Faculty Emeriti

Faculty Emeriti

Honoring journalistic and academic excellence.

  • Professor Nasar was the first James S. and John L. Knight Professor of Business Journalism. She co-directed the M.A. program in business journalism.

    Professor Nasar is the author of the bestselling biography, "A Beautiful Mind," which has been published in 30 languages, including Farsi, Turkish, Russian and Hindi, and inspired the Academy Award-winning movie directed by Ron Howard (2001).

    Trained as an economist, Professor Nasar was a New York Times economics correspondent (1991-1999), staff writer at Fortune (1983-1989) and columnist at U.S. News & World Report (1990). Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Newsweek, The New York Times Sunday Book Review, Fast Company, London Telegraph and numerous other publications. 

    She lectured on topics ranging from globalization and economics to mental illness and mathematics. Professor Nasar co-edited "The Essential John Nash" (2001) and “Best American Science Writing of 2008” (2009), acted as creative consultant for the American Experience documentary, “A Brilliant Madness” (2001), and wrote the script for the 321 Fast Draw video, “The History of Economic Progress in Four Minutes” (2011).

    She is the recipient of many honors including a Guggenheim Fellowship (2013), the Berlin Prize (2013), the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Science and Technology (2011), the Spears Financial History Book of the Year Award (2011), and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography (1998) and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in biography (1998). She has held visiting fellowships at the Russell Sage Foundation (2006-2007), the MacDowell Colony (2006), Yaddo (2005), the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (2002-2003, 1995-96); and Kings and Churchill Colleges, Cambridge University (2000). She has served as a judge for the National Book Award, Anthony Lucas Book Award, the Lynton History Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, Dow Jones Newswires, and SABEW and serves on the advisory board of TeenScreen.

    Professor Nasar, who grew up in Germany and Turkey, received her B.A. in literature from Antioch College (1970) and her M.A. in economics from New York University (1976). She was awarded honorary doctorates from De Paul University (2005) and Niagara University (2011).

  • Melvin Mencher, professor emeritus, taught at the Graduate School of Journalism from 1962 to 1990 after working for the United Press and newspapers in New Mexico and California. He has covered Central America as a special correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor. Mencher has also taught at the University of Kansas and Humboldt State University. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard and is the author of "News Reporting and Writing," now in its 12th edition.

  • LynNell Hancock is a reporter and writer specializing in education and child and family policy issues, who has taught journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism since 1993. She is the director of the Spencer Fellowship for Education Journalism, a program that supports the work of mid-career journalists to study at Columbia and produce significant works of journalism on education topics.

    In addition to contributing to Newsweek, Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation and The New York Times, she served on staff of The Village Voice, the New York Daily News, and Newsweek where she covered national and local education issues. She has served on the National Advisory Board of Journalism Fellowships in Child and Family Policy and Columbia University’s Institute for Child and Family Policy.

    Hancock is the author of "Hands to Work: The Stories of Three Families Racing the Welfare Clock" (2002) and contributed to "America’s Mayor" (2005) and "The Public Assault on America’s Children: Poverty, Violence and Juvenile Injustice" (2000).

    Hancock holds an M.A. in East Asian Languages and Literature and an M.S. in Journalism, both from Columbia.

    Listen to Prof. Hancock on BlogTalkRadio. (link is external)

  • Dinges was in charge of the school’s radio curriculum, which he revamped to emphasize public radio journalism. He received a BA from Loras College and an MA in Latin American Studies from Stanford University. Dinges began his career as a reporter and copy editor for The Des Moines Register & Tribune. He was a freelance correspondent in Latin America for many years, during the period of military governments and civil wars in South and Central America, writing for Time, The Washington Post, ABC Radio, The Miami Herald and other news organizations.

    On his return to the United States, he worked as assistant editor on the foreign desk at The Washington Post. He joined National Public Radio as it was building up its foreign coverage, serving as deputy foreign editor and managing editor for news.

    He is the author of "The Condor Years: How Pinochet and his Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents" (The New Press 2004). His other books include "Assassination on Embassy Row" (1980), "Our Man in Panama: The Shrewd Rise and Brutal Fall of Manuel Noriega" (1990), "Sound Reporting: The National Public Radio Guide to Radio Journalism and Production" (as co-editor and co-author) (1992), and "Independence and Integrity: A Guidebook for Public Radio Journalism" (co-editor) (1995).

    His awards include the Maria Moors Cabot Prize for excellence in Latin American reporting, the Latin American Studies Media Award, and two Alfred I. du Pont-Columbia University Awards (as NPR Managing Editor).

    Listen to Prof. Dinges on BlogTalkRadio.

  • James B. Stewart was the Bloomberg professor of business journalism. He taught in the business section of the M.A. program. 

