NYU Arts & Science


Studio 20: Digital First

The STUDIO 20 concentration at NYU offers master’s level instruction with a focus on innovation and adapting journalism to the web. The curriculum emphasizes project-based learning. Students, faculty and visiting talent work on editorial and web development projects together, typically with media partners who themselves need to find new approaches or face problems in succeeding online. By participating in these projects and later running their own project, students learn to grapple with all the factors that go into updating journalism for the digital era.

The program seeks to draw together a diversely talented team of students who can produce excellent work that pushes the field forward and realizes some of the possibilities inherent in a multi-media, interactive and constantly evolving platform for journalism— namely, the World Wide Web and its mobile extensions.

Studio classes provide a “hub” for organizing activity and a common space for inquiry and reflection around the program’s various projects. Students are expected to be flexible and curious, generous in sharing skills, eager to pick up new knowledge and willing to adapt to what the project — and its deadlines — demand.

The curriculum has three parts: 1.) the traditional requirements of two basic reporting classes plus “digital thinking;” 2.) a core of three project-based classes called Studio I, II and III; and 3.) elective enrichment courses that allow students to pursue interests and work on initiatives of their own. In their third and final semester, students design their own projects with an appropriate media partner and try to create innovation–as well as a name–for themselves. Students often identify and begin partnering with journalism organizations by summer to begin fieldwork for their Studio III course that culminates in a project presentation at the end of the fall semester.

For a list of typical projects go here.

Each year Studio 20 recruits a mix of writers, editors, videographers, audio journalists, programmers, designers, Web producers and smart people who may have no journalism training at all— under the principle of “bring skills, share skills, learn new stuff.” Recruiting emphasizes students comfortable in more than one medium and ready to tackle new challenges. One of our mottos is: “Everyone works on everything.”

In 2009-10, one of Studio 20’s major partners was the New York Times. Working with editors at the Times, students and faculty designed and planned a hyperlocal news site for the East Village neighborhood in Manhattan. It launched in September, 2010: The Local East Village. The site was edited and produced at NYU, but ran on nytimes.com Studio 20 students could publish there, and if they had ideas for improvements they could pitch them.

In the spring of 2013 that site evolved into Bedford + Bowery, which is co-published by NYU Journalism and New York Magazine (nymag.com). The editor, Daniel Maurer, explained at the time: “We’ll still be covering the East Village and Lower East Side but we’ll also be jumping on the L train to cover Williamsburg, Bushwick and Greenpoint – where, of course, the East Village already has a strong presence.” The change was covered here.

In 2010-11 Studio 20’s major project was a collaboration with ProPublica, the investigative reporting non-profit. Students experimented with the genre of “the explainer,” a form of journalism that provides essential background knowledge and brings clarity to complex issues in the news. Read more here and see the project site, Explainer.net. Don’t miss The Fracking Song, which came out of that work. Time magazine named it one of the most creative videos of 2011.

In December of 2010, NYU announced that the renowned Internet thinker Clay Shirky would be joining the Carter Institute and Studio 20, where he will teach courses and consult on projects.

In 2011-12, Studio 20’s major project was a collaboration with The Guardian around a different approach to election coverage. You can read about it here and here.

In 2012-13, Studio 20’s big project revolved around networked reporting. Five media partners were involved: The Wall Street Journal, ProPublica (again), Fast Company, Mashable.com and Pando Daily. You can read about it here and here. The Pando Daily project was featured here.

Our students get jobs in new media and old, and they advance in their careers. Our instructors have faced the digital transformation of journalism head on.

Think you might be interested in applying? Email studio20.journalism@nyu.edu to let us know; do tell us about yourself and your background. Also: how we can find you and your work on the web.

Here are the official instructions on how to apply. The initial deadline is Jan. 4, 2017; we will accept applications after that but cannot guarantee space or financial aid. Please note that the GRE General Exam is required of all applicants. If you cannot take the GRE by January 3, you should submit your application by the deadline and take the GRE before March 1.

Here is a map showing where we are located.

Follow professors Jay Rosen and Jason Samuels on Twitter, as well as Clay Shirky. And check back at this site for updates.

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