Sulzberger 2021 (New Dates!)

Applications for the 2021 Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program at Columbia Journalism School are now open.

Sulzberger 2021 (New Dates!)

Today I am excited to announce that applications for the 2021 cohort of the Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program at Columbia Journalism School are now open.  The 21-week program will begin with a two-week residency on the campus of Columbia Journalism School in New York City August 2-13, 2021 and conclude with one final week of residency, January 3-7, 2022, with weekly virtual cohort sessions in between.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with a final application deadline of June 10, 2021.  The cohort will be finalized no later than June 21, 2021. Read more about the program, join me for an information session, subscribe to our mailing list for updates, and start your application now.

Sulzberger Fellows are chosen because we believe they have the ability to shape the future of journalism and, therefore, the future of democracy - plain and simple. The journalism industry is under threat - politically, culturally, and economically. Now, more than ever, we need leaders who can guide journalism to a robust and sustainable future. Sulzberger Fellows are those leaders.

The Sulzberger Program is specifically designed to train leaders of the world’s most respected news organizations and most promising media start-ups to lead innovation and solve strategic business challenges in a time of rapid transformation, uncertainty, and opportunity. But their job won't just be to come up with "the next big thing."  They need to build an organization that has the people, culture, and processes that enables it to constantly understand the changing needs of its audiences, experiment with emerging technologies, and seek sustainable business models as the world changes rapidly beneath it.  They can't wait to be told what to do by their bosses or board, because the map is yet to be written. They need to recognize opportunities for innovation and act on those opportunities, figuring out how to acquire resources and influence people above them, below them, and beside them as they experiment their way forward.  Last year, I redesigned the The Sulzberger Program to focus specifically on building leaders who will do just that.  

Fellows use the 21-week program to launch, accelerate, and implement a real-world project that is mission critical to their organization and integrated into their day-to-day work. The program begins with a two-week intensive on the campus of Columbia where fellows form a tight-knit cohort through our unique, immersive venture design bootcamp that serves as the framework for their projects and then dives deeper into executive MBA-level topics led by faculty and experts from across Columbia and industry. Fellows then return to their organizations to immediately implement what they learned through topic-focused design sprints, and, for the next 18 weeks, are supported through a weekly virtual cohort meeting that rotates between project feedback and intimate conversations with industry leaders, complemented by individual coaching with me. The program culminates back at Columbia for a final week-long intensive, including final project presentations aimed at key company stakeholders.

In addition to our laser-focus on building innovators in journalism, the concentrated 21-week timeline ensures that fellows will accelerate their projects at a pace that matches the urgency of their organization while delivering a year's worth of executive education content. Our focus on creating learning experiences for our fellows through our unique venture design bootcamp, workshops, and projects maximizes personal growth, retention, and real-world applicability because leaders learn by doing. And our home at Columbia in New York City enables us to leverage faculty across the university, leaders in the media capital of the world, and the extensive alumni network of Columbia Journalism School and the Sulzberger Program.  Throughout the course of the program, fellows will do a deep dive into the following topics: Leadership and Building a Culture of Innovation; Venture Design Innovation Process; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Audience and Trends; Product and Marketing; Business Models and Strategy; Negotiations and Pitching.

We live in interesting, unpredicatable times so, in order to maximize the chances of us having a safe, in-person experience given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we shifted the program for the 2021 cohort from winter to summer.  Our hope was that pushing the program 4 months into the future and into warm weather the odds of delivering an in-person expereince is increased greatly.  In February, with new information about the pace of vaccinations, we decided to shift the program further out to August to increase the chances that all of our fellows and staff can be fully vaccinated before the beginning of the program.  In-person sessions will adhere to CDC Covid-19 safety guidelines as well as all Covid-19 regulations and protocols required by New York City and Columbia University.  Obviously, the health and safety of our fellows is our top priority and if, as we get closer to the start of the program, it is deemed unsafe to meet in person due to Covid-19 circumstances, the program will be conducted virtually until it is safe to meet in person. We will not be shifting the dates again.

The Sulzberger Fellowship is open to any leader in journalism and media from anywhere in the world to apply to directly. Most fellows are sponsored directly by their employer or by a donor to their employer. Available scholarships are listed on on the Columbia website and new scholarships may become available throughout the application period.  Individuals without a sponsoring organization or relevant scholarship may also choose to apply directly and self-fund. We encourage all interested individuals to apply directly to the program regardless of their current sponsorship status.  And, if you are a media organization who would like to set up a Sulzberger Fellowship within your organization or if you are a funder who would like to support a scholarship, please reach out to me directly.  No scholarship decisions will be made prior to June 10, 2021.

Finally, and most importantly, I am dedicated to creating and promoting a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment within the program and in the journalism industry at large. That starts with the cohort we form. I strongly encourage applications from and nominations of rising leaders who self-identify as being from groups typically underrepresented in journalism. I am also actively seeking funders who want to financially sponsor underrepresented Fellows. (Update: Read about the 6 scholarships we have available here.)

Want to learn more?  Sign up for our mailing list to stay in the loop and join me at one of the following virtual informations sessions:

  • Info Session #1 - October 27, 2020 (6:00 - 7:00 pm ET) (register here)
  • Info Session #2 - November 19, 2020 (12:00 - 01:00 pm ET) (register here)
  • Info Session #3 - December 16, 2020 (6:00 - 7:00 pm ET) (register here)
  • Info Session #4 - March 4, 2021 (12:00 - 01:00 pm ET) (register here)
  • Info Session #5 - April 1, 2021 (12:00 - 01:00 pm ET) (register here)

I'm looking forward to getting to know you through the application process.