HOME     |     INTRODUCTION     |     FORUM     |     ESSAYS     |     BACKGROUND
What's the Right Way to Train Journalists

Amazingly, that question came into the news in the summer of 2002, when Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger jolted people by suspending the search for a new journalism dean. Why did he do it? "There is a yawning gulf between the various visions of what a modern school of journalism ought to be," Bollinger told his faculty.

Into that gulf he had stepped.

Bollinger demanded of the dean-less J school a period of reflection on its role in the world and place in the university. He said he would name a special task force to examine the school's future direction. This in turn opened a debate about how to prepare journalists for the real world. Critics and defenders took up their pens—in op-ed pages, letters columns, trade journals—and began arguing about the curriculum and, indeed, the whole point of having J-schools.

Of course they were also arguing about what journalism's problems and possibilities are today. And why not?

The wider meaning of Bollinger's action, and the various "visions of what a modern journalism school ought to be," are the subject of our first Zoned for Debate feature. (Click here to get up to speed with basic background on the controversy.)

The Essay section debuts with Jay Rosen's defense of the Columbia president, "Taking Bollinger's Course on the American Press," from the Chronicle of Higher Education; Brooke Kroeger's reflections on "Journalism With a Scholar's Intent," published here for the first time; Ron Rosenbaum's column on the Columbia case from the New York Observer; "A J-School Manifesto" by Mitchell Stephens, first published in the Columbia Journalism Review and an original essay by Wayne Robins, "Wimps of the Roundtable and other Challenges for Journalism Schools.".

In the Forum section, NYU faculty take stands and speak their minds. Contributors are both full time professors and part-time instructors. All are journalists and writers—and teachers. And they do not think alike, at all.

HOME     |     INTRODUCTION     |     FORUM     |     ESSAYS     |     BACKGROUND

© Copyright 2002 New York University