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NEW YORK — The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism has a new center dedicated to civil rights news coverage.

The dean of the New York school, Steve Coll, announced the creation of The Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights on Tuesday.

Applications for fellowships can be submitted from Feb. 1 to March 31.

Coll says there’s a need for journalism that can inform and shape the understanding of race, gender, diversity and the evolution of civil rights.

The center is directed by Jelani (jeh-LAH’-nee) Cobb , an expert on history and race in the U.S.

Cobb says the objective is to help shape discourse around “a fraught subject that continues to undergird a great deal of American life.”