Guardian exec Emily Bell to lead new digital journalism center

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Bell, in addition to directing the Tow Center, will help oversee a new dual-degree program offered jointly by the engineer-ing and journalism schools. The master’s degree program in computer science and journalism will produce tech-savvy news gatherers capable of developing tools to help their co-workers analyze electronic databases — and thus spot news trends amid the oceans of information that exist online — and to augment stories with new types of graphs, charts, and other visual aids. Columbia will begin accepting applications later this year for the five-semester program, which will begin in the fall of 2011.

“One of the biggest problems journalism has at the moment is maintaining its relevance to an audience that is often ahead of traditional newsrooms in its expectations and use of technology,” Bell recently told Wired magazine. “Our students will, I hope, have the confidence and skills to bring some of those newsrooms up to date, and more importantly, create their own organizations and models where they see a vacuum or failure.”

DJC

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