Lipman Center Projects | Columbia Journalism School

Lipman Center Projects

The Lipman Dialogues

The Lipman Dialogues are succinct, timely discussions with people at the center of issues relating to civil and human rights. Each dialogue focuses upon a single issue and a single journalist, activist, political figure or changemaker connected to it. We hope that by presenting these dialogues we will equip our viewers not only with an understanding of the urgent issues confronting us but also what can be done to address them.

“Whose Vote Counts?”

The vulnerability of the sacred right to vote in the United States was exposed during the 2020 presidential election. PBS FRONTLINE spent a year investigating voter suppression in collaboration with documentary filmmaker June Cross of the Columbia Journalism School, Columbia Journalism Investigations, USA Today and Jelani Cobb, director of Columbia’s Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights. 

The film “Whose Vote Counts?” debuted Oct. 20, 2020. The Lipman Center held a panel discussion on the work in November with Steve Coll, dean of Columbia Journalism School as moderator, and panelists Jelani Cobb, June Cross, Tom Jennings of Frontline, and Steve Stirling of CJI. 


April 2022: "The Scales of Justice: Reporting on Policing, Prisons and Criminal Justice"

Panels moderated by Jelani Cobb, featuring winners of the Lipman Center’s inaugural Initiative in Reporting on Race and Criminal Justice Grants. Panelists: Pulitzer Prize winners Ashley Remkus and John Archibald from; Pulitzer Prize winners Margie Mason and Robin MacDowell from The Associated Press; writer Samantha Michaels and data journalist Ryan Kelly from Mother Jones; Julieta Martinelli from Futura Media Group; Brittney Martin, independent journalist.

April 2021: "Race in America: Covering Far-Right Extremism"

A panel moderated by Jelani Cobb. Panelists: Historian Kathleen Belew, author of “Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America” and co-editor of the forthcoming "A Field Guide to White Supremacy," which gathers resources for journalists covering racial violence, white nationalism, and other issues of inequality and Nina Berman, professor of journalism at Columbia and an award-winning documentary photographer who has tracked white supremacy for the past two years.

March 2021: "Race in America: Violence Against Asians"

A panel moderated by Jelani Cobb. Panelists: historian Ellen Wu, professor of history and director of Asian American studies at Indiana University Bloomington, and author of "The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority" and Jiayang Fu, a staff writer at the New Yorker who has covered violence against Asians and China and American politics.

Born Free and Equal: A Symposium on Journalism and Civil and Human Rights

The center held a full-day symposium on April 1, 2019, that included two panels:

  • “Crisis and Crucible: The Landscape of Civil and Human Rights in 2019.” Panelists included two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Martha Mendoza, National Writer for The Associated Press; Carol Anderson, the Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies at Emory University and author of New York Times best seller "White Rage"; and Jenni Monet, investigative journalist of Native American issues. Moderator: Ginger Thompson, senior reporter at ProPublica and adjunct professor at Columbia Journalism School. 
  • “Perspectives: A Dialogue With Ta-Nehisi Coates and Charlayne Hunter-Gault.”  Coates is a New York Times best-selling author and former writer for The Atlantic; Hunter-Gault is a civil rights activist and former journalist who has worked for National Public Radio, PBS MacNeil/Lehrer Report, The New York Times, among others. Moderator: Jelani Cobb.
Ginger Thompson laughs as Carol Anderson holds mic and gesticulates
Moderator Ginger Thompson and Panelist Carol Anderson

Lipman Center Fellows Discuss Their Projects

  • 2022: Chris Gelardi, a narrative and investigative journalist based in New York whose work recently has focused on American colonialism in the Caribbean and Pacific; Brandi Kellam, producer and reporter for CBS News who focuses on criminal justice reform; Madalyn Mendoza, a reporter with My San Antonio, who covers social justice issues. Jelani Cobb.
  • 2021: Kovie Biakolo, a journalist and writer specializing in culture and identity, talks about the plight of Black migrants at the southern border; Brittney Martin, an investigative reporter, researcher and narrative writer, presents her podcast on convict leasing and the old prison in Sugar Land, Texas, where convicts died working the sugar cane plantation; Seyma Bayram, a reporter at the Akron Beacon Journal, talks about economic segregation in Ohio. Jelani Cobb.
  • 2020: Clair MacDougall, who has written for The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, Foreign Policy and others, discussed her fellowship investigation on  the abuse of repatriated Guantanamo detainees; Ann Marie Cunningham, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Nation and elsewhere and who is a New York Times best-selling author, talked about her story on the rise of domestic violence against Black and Native American women in Mississippi. Moderator: Jelani Cobb.
  • 2019: Adam Serwer, a writer with The Atlantic, discussed his fellowship work on the civil rights movement; Alice Speri, staff writer at The Intercept, reported on her investigation of police and FBI labeling Black protestors extremists; Dan Vock, former writer for Governing magazine, wrote about realtors and school segregation; Maura Walz, news editor at Southern California Public Radio, discussed her Lipman grant to do a portrait of the Virginia school she attended as a child that is now segregated. Moderator: Jelani Cobb.
  • 2018: Monica Rhor, editorial writer and member of the Houston Chronicle editorial board, covered the criminalization of Black girls for her fellowship; Kira Lerner, a reporter at The Appeal, wrote about the voting rights of former convicts. Moderator: Jelani Cobb.

Brown Bag Chats With Columbia Journalism Investigations

Designed to help emerging reporters learn how to cover race and equity issues responsibly:

Ann Marie Cunningham, a 2020 Lipman Fellow, Jan. 11, 2022 
Ann Marie Cunningham discussed her experience documenting violence against Black and brown girls and women.
Ron Nixon and Adeshina Emmanuel, Nov. 30, 2021
Ron Nixon, global investigations editor the AP and a Pulitzer and Emmy winner, and Adeshina Emmanuel, editor-in-chief of Injustice Watch, discussed their experiences in the traditionally white-male world of investigative journalism and how they believe their backgrounds, viewpoints and experiences help shape their work. 
Alice Qaanik Glenn, Oct. 26, 2021
Alice Qaanik Glenn, an Inupiaq raised in Utqiagvik, Alaska and podcaster discussed Native life in Alaska.

Marianne Engelman-Lado and Vernice Miller-Travis, April 29, 2021

This session featured two veteran civil rights and social justice advocates who have worked to combat environmental racism affecting communities of color across the country and at the federal level. Marianne Engelman-Lado is a law professor who established the environmental justice law clinic at Vermont Law School and a deputy general counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency. Vernice Miller-Travis is a recipient of the Sierra Club’s Robert Bullard Environmental Justice Award.

Monica Rhor, a 2018 Lipman Fellow, March 23, 2021

Monica Rhor, story editor at Chalkbeat and a 2018 Lipman Fellow, discussed her work reporting a series of stories about the criminalization of black girls in Houston and how the juvenile system contributes to high incarceration and poverty rates for black women and their families.

Hilton Kelley, Ben Eaton and Melissa Miles, February 23, 2021

This session featured resident-activists from communities of color that have been thrust into the media spotlight because of environmental discrimination, natural disaster and other social issues. Our guests provided a firsthand account of what it is like to be on the receiving end of reporters’ questions and give advice for how reporters can approach and develop sources within communities that might differ from their own backgrounds.

Dan Vock, a 2019 Lipman Center Fellow January 26, 2021

Freelance reporter Dan Vock broke down his investigation into Great Schools, an online company that assigns schools grades. His investigation found that the company makes neighborhood segregation worse.

Mary Annaïse Heglar, former writer-in-residence at Columbia’s Earth Institute, December 22, 2020

Mary Annaise Heglar’s climate justice essays have appeared in the New Republic, Boston Globe, and more. She shared her advocate perspective on reporters covering climate change and environmental justice — what we miss, what we do right and how we might approach sources different from us in order to better illuminate climate's unequal burdens.

Adam Serwer, a 2019 Lipman Center Fellow, November 24, 2020

Adam Serwer, a staff writer at The Atlantic, deconstructed the reporting he did as a Lipman fellow on free-speech limitations on people from marginalized groups and how these prevent them from participating in debates over their fundamental rights.

Angela Lang, director of Black Leaders Organizing Communities, in Wisconsin, October 27, 2020

Angela Lang is a 28-year old Milwaukee native who founded BLOC in 2017 to engage more people to vote in her native city, which some consider the most segregated American city. She spoke about the grassroots efforts in communities of color to get out the vote in the 2020 election.

Kira Lerner, a 2018 Lipman Center Fellow, September 29, 2020

Kira Lerner, a staff writer at The Appeal, has spent years covering voter suppression, disenfranchisement and voting rights. She deconstructed her work as a Lipman fellow examining a Jim Crow-era disenfranchisement law in Florida that prevented hundreds of African Americans from participating in the voting process.