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.
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.
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.
This valuable book is far more comprehensive than John Hohenberg's The Pulitzer's Diaries: Inside America's Greatest Prize. Recommended [for] journalism collections at all levels.
[Boylan's] book provokes thought about the role of journalism in society and the place of a professional school.
Maurine H. Beasley
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.
PrefaceIntroductionI Have Selected ColumbiaSchools for Journalists?Dealing with a Wild ManA Posthumous AffairWe Will Start Right AwayA Building Called JournalismWhat Journalism Will Do to ColumbiaIf Sedition Is to Be ExcludedRed Apple and Maraschino CherryThe First DeanAckerman Hails Stand of PressThe Graduate SchoolSpeaking to CabotsMy Dear DeanOutpost in ChungkingSweat and TearsPostwar VenturesThe Dean and the PrizesTraining GroundThe Pulitzer MandateFrom Dropout to DeanShort-ChangedWhy a Review?Era of ExpansionEdging Toward the AbyssFalloutDesperately Seeking a DeanWelcome to the JointHohenberg and the PrizesMeeting FatigueIt Appears You Have a New Dean CJR-From New Management to OldSour ApplesShowdownTo the ExitsThe ConglomerateDeans' RowTrying to Stretch the YearClearly InsufficientHas the Pulitzer Idea Survived?On SourcesNotesIndex