|Columbia University Archives|
Table of Contents
Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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Series I: Administration, 1912-1999
Series III: Awards and Prizes, 1934-1988
Series V: Deans and Directors, 1880-1996
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in 7 series. The physical organization reflects the original order, the finding aid reflect its intellectual arrangement by topic.
Consisting of correspondence, reports, memorandum, meeting minutes, speeches, lectures, notes, newspaper clippings, publications, photographs and audio/visual materials, these records were generated by the administrative offices of the Graduate School of Journalism and document the operations of the school, the evolution of journalism education, and the work of administrators and students. The records are particularly strong with regard to the evolution of the School's curriculum and development.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least 2 business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
All administrative records of the University are restricted for 25 years from the date of creation. Additional restrictions may apply.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Graduate School of Journalism Records; Box and Folder; Columbia University; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Related Material at Columbia
Additional materialsexpected periodically
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Records processed 11/2011-5/2012 by Joyce LeeAnn Joseph, Pratt Institute 2011-2012
Additional records processed Jocelyn Wilk and Molly Boord (GS 2021) 8/2017.
Finding aid written Jocelyn Wilk and Susan Hamson 06/2012.
2012-09-08 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
The School of Journalism was established through monies left to Columbia University in the will of Joseph Pulitzer who died in 1911. As he wrote in his will, "There are now special schools for instruction for lawyers, physicians, clergymen, military and naval officers, engineers, architects and artists, but none for the instruction of journalists. That all other professions and not journalism should have the advantage of special training seems to me contrary to reason." [pp. 3-4, "Extracts from the Will of Joseph Pulitzer, died, October 29, 1911]. The original agreements regarding the establishment and organization of the school were made in 1903 and 1904, but the school did not actually open until 1912 – a year after Pulitzer died.
Seventy-nine undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in that first class, including a dozen women. Classes convened at several locations around campus, as the Journalism building was still under construction. The building opened the next year, and in 1917 the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded. The School of Journalism began as an undergraduate school offering a B.Litt. Degree to its graduates, but in 1935 the School became the first in the nation to adopt a program exclusively at the graduate level.
Dean Carl W. Ackerman, one of the first nine to graduate from the School in 1913, spearheaded the school's 1935 transition to become the first graduate school of journalism in the United States. Devoted to intensive, hands-on instruction, the school gave classes of sixty students the lives of journalists, racing around the city on subways to find stories during the day, and drafting articles in a single, large newsroom in the Journalism building well into the night.
The Journalism School's reach and reputation as a unique incubator of talent soared throughout the years, from the foundation of the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes in 1939 to promote inter-American understanding to the establishment of satellite schools in China and Venezuela during the next decade. The school also began to offer coursework in television news and documentary to supplement its traditional focus on newspapers and radio. Approaching its 50th year, the school instituted Journalism Day and the Columbia Journalism Award, and in 1961 established the Columbia Journalism Review, a groundbreaking publication covering trends and developments in the profession.
The Journalism School's sixth decade was an exciting one, as the building added newsrooms, began to dispense the National Magazine Awards, and created the Alfred I. DuPont – Columbia Awards for excellence in broadcast journalism. In 1966 the school brought in Fred Friendly, the legendary former president of CBS News, and opened a new broadcast news laboratory shortly thereafter. Friendly initiated a summer program for minority students, and Luther P. Jackson '51 became the school's first African-American professor.
Innovation with an eye towards tradition continued to guide the Journalism School through the years. The 1960s and 1970s established the blueprint of the school's basic curriculum and codified Reporting and Writing 1 (RW1) as the cornerstone of the Master of Science experience. The creation of the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship to enrich business journalism in 1975 and the 1985 creation of the Delacorte Center for Magazine Journalism gave students invaluable opportunities to specialize. Recognizing that computers and a changing media landscape would revolutionize journalism in the twenty-first century, Dean Joan Konner moved decisively in the 1980s and 90s to ensure that the school offered cutting-edge technology and intensive broadcast experience second to none.
The addition of a Ph.D. Program in 2001, a Master of Arts degree in 2005, and the 2006 opening of the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism have underlined the Journalism School's continuing vitality as it approaches its centennial. Recently, the opening of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism and the announcement of a new dual M.S. degree in Computer Science and Journalism have demonstrated the school's continued commitment to innovation and its endless capacity to evolve along with a field that is always on the move.