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Pulitzer's School: Columbia University's School of Journalism, 1903-2003 Hardcover – November 12, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0231130905 ISBN-10: 0231130902

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Boylan, who taught journalism at Columbia from 1957 to 1979, founded the Columbia Journalism Review and served as a Pulitzer Prize juror, was commissioned by the dean of Columbia's journalism school to write this account of the school's history. Working mostly from archival materials from the university's various collections, supplemented by relevant published materials, Boylan has produced a straightforward corporate history of the institution, from Pulitzer's original $2 million grant to start a professional school of journalism on the Columbia campus, up to controversies over the future of the school's mission under its current president, Lee Bollinger. Boylan emphasizes the shifting relationship of the journalism school to the rest of the university, the role of various faculty members in shaping the journalism curriculum and the diverse career moves of the Journalism School staff. Boylan mentions major controversies on the larger campus e.g., the riots of 1968 only in passing, and he sometimes describes the journalism school's politically questionable activities in a less than critical fashion. (For example, Boylan dismisses the journalism school's involvement in training the Kuomintang, with secret funding from the U.S. government, simply as an "object lesson" in the "complications" arising from covert operations.) While it isn't unusual for corporate histories to sidestep controversy, it is unfortunate that Boylan chose not to detail the actual curriculum of the journalism school; readers are left with a sense of the generic problems of a professional school within a major university, but no real feel for the type of training "Pulitzer's School" has offered over the last century. Photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


At a time of intense controversy about the press, James Boylan has written a candid, fascinating account of the best-known school for educating journalists. The Columbia Journalism School is undergoing its own revolution these days. Perhaps it will move back toward the goal, set by Joseph Pulitzer in 1902, that Boylan recalls: to teach journalists about 'politics, literature, government, constitutional principles.'

(Anthony Lewis, James Madison Visiting Professor of First Amendment Issues, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, former columnist, The New York Times)

Boylan has produced a detailed history of the school from its origin to the present. Making extensive use of archival materials, he traces the school's history through its deans and faculty and highlights the ongoing academic arguments over the nature of journalism education.

(Library Journal)

Boylan's book is absorbing certainly for anyone with a tie to the School or a concern about journalism education. And it portrays some fascinating characters, their oddities, their disputes, their fits of indignation, and even occasional heroism.

(Columbia Journalism Alumni Journal)

This book is a valuable contribution to the debate about journalism education. Boylan has done an admirable job of summing up the technical problems of the school's administration. But his history was ultimately written in the hopes that the school's leaders can transcend the details and lead the institution to realize Pulitzer's dreams.

(Columbia Daily Spectator)

This valuable book is far more comprehensive than John Hohenberg'sThe Pulitzer's Diaries: Inside America's Greatest Prize. Recommended [for] journalism collections at all levels.


[Boylan's] book provokes thought about the role of journalism in society and the place of a professional school.

(Maurine H. Beasley American Journalism)

Boylan's attention to detail and his agreeable writing style make it highly readable...Pulitzer's Schoo is a fascinating look at the early days of their discipline.

(Barbara Cloud The Journal of American History)

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Pulitzer's School: Columbia University's School of Journalism, 1903-2003
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