Jelani Cobb Appointed Dean of Columbia Journalism School

May 13, 2022

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

It is with great pleasure that I write to announce my appointment of Jelani Cobb as the next Dean of Columbia Journalism School, as of August 1, 2022. Professor Cobb is the Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism and Director of the Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights.

Jelani is a highly distinguished and renowned journalist and historian. Since 2012, he has worked for The New Yorker, as a contributor and currently as a staff writer, offering in-depth analyses of a wide array of subjects, ranging from electoral politics and policing to filmmaking and stand-up comedy. He has authored books on the election of President Barack Obama and the history of hip hop, and he recently co-edited an anthology of portraits of Black life in America. His essays and opinions have been published in The Washington Post, The New Republic, Essence, Vibe, The Progressive, and Jelani’s expansive resume also includes reporting for “Whose Vote Counts,” the Peabody Award winning documentary series with Columbia colleague June Cross, from PBS FRONTLINE, Columbia Journalism Investigations, and USA Today.

We have been fortunate to count Jelani as a member of our University community since 2016. 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. Among the courses Jelani teaches is the seminar “Covering Race,” which examines the influence of race in the United States and its effects on reporting and media coverage. Jelani graduated from Howard University and received his PhD in American History from Rutgers University. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright and Ford Foundations and in 2015 was honored with the Sidney Hillman Award for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

Jelani’s vision for the future of the Journalism School 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. I am grateful to the members of the search committee for their careful and tireless work throughout this selection process—we are all delighted with this outcome and look forward to seeing how, as Dean, Jelani will shape the future of journalism education.

I know everyone joins me in celebrating this appointment and also in expressing our deepest gratitude to Steve Coll for his wise and forward-looking leadership.


Lee C. Bollinger