Columbia Journalism School Taps Jelani Cobb as New Dean

Veteran journalist and historian Jelani Cobb will be starting a new job as the dean of a prestigious journalism school this summer.

“It is with great pleasure that I write to announce my appointment of Jelani Cobb as the next Dean of Columbia Journalism School,” Columbia University president Lee C. Bollinger said in an announcement released today. The appointment is effective Aug. 1.

Cobb joined the faculty in 2016 as the Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism and Director of the Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights. He previously served as an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut. 

Since 2012, Cobb has worked as a contributor and a staff writer for The New Yorker. He has authored several books, ranging from the presidential election of Barack Obama to the history of hip hop. His essays and opinions on a wide range of subjects have been published in The Washington Post, The New Republic, Essence, Vibe, The Progressive, and TheRoot.com

Bollinger wrote of his incoming dean, “He and his colleagues at the Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights convene experts and support journalists from diverse backgrounds to ensure that stories on these critical issues are covered with the care and rigor they deserve.” 

Cobb’s vision for the journalism school, Bollinger said in the statement, “is one that embraces the vital role of journalism in our society, on a local and global scale, and the need to ensure our graduates are as well prepared as possible for an incredibly dynamic and changing field.”

Journalist and presenter Jelani Cobb appears backstage during Gordon Parks Foundation: 2018 Awards Dinner (Getty Images)

Born and raised in Queens, New York, Cobb is a graduate of Howard University. He holds a doctorate in American History from Rutgers University. He is also the recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright program and Ford Foundation. In 2015, he won the Sidney Hillman Award for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

Cobb replaces Steve Coll who steps down as dean at the end of the academic year on July 1.

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