industry disruption, becoming a valued partner to the CUNY J-School, which is built on a commitment to responsiveness and innovation.”


About The Tow Foundation:

The Tow Foundation, established in 1988 by Leonard and Claire Tow, funds projects that offer transformative experiences to individuals and create collaborative ventures in fields where they see opportunities for breakthroughs, reform, and benefits for underserved populations. Investments focus on the support of innovative programs and system reform in the areas of juvenile and criminal justice, groundbreaking medical research, higher education, and cultural institutions. For more information, visit


Photo caption: Prof. Jeff Jarvis, right, designee for The Leonard Tow Chair for Journalism Innovation, talks about the news biz with craigslist founder Craig Newmark, a donor to the News Integrity Initiative.