Dart Center Gift Announced

Kenneth Dart, the former President and CEO of Dart Container Corporation and a global investor, has donated $4 million to the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, the school announced this week. The gift continues the generous support of the Dart Center by the family for whom the Center is named.

James Lammers, a spokesman for the Dart family, said Kenneth Dart “is proud to continue the Dart Foundation's longstanding commitment to compassionate, innovative and ethical reporting rooted in evidence-based science. The Dart Center has changed journalism around the world, fostering better reporting on trauma and new understanding of the risks faced by news professionals. Ken is pleased to continue this legacy.”

Led by journalist and executive director Bruce Shapiro, the Dart Center, founded in 1999, is devoted to improving reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy worldwide. It has been located at Columbia since 2009, when the Dart Foundation of Mason, MI provided a five-year, $7 million gift to the Graduate School of Journalism.

Columbia Journalism School Dean Steve Coll said, “We, at the Graduate School of Journalism, are profoundly grateful to Ken Dart for sustaining the Dart Center’s innovative work, strengthening journalists’ ability to more effectively chronicle war, disaster and other traumatic events, at a time of fundamental change in the news industry. This commitment ensures that the Dart Center will continue its robust local, national and international activities that contribute so significantly to our profession.”

The interdisciplinary Dart Center brings news professionals together with leading clinicians, researchers and other experts to analyze issues and advance effective, ethical reporting on the impact of violence, ranging from street crime and family violence to war and human rights. Emphasizing both innovative coverage of victims of violence and the impact of such assignments on journalists, the Dart Center sponsors the Ochberg Fellowships; a wide array of training programs for journalists; academic and scientific research; and the annual Dart Awards for Excellence in Reporting Trauma, which marked its 20th anniversary this week at Columbia Journalism School.

The Dart Center also operates international satellite programs, including Dart Centre Europe, based in London, and Dart Centre Asia Pacific, based in Melbourne, as well as a research node at the University of Tulsa’s department of psychology.

In recent years, the Dart Center has worked closely with journalists and news organizations reporting on the aftermath of the Iraq War; typhoons in the Philippines and earthquakes in Japan and Haiti; mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado; the Utoya massacre in Norway; among other challenges. The Dart Center also works with news organizations such as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC and NPR.