COLUMBIA’S NEW MAN: Columbia University’s nine-month search for an East Coast director of the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation has ended with the selection of Mark Hansen, a UCLA professor and veteran visiting researcher at the New York Times’ R&D Lab.

Gurley Brown created the institute in January when she gave Columbia and Stanford University $30 million with a mandate to find common ground between technology, engineering and journalism.

This story first appeared in the September 11, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The two schools will use the money to create a brand-new newsroom in New York and also endow professorships and award grants.

Besides leading the institute’s creative direction, Hansen will teach courses on computer-assisted reporting.

He joins Bernd Girod, who had been the founding director of the institute, and will now serve as its West Coast director. The appointment was praised by Hearst Corp. chief executive officer Frank A. Bennack Jr., a member of the institute’s board of advisers, which, interestingly, includes Steven Spielberg.