The concept is not a new one, and it is used in several places, but Knight suggests it remains of significant potential for schools with an emphasis on scholars and an absence of practicing journalists. (Disclosure: I am the executive in residence and an adjunct professor at University of British Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism.)
"At its root, this model requires top professionals in residence at universities," the letter says. "It also focuses on applied research, as scholars help practitioners invent viable forms of digital news that communities need to function in a democratic frame."
The foundation adds: "We believe journalism and communications schools must be willing to recreate themselves if they are to succeed in playing their vital roles as news creators and innovators."
The foundation acknowledges some schools are doing this but several remain trapped in traditions that do not permit journalists with limited academic credentials into the faculties. The danger it sees is a sector slipping further behind digital change to the industry it identifies as crucial to democracy.