Jelani Cobb joined the Journalism School faculty in 2016 and became Dean in 2022. He has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2015. He received a Peabody Award for his 2020 PBS Frontline film Whose Vote Counts? and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary in 2018. He has also been a political analyst for MSNBC since 2019.
He is the author of The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress and To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic. He is the editor or co-editor of several volumes including The Matter of Black Lives, a collection of The New Yorker’s writings on race and The Essential Kerner Commission Report. He is producer or co-producer on a number of documentaries including Lincoln’s Dilemma, Obama: A More Perfect Union and Policing the Police.
Dr. Cobb was educated at Jamaica High School in Queens, NY, Howard University, where he earned a B.A. in English, and Rutgers University, where he completed his MA and doctorate in American History in 2003. He is also a recipient of fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation and the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American Journalism Project, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2023.