In some exciting news (for media geeks), former Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown announced she is giving $30 million to Columbia's journalism school and Stanford's engineering school so they can set up a joint "institute for media innovation." The gift is inspired by her late husband David Brown, who, among many pursuits, produced the movie Jaws and attended both schools.
The endowment will fund a program directors at each school, several scholarships, and construction of new facilities at Columbia. Its founding concept seems exciting: The press release says it will connect "the best in West Coast technology with East Coast content." Gurley Brown is quoted in the release, saying, "Great content needs useable technology. Sharing a language is where the magic happens. It’s time for two great American institutions on the East and West Coasts to build a bridge." That all sounds like a cool collaboration, and reminds us a whole lot of the concept behind Mayor Bloomberg's competition for schools to build a new technology campus in New York City. Stanford was expected by many to win that competition, adding some West Coast techie weight to the project, until they dropped out last year. Looks like the school won't turn its back on New York after all, thanks to Gurley Brown.