    He is the author of eleven books, including the national best-seller, “DisneyWar,” an account of Michael Eisner's tumultuous reign at America's best known entertainment company. He is also the author of national bestsellers “Den of Thieves,” about Wall Street in the 80s, “Blind Eye”, an investigation of the medical profession, and “Blood Sport”, about the Clinton White House. “Follow the Story: How to Write Successful Nonfiction,” was inspired by his classes at Columbia. “Heart of a Soldier,” named the best non-fiction book of 2002 by Time magazine, recounts the remarkable life of Rick Rescorla, a victim in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. His most also authored “Tangled Web.”

    He wrote for the New York Times and contributed regularly to The New Yorker. He was formerly "Page One" Editor of The Wall Street Journal.

    Stewart is the recipient of a 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Wall Street Journal articles on the 1987 stock market crash and the insider trading scandal. He is also the winner of the George Polk award and two Gerald Loeb awards. “Blind Eye” was the winner of the 2000 Edgar Allan Poe Award given annually by the Mystery Writers of America. In 2005, “DisneyWar” was named a finalist for the first annual Financial Times/Goldman Sachs business book of the year award.

    Stewart is a graduate of Harvard Law School and DePauw University. He was born and attended public schools in Quincy, Illinois.

  • Betsy West is a video journalist and filmmaker. She directed RBG (CNNFilms, Magnolia, Participant) along with CJS alum Julie Cohen ‘89. RBG, a theatrical documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

    West was executive producer of the MAKERS documentary and digital project (AOL & PBS, 2012); the feature documentary The Lavender Scare (2017), and the short doc 4%: Film’s Gender Problem (Epix 2016.)  Along with her husband, filmmaker Oren Jacoby, she is a principal at Storyville Films where she co-produced Constantine’s Sword (First Run Features, 2007.)

    West joined the Columbia faculty in 2009 after working three decades in network news. As a producer and executive at ABC News, she received 21 Emmy Awards and two duPont-Columbia Awards for her work on “Nightline” and “PrimeTimeLive” and the documentary program ”Turning Point,” where she served as executive producer from 1994-1998. As senior vice president at CBS News from 1998-2005, she oversaw “60 Minutes” and “48 Hours,” and was executive in charge of the CBS documentary 9/11, winner of the Primetime Emmy Award in 2002.

    At Columbia, she taught classes in reporting, video production and documentary. She co-curated and moderated the FilmFridays screening series that brought first-run documentaries and their directors to the Journalism School.

    A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University, West holds a Master’s in Communications from Syracuse University. She served two terms on the Corporation of Brown University, and sat on Board of Directors of The New 42nd Street. 

  • Ann Cooper is an award-winning journalist and foreign correspondent with more than 25 years of radio and print reporting experience. She also worked eight years as executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, a press freedom advocacy group, prior to joining the Columbia faculty.

    Cooper’s voice was well known to National Public Radio listeners as NPR’s first Moscow bureau chief, covering the tumultuous events of the final five years of Soviet communism. She co-edited a book, “Russia at the Barricades,” about a failed 1991 coup attempt, and she has continued to write about the glasnost era, the subsequent decline of press freedom in Russia, and Russia’s global media strategy.

    After Moscow, Cooper worked as NPR's bureau chief in Johannesburg. Her coverage of South Africa’s first all-race elections in 1994 helped NPR win a duPont-Columbia silver baton for excellence in broadcast journalism. 

    Cooper has also reported for the Louisville Courier-Journal, Capitol Hill News Service, Congressional Quarterly, the Baltimore Sun, and National Journal magazine. In 1996, she was the Edward R. Murrow fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and in 2003 she was the James H. Ottaway Sr. Visiting Professor of Journalism at State University of New York in New Paltz.

    Cooper served as president of the Correspondents Fund and is a member of CPJ’s Leadership Council and of the Council on Foreign Relations. At Columbia, she was the Journalism School’s Broadcast Director 2006-2012 and International Director 2015-2018. She served on Columbia's Committee on Global Thought and as a member of the Harriman Institute faculty at Columbia. Cooper has also been a juror for the Pulitzer, Overseas Press Club and duPont-Columbia awards, and she chaired the duPont jury 2007-2010.

    Iowa State University, where Cooper majored in journalism, has honored her with its James W. Schwartz award for service to journalism and its Alumni Merit Award, given "for outstanding contributions to human welfare that transcend purely professional accomplishments and bring honor to the university."

    She has been to nearly 80 countries – some as a journalist, others as a press-freedom advocate or a team leader for Habitat for Humanity global volunteer programs. She has been a U.S. State Department speaker on press freedom and journalism ethics in Turkey, Russia and Germany. 

    Cooper was a Spring 2020 fellow at Harvard's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

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