Providing leadership for the journalism community by informing and shaping the ways in which we understand race, diversity, civil and human rights
The center, directed by Jelani Cobb, the Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism and an expert on history and race in the U.S., convenes leaders in journalism, and civil and human rights, and conducts research around social justice issues. The center enhances the academic experience of current journalism school students by contributing to curricula design and developing student activities inspired by the center’s work.
"Our objective in all of our work is to help shape the discourse around a fraught subject that continues to undergird a great deal of American life," Professor Cobb says. “We hope to support a cohort of reporters who bring the depth of knowledge and perspective to the coverage of race that we routinely expect of journalists who cover the economy, politics and foreign policy. To do so would be a service to the profession, and to the public.”
At the heart of the center’s mission is the establishment of annual fellowships intended to produce significant civil and human rights reportage. The center also administers the Initiative in Reporting on Race and Criminal Justice, a reporting project for local newsrooms to investigate systemic racism in the criminal justice system.
Jelani Cobb is director of The Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights, and Columbia University’s Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism. He joined the faculty in 2016. He has contributed to The New Yorker since 2012 and became a staff writer in 2015. Dr. Cobb is the recipient of the 2015 Sidney Hillman Award for Opinion and Analysis writing, and writes frequently about race, politics, history and culture. Dr. Cobb is also a recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright and Ford Foundations.
He is the author of "The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress," "To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic" and "The Devil & Dave Chappelle and Other Essays." His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New Republic, Essence, Vibe, The Progressive and TheRoot.com. He has also contributed to a number of anthologies including "In Defense of Mumia," "Testimony," "Mending the World and Beats" and "Rhymes and Life."
Dr. Cobb is editor of "The Essential Harold Cruse: A Reader." Born and raised in Queens, New York, he is a graduate of Howard University and Rutgers University, where he received his doctorate in American History.
About Ira A. Lipman
The Ira A. Lipman Center
Columbia University School of Journalism
New York, NY 10027