Columbia Journalism School

Innovator Award

The Innovator Award is given to an alumnus/a of the Graduate School of Journalism for inspiring, creating, developing, or implementing new ideas that further the cause of journalism.

The Innovator Award highlights the school's growing emphasis on innovative methods of digital delivery, reporting and presentation.

Previous winners:


Walt Mossberg 70, is the co-CEO and co-ownerof Revere Digital, with Kara Swisher. It is a tech and media news company that publishes the Re/code site and also puts on a series of Code Conferences, which features prominent speakers from the digital industry. With Swisher, he produced D: All Things Digital, a major high-tech conference that featured tech giants like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and other leading players in the tech and media industries. The gathering was considered one of the leading conferences focused on the convergence of tech and media industries. Previously, Mossberg was the author and creator of the weekly “Personal Technology” column in the Wall Street Journal, and he spent 18 years covering national and international affairs in the Journal’s Washington bureau. He has appeared regularly on television and Internet video as a commentator on technology issues and has been interviewed many times on programs like “Charlie Rose” and “The News Hour,” as well as on National Public Radio.

Kara Swisher '85, is the co-CEO and co-owner of Revere Digital, which publishes the Re/code site. Before Revere, Swisher coproduced and co-hosted The Wall Street Journal’s “D: All Things Digital, with Walt Mossberg. She and Mossberg werealso the co-executive editors of a tech and media Web site, Previously, Swisher worked in The Wall Street Journal’s San Francisco bureau, and wrote the column, “BoomTown." She also wrote a weekly column for the Personal Journal on home issues called “Home Economics.” Swisher previously worked as a reporter at the Washington Post and as an editor at the City Paper of Washington, D.C. She is also the author of “ How Steve Case Beat Bill Gates, Nailed the Netheads and Made Millions in the War for the Web,” and its sequel, “There Must Be a Pony in Here Somewhere: The AOL Time Warner Debacle and the Quest for a Digital Future."


Shane Snow ’10 is the cofounder and Chief Creative Officer of Contently, a technology company whose mission is to build a better media world. Since its launch in 2010, Contently has raised more than $11 million in venture capital, grown to 35 employees, and provided career-building tools for more than 30,000 freelance writers. Snow writes regularly for WIRED Magazine and Fast Company, and his writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Time, and Advertising Age.


David Cohn ’08 is the founder of Spot.Us,  a Web site pioneer in community-funded reporting. The idea behind it is to let the community commission news stories from professionaljournalists by donating small amounts of money towards the stories that they’d like to follow. Cohn is the founding editor of his latest project, Circa, which will start off as a mobile application with a goal is to create a consumer friendly product that keeps people engaged and informed about what’s happening in the world. Cohn has written for Wired, Seed, Columbia Journalism Review and The New York Times. While at the J-School, Cohn worked as the editor, which focused on citizen journalism and ways news organizations could explore the social web. Cohn also worked with Jeff Jarvis from to organize the first Networked Journalism Summits, which brought together the best practices of collaborative journalism. He has been a contributing editor at, is the editor-in-chief at Broowaha, an expanding citizen journalism network.



Kelly Golnoush Niknejad '05, M.A. '06, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Tehran Bureau,  which she launched in 2008.  Within months, the news outlet she had created just became a must-read for many who closely followed the disputed re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  The Daily Beast named her one of "17 people who are changing the world" through their editing, blogging, reporting, videos and twitter feeds.  Tehran Bureau is now in partnership with PBS/FRONTLINE. Their first editorial partnership on a documentary, "A Death in Tehran," won an Emmy for continuing coverage of a news story.


Innovation Award Nomination Form
Deadline: February 1, 2015


Nominee’s Name




Nominee’s Class Year

Home Address






E-mail Address






Nominated by:



Nominator’s Class Year

Nominator’s E-mail Address


A short paragraph describing why this alumnus/a should be
recognized with the Innovator Award:

Please verify that all the above information is correct, and then submit the form.



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