Office of Public Information and Communications
Columbia University
New York, N.Y.   10027
(212) 854-5573

Fred Knubel. Director of Public Information
For Use Upon Receipt, Wednesday, May 15, 1996

New Media Journalists Set to Embark on Online Careers

Dozens of new-media journalists who received master's degrees from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University at Commencement Exercises today are embarking on careers in the burgeoning field of online publishing.

Among the graduates are 20 majors in the School's new media program - a full-fledged concentration equal to those in the traditional print and broadcast media. Surfers on the Internet can access the students' Web sites on topics ranging from health care policy to campaign '96 and the New York City cultural scene. The works, all original content, can be viewed on the World Wide Web at

Students also explored new techniques for storytelling - techniques made possible by the World Wide Web. Using innovative layouts, audio, video and animation, students took Web users to subways and schools in search of music and cafes and dinner theaters for poetry and performance art, into the studios of restoration experts, for a ride on the Central Park carousel, and from state to state along the campaign trail.

Students Norm Green and Andrew Clark created a Web site called "HotZones." It provides survival data for journalists and others traveling to Bosnia, Cuba, Chechnya, and many other crisis spots around the world.

"Producing this prototype transformed me from a person who was, just months ago, reading about new media in the newspaper, to a person actually doing it," said Mr. Green. A new class, "Tools of the Modern Journalist," was required of the School's entire graduating class of 200, providing students with basic new media production skills. The course includes information theory, digital image editing, multimedia production, digital audio, video production and computer assisted reporting.

The training permitted students in traditional print classes to publish their works online. The Bronx Beat, a newspaper that covers the South Bronx, Columbia News Service (CNS), a collection of weekly feature stories available through the New York Times Syndicate, and a new student magazine, Muse, all can be viewed on the Web at .

CNS coordinating professor Wayne Svoboda said: "The combination of web and wire has made for busy times this spring. The two pathways complement each other. The students love seeing their stories in cyberspace and enjoy just as much the newsprint displays of their features that come back to us in the mail."

Laura Winter and Michael Broadhurst were the School's first students to produce new media master's theses. Winter used a multimedia authoring program to produce an interactive story titled, "Women on the Verge," which tells the stories of women seeking political asylum.

Students who graduated in new media last year quickly found jobs at companies such as Time Warner, Newscorp and Advance Publications, in some cases making twice the average salary for Journalism School graduates. As companies move aggressively to develop new media business, prospects for the class of 1996 are expected to be even better.

Professor Steven Ross, coordinator of the New Media Workshop, said, "About half the students expect to develop their own commercial sites in the next year or two. They also express strong interest in current new media projects by commercial publishers - but only if they can bring content to the table as well as coding skills."

New media publications at the School were produced in collaboration with The Center for New Media ( Founded in 1994, its mission is to advance the art of telling the story - content, context, design and delivery. The Center is actively pioneering newsgathering and multimedia production techniques and is developing new forms of teaching using digital media. In partnership with industry, it works to develop and test new media prototypes and conduct other research projects.