It was announced last week, that double Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Steve Coll will be the new dean of the Columbia Journalism School. Coll has been a mainstay at the Washington Post, and The New Yorker for years. Coll’s replacing Nicholas Lemann on July first. Lemann has been a tenured professor for a decade, and will be missed.
“Steve Coll is one of the most experienced and respected journalists of his generation,” Columbia president, Lee C. Bollinger, said. “Sweeping changes in digital technology and the global marketplace have created unprecedented challenges and opportunities for the news media that demand our constant reflection on the mission and substance of a modern journalism education.” Bollinger continued.
Speaking to his dedication to modern technology in journalism, Mr. Coll was The Post’s managing editor from 1998 to 2004, and helped them ease into becoming a more web based publication. Since 2008, Coll has managed a nonpartisan public policy institute called the New America Foundation, “technology and innovation” is a priority of this foundation. It seems someone who has vast experience in both print journalism, and the transition in digital, would be the perfect choice for this prestigious University’s dean of journalism position.
During Lemann’s time as dean of journalism, he added an additional masters program, added twenty full-time faculty members, and helped raise a whopping $167 million for the journalism program. To say the least, Coll has big shoes to fill. It seems that he is up to the task however.
He describes how he sees the program succeeding, “You get a very rigorous formal education, and toward the end of it you end up practicing and learning in a way that’s not static at all,” he said. “You’re being given the tools to innovate.”
Coll was a very successful student at Occidental College when he attended, earning the title of Magna Cum Laude. That hasn’t translated into an academic career, however. He touches on this;
“I’m in a lot of classrooms,” he said, lecturing on different subjects he’s an expert in. “but I’ve not taught a course from start to finish before, so I’m looking forward to learning.”