Columbia University's School of Journalism, 1903-2003
Marking the centennial of the founding of Columbia University's school of journalism, this candid history of the school's evolution is set against the backdrop of the ongoing debate over whether journalism can—or should—be taught in America's universities.
Originally known as "the Pulitzer School" in honor of its chief benefactor, the newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer, Columbia's school of journalism has long been a significant and highly visible presence in the journalism community. But at the turn of the twentieth century, when the school was originally conceived, journalism was taught either during an apprenticeship at a newspaper office or as a vocational elective at a few state universities—no Ivy League institution had yet dared to teach a common "trade" such as journalism. It was Pulitzer's vision, and Columbia's decision to embrace and cultivate his novel idea, that would eventually help legitimize and transform the profession. Yet despite its obvious influence and prestige, the school has experienced a turbulent, even contentious history. Critics have assailed the school for being disengaged from the real world of working journalists, for being a holding tank for the mediocre and a citadel of the establishment, while supporters—with equal passion—have hailed it for upholding journalism's gold standard and for nurturing many of the profession's most successful practitioners.
The debate over the school's merits and shortcomings has been strong, and at times vehement, even into the twenty-first century. In 2002, the old argument was reopened and the school found itself publicly scrutinized once again. Had it lived up to Pulitzer's original vision of a practical, uncompromising, and multifaceted education for journalists? Was its education still relevant to the needs of contemporary journalists? Yet after all the ideological arguments, and with its future still potentially in doubt, the school has remained a magnet for the ambitious and talented, an institution that provides intensive training in the skills and folkways of journalism. Granted unprecedented access to archival records, James Boylan has written the definitive account of the struggles and enduring legacy of America's premiere school of journalism.
"At a time of intense controversy about the press, James Boylan has written a candid, fascinating account of the best-known school for educating journalists. The Columbia Journalism School is undergoing its own revolution these days. Perhaps it will move back toward the goal, set by Joseph Pulitzer in 1902, that Boylan recalls: to teach journalists about 'politics, literature, government, constitutional principles.'" — Anthony Lewis, James Madison Visiting Professor of First Amendment Issues, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, former columnist, The New York Times
"Boylan has produced a detailed history of the school from its origin to the present. Making extensive use of archival materials, he traces the school's history through its deans and faculty and highlights the ongoing academic arguments over the nature of journalism education." — Library Journal
"Boylan's book is absorbing certainly for anyone with a tie to the School or a concern about journalism education. And it portrays some fascinating characters, their oddities, their disputes, their fits of indignation, and even occasional heroism." — Columbia Journalism Alumni Journal
"This book is a valuable contribution to the debate about journalism education. Boylan has done an admirable job of summing up the technical problems of the school's administration. But his history was ultimately written in the hopes that the school's leaders can transcend the details and lead the institution to realize Pulitzer's dreams." — Columbia Daily Spectator
"This valuable book is far more comprehensive than John Hohenberg'sThe Pulitzer's Diaries: Inside America's Greatest Prize. Recommended [for] journalism collections at all levels." — Choice
"[Boylan's] book provokes thought about the role of journalism in society and the place of a professional school." — Maurine H. Beasley, American Journalism
"Boylan's attention to detail and his agreeable writing style make it highly readable...Pulitzer's Schoo is a fascinating look at the early days of their discipline." — Barbara Cloud, The Journal of American History
"James Boylan has written a detailed and unvarnished account of the first truly serious school of journalism in the country that befits a professional historian. But he has also written—God save us—a highly readable book, which will be equally compelling to serious readers of the daily news, professional journalists, and academics." — Ben H. Bagdikian, author of The Media Monopoly
1. "I Have Selected Columbia"
2. Schools for Journalists?
3. "Dealing with a Wild Man"
4. "A Posthumous Affair"
5. "We Will Start Right Away"
6. A Building Called "Journalism"
7. "What Journalism Will Do to Columbia"
8. "If Sedition Is to Be Excluded"
9. Red Apple and Maraschino Cherry
10. The First Dean
11. "Ackerman Hails Stand of Press"
12. The Graduate School
13. Speaking to Cabots
14. "My Dear Dean"
15. Outpost in Chungking
16. "Sweat and Tears"
17. Postwar Ventures
18. The Dean and the Prizes
19. "Training Ground"
20. "The Pulitzer Mandate"
21. From Dropout to Dean
23. "Why a Review?"
24. Era of Expansion
25. Edging Toward the Abyss
27. Desperately Seeking a Dean
28. "Welcome to the Joint"
29. Hohenberg and the Prizes
30. Meeting Fatigue
31. "It Appears You Have a New Dean"
32. CJR—From New Management to Old
33. "Sour Apples"
35. To the Exits
36. The Conglomerate
37. "Deans' Row"
38. Trying to Stretch the Year
39. "Clearly Insufficient"
40. Has the Pulitzer Idea Survived?