Veteran journalist and author Jelani Cobb will assume the helm of the prestigious Columbia University Journalism School beginning Aug. 1, 2022. (Photo Courtesy Columbia University/ Calla Kessler)

By AFRO Staff

Jelani Cobb, the award-winning essayist, author and staff writer with The New Yorker, has been named the new dean of the prestigious Columbia University Journalism School, the school announced May 13.

Cobb, who is currently the Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism and Director of the Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights at the New York university, will begin his tenure Aug. 1.

“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,” Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger said in making the announcement.

In addition to his contributions to The New Yorker, Cobb has written numerous articles and essays that have appeared in the Washington Post, The New Republic, Essence, Vibe, The Progressive, and He is the 2015 recipient of the Sidney Hillman Award for Opinion and Analysis writing.

The Queens, N.Y., native has also authored several books, including “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress,” “To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic,” and “The Devil and Dave Chappelle and Other Essays,” a collection of articles and essays.  He has also contributed to a number of anthologies that explore facets of Black life and culture in America.

Cobb graduated from Howard University, the renowned HBCU in Washington, D.C., and received his doctorate in American history from Rutgers University. The Fulbright and Ford Foundation fellowships recipient also served as an associate professor of history and director of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut, where he specialized in post-Civil War African American history, 20th century American politics and the history of the Cold War. 

Cobb joined the Columbia Journalism School faculty in 2016. As part of the school’s Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights, he and his colleagues foster diversity in journalism and ensure that critical issues are covered with the care and attention they deserve, Bollinger said.

“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,” Bollinger said. “…We are all delighted with this outcome and look forward to seeing how, as Dean, Jelani will shape the future of journalism education.”

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