As the Internet transforms the US media landscape, a top American university announced plans on Wednesday to offer a dual master's degree in journalism and computer science.

New York-based Columbia University said the journalism-computer science degree program "will prepare a new generation of professionals with skills in the technical aspects of both digital media and news production."

It will "provide graduate students with both the editorial and technological skills to produce new applications and online tools that could help redefine journalism in a fast-changing digital media environment," Columbia said.

The university said in a statement that the program is awaiting final approval from the New York State Department of Education.

The Master of Science degree in Computer Science and Journalism will be a collaboration between Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism and its Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, it said.

The program will begin accepting applications in the fall of this year and will involve five semesters of study - three in the engineering school and two in the journalism school.

"This should be journalism's golden age; more people have access to more news sources than at any time in history," said Journalism School academic dean Bill Grueskin.

"But most news organizations have not fully embraced the digital revolution," Grueskin said.

"This program is designed to turn out graduates with both the highest caliber of journalism training as well as technical skills ranging from data mining to computational imaging," he said.

"New technology is profoundly changing the creation, presentation and distribution of news," added Shree Nayar, a computer science professor.

Nayar said the program is designed to "empower the next generation of journalists with the technical knowledge needed to create new and exciting digital media technologies that could redefine journalism as we know it.

"To our knowledge, this is the first truly integrated program of its kind."

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