Phillip Smith

Bringing out the big guns: @emilybell @richgor @reporterslab to advise on @KnightMozilla learning lab curriculum.

Rich Gordon, Sarah Cohen, and Emily Bell For the last couple of months, I’ve been quietly whittling away at the master plan for the first “learning lab” of the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership.

Without a doubt, this is the most personally exciting aspect of my involvement with the project: starting in July, I will lead a group of sixty smart individuals through an intense four-week online learning experience.

During the lab we will unleash a fire hose of thinking about the collision of technology and journalism, about working open, and the process of taking software from idea to product.

We have big ambitions for these learning labs, obviously. So, to ensure that the curriculum meets those ambitions and has tangible learning objectives, I reached out for help from some of the smartest people I know who are already teaching at the nexus of technology, journalism, and news.

Incredibly, they said yes!

So, I’m very excited to announce that Emily Bell, Sarah Cohen, and Rich Gordon have agreed to make some personal time available to help out as curriculum advisers:

  • Emily Bell: Emily Bell is director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. She previously worked for the Observer and then the Guardian for 18 years, setting up in 2000 and becoming editor-in-chief of Guardian Unlimited in 2001. In September 2006, she was promoted to director of digital content for Guardian News & Media.

  • Sarah Cohen: Sarah Cohen directs the newly-launched and is the Knight Professor of the Practice at Duke University’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy. She was a reporter and editor at The Washington Post for more than 10 years, working for investigative teams and projects across departments. Her journalism awards include most major national prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.

  • Rich Gordon: Rich Gordon is a professor and director of digital innovation at Medill School Northwestern University. At Medill, he launched the school’s graduate program in new media journalism. He has spent most of his career exploring the areas where journalism and technology intersect. At The Miami Herald, he was among the first generation of journalists to lead online publishing efforts at newspapers.

Next week we start the hard work of determining what homework to assign. Yes, that’s right, there will be homework … and required reading … and mandatory lectures.

Just because it’s online, doesn’t mean it’s not going to kick your ass, and blow your mind.

P.S. We’ve been lining up some incredible lectures, and I’ll be announcing some new additions in the coming days. Stay tuned! :)


Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.


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