Who will be the next J-School Dean?
Some people were surprised when President Bollinger announced that he would lead the search for Lemann’s successor. They shouldn’t have been: the J-School has always been close to PrezBo’s heart. Prior to Lemann’s appointment in 2003, Bollinger suspended the hunt for a dean so that the school could “rethink the school’s mission and curriculum,” according to the NYTimes.
To make guesses about the type of person who is likely to fill Lemann’s shoes, then, it makes sense to find out what PrezBo thinks about the direction in which journalism should be heading. Luckily, he hasn’t been shy about his opinions on this issue.
1. PrezBo supports government support for the news media. In a 2010 WSJ editorial, he gave a special shout-out to PBS and NPR as two successful models of this idea.
2. He’s a globalist. From an interview with Bloomberg TV: “We really need to think now about a global free press. Many countries…are moving into this space of trying to influence and report on the world, and we really need to be part of that.”
3. That global thing is really, really important to him. In 2011, Bollinger wrote a lengthy article in the Columbia Journalism Review in which he called for “an American World Service: a media institution with sufficient funding to bring the highest-quality American journalism to the global public forum.” This would be a government-funded but editorially-independent journalism enterprise that would report international news about, and to, the entire world.
4. He has his doubts about new media. From the same article: it’s “a reasonably debatable question whether the proliferation of expression that has arrived via the Internet will naturally provide the kind and quality of information we need in a globalized world.” The proliferation of citizen journalists, he says, cannot make up for actual journalistic institutions. Additionally, he (sort of) comes from a print media background: In the 1960s, PrezBo’s father was publisher of the Baker City Herald, a small Oregon newspaper. So when it comes to the next J-School dean we can probably rule out, say, the founder of Buzzfeed.
5. …but he’s not a Luddite. In a book he authored titled Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide Open: A Free Press for a New Century, Bollinger had some positive things to say about the advent of technology-driven media. According to a summary of the book published in Columbia Law Magazine, PrezBo acknowledged that “the Internet and other advances have revolutionized aspects of the field,” though he tempered those words with more doubt.
So these are a few of the ideas