Cornell Tech announced a partnership on Friday with Columbia University, the City University of New York, New York University and The New School to defend and support independent journalism.
The collaboration, in conjunction with NYC Media Lab, will attempt to understand and investigate the various threats against modern journalism, the partners said.
The program’s lead organizer, Prof. Mor Naaman of the Jacobs-Technion Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, said the partnership will bring graduate students with different expertise from these institutions together for a special course starting Spring 2018.
“This is a topic so critical to our democracy that it cannot be tackled by one discipline alone,” Naaman said. “We believe multiple points of views and backgrounds can help students better understand the challenges facing independent journalism and media, as well as help these students invent and prototype solutions.”
The program also aims to address “security and cybersecurity threats to news organizations and journalists, credibility and reliability threats including fake news and discrediting campaigns, obstacles and challenges in conducting journalism and shifting income sources that threaten both local and national news organizations and coverage,” according to a press release.
Naaman said it is crucial to support journalism because “free press, journalism, and the media are some of the most critical elements of our democracy, but have been increasingly under attack by political and market forces.”
The initiative, including the course, also includes a speaker series launching in October. The series will include events hosted by The New York Times, CNN, Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post.
“We have had a lot of inbound interest since the announcement and will be adding more partners, both academic and media organizations,” Naaman said. “We expect this to develop into a larger-scale program and collaboration between faculty and students in these organizations.”