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PULITZER'S SCHOOL: Columbia University's School of Journalism, 1903–2003

James Boylan, Author
James Boylan, Author . Columbia Univ. $37.50 (337p) ISBN 978-0-231-13090-5
Reviewed on: 09/22/2003
Release date: 11/01/2003
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Boylan, who taught journalism at Columbia from 1957 to 1979, founded the Columbia Journalism Review and served as a Pulitzer Prize juror, was commissioned by the dean of Columbia's journalism school to write this account of the school's history. Working mostly from archival materials from the university's various collections, supplemented by relevant published materials, Boylan has produced a straightforward corporate history of the institution, from Pulitzer's original $2 million grant to start a professional school of journalism on the Columbia campus, up to controversies over the future of the school's mission under its current president, Lee Bollinger. Boylan emphasizes the shifting relationship of the journalism school to the rest of the university, the role of various faculty members in shaping the journalism curriculum and the diverse career moves of the Journalism School staff. Boylan mentions major controversies on the larger campus—e.g., the riots of 1968—only in passing, and he sometimes describes the journalism school's politically questionable activities in a less than critical fashion. (For example, Boylan dismisses the journalism school's involvement in training the Kuomintang, with secret funding from the U.S. government, simply as an "object lesson" in the "complications" arising from covert operations.) While it isn't unusual for corporate histories to sidestep controversy, it is unfortunate that Boylan chose not to detail the actual curriculum of the journalism school; readers are left with a sense of the generic problems of a professional school within a major university, but no real feel for the type of training "Pulitzer's School" has offered over the last century. Photos. (Dec.)

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