Robe Imbriano, Emmy Award-winning showrunner, named Ira A. Lipman Associate Professor of Journalism at Columbia Journalism School
Robe Imbriano has joined Columbia Journalism School as the new Ira A. Lipman Associate Professor of Journalism and the next Director of the Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights. An Emmy Award-winning creator and former member of the part-time faculty, he has spent his career exploring America through its founding principles, the lived experiences of its most vulnerable people, and those who have made great impacts on American society.
"We're thrilled to welcome Robe, a visionary in television production," said Jelani Cobb, Dean of the Columbia Journalism School and Henry R. Luce Professor of Journalism. "He brings precisely the wealth of experience and vision we need to bring the Lipman Center to the next level. We’re excited about bringing him on board.”
Imbriano has written and produced for Diane Sawyer, Peter Jennings, Bill Moyers, and Oprah Winfrey, to name a few — and received numerous honors along the way.
Imbriano was an executive producer for the acclaimed 2022 Hulu series “Killing County,” sharing the credit with Colin Kaepernick. He also co-created the Netflix documentary series “Amend: The Fight for America,” featuring Mahershala Ali, Samuel L. Jackson, Sherrilyn Ifill, Bryan Stevenson and more. Hosted by Will Smith, “Amend” delves into the history of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which granted citizenship to all people born or naturalized in the U.S. — including those who had been formerly enslaved — and it guaranteed all citizens equal protection under the law.
The series, featuring a distinguished group of scholars, participants and actors, provided a powerful examination of the 14th Amendment's impact on American life, and America’s struggle with equality.
Imbriano has profiled Jay-Z and Hank Aaron; explored the lives of scientists with Neil deGrasse Tyson; and compared the art of jazz music to the virtues of American democracy in “Let Freedom Swing,” a conversation between Wynton Marsalis, the Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, and retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
He developed and launched “Soul of a Nation,” the very first major broadcast network series about Black life in America. The six-part series, which debuted on ABC in 2021, was nominated for 11 Emmy Awards in its very first season. Additionally, he has created a series featuring the voices of America’s economically and socially marginalized for primetime news magazine Day One on ABC News.
"The stakes have never been higher for stories about civil and human rights," said Imbriano. "I want the Lipman Center to provoke and inspire students, and the field, to tell the most important and underreported stories of our time. It’s essential that we bring these narratives to life — not to humanize the subjects of these stories, as they have never lost their humanity. We tell these stories to remind the rest of us that the impulse to deprive the most vulnerable of their humanity reflects the loss of our own."
The named professorship and Lipman Center itself were made possible by the generosity of the late Ira A. Lipman, humanitarian, philanthropist, and longtime champion of Columbia Journalism School. The Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights, established in 2018, convenes leaders in journalism, and civil and human rights, and conducts research around social justice issues. The center also enhances the academic experience of current journalism school students by contributing to curricula design and developing student activities inspired by the center’s work. At the heart of the center’s mission are the annual fellowships intended to produce significant civil and human rights reportage.