New Scholarships for Innovation Awarded

Michael Mccutcheon and Brianne Garcia are the first recipients of the J. Douglas Creighton scholarships, funded by Digital First Media CEO John Paton in memory of his mentor, a Toronto Sun founder who died in January 2004.

Paton, a member of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s Board of Advisers, donated $50,000 to provide scholarships for students in the School’s new Entrepreneurial Journalism Program, which was created with the support of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism. Over the next five years, $10,000 will be distributed to two students each year.

“It is only fitting that John Paton, who is transforming an old-line newspaper operation into a modern, multimedia information company, has given a gift to support innovation in journalism,” said J-School Dean Stephen B. Shepard. “We are extremely grateful for his munificence and service to our School.”

“John wants his gift to support creative disruption,” said Tow-Knight Center Director Jeff Jarvis. “And that’s exactly what Brianne and Michael are doing. We congratulate them for this well-deserved award.”

Garcia and Mccutcheon finished the J-School’s three-semester program in December 2011 and will receive the School’s first M.A. degrees in Entrepreneurial Journalism following their successful completion in late May of the intensive fourth-semester curriculum. Both students are continuing to develop the projects they began last year in Professor Jarvis’ Entrepreneurial Journalism class.

Mccutcheon says he’s fascinated by new forms of storytelling online and is working on interactive alternatives to the traditional news article. “If you look at a newspaper article from 1912,” he says, “it looks basically the same as it does today – a hundred years later. It’s time for a change. And that’s what I’m trying to accomplish.”

After writing about fashion for three years at Dope Ambition, Garcia says she realized that “the real innovation in the fashion world isn’t happening at major magazines, but in the ways in which women consume fashion. That’s why I’m working to develop a new platform and business model that empowers consumers by connecting them with brands, stores, content, and one another.”