In 1892 Democrat yellow journalist Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the nation’s then-largest newspaper the New York World, offered Columbia University money to establish the world’s first school of journalism. University President Seth Low refused, probably because journalism was then seen as disreputable, lower-class work unfit for academic study. But when Pulitzer died in 1911, leaving $2 million to Columbia to fund a journalism school and a prize in his name, new President Nicholas Murray Butler accepted it. Columbia’s journalism school opened in 1912.
The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism is the only such school among Ivy League universities. It awards Masters degrees in Journalism and Ph.D.s in Communications, and teaches several broadcast and print specialties. It publishes the influential Columbia Journalism Review and controls several annual prestigious honors, including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for broadcast journalism and the Pulitzer Prizes for print journalism and other endeavors.
The faculty includes Victor Navasky, publisher and editorial director of The Nation magazine; Todd Gitlin, former President of the New Left Students for a Democratic Society; Joan Konner, the President and Executive Producer of Bill Moyers’ Public Affairs Television, Inc.; Andie Tucher, a former Clinton/Gore speechwriter; and Eric Alterman, columnist for The Nation and author of Whose Liberal Media?
Other faculty members are equally on the political Left. “All my professors come from The Nation and the Village Voice,” said one Columbia student quoted by writer George Shadroui. “There is not a single identifiable conservative on the Columbia Journalism faculty.”
Graduates of the Columbia Journalism School have populated America’s establishment print and broadcast media and disseminated its values. These alumni include columnist Molly Ivins; Newsweek Editor-in-Chief Rick Smith and its chief political reporter Howard Fineman; Washington Post columnists Richard Cohen and Howard Kurtz; “60 Minutes” Executive Editor Philip Scheffler and reporter Steve Kroft; ABC television’s “Nightline” Executive Producer Tom Bettag; New York Times reporter Jim Dwyer; National Public Radio anchors Robert Siegel and Margot Adler; CNN reporters Beth Nissen and Myron Kandel; the Chief Executive Officer of Associated Press Louis Boccardi, and many more.
In 2003 Elizabeth Weinreb was named the Columbia School of Journalism’s Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs. Prior to this appointment, she worked for several years as an Associate Producer of the television program Sixty Minutes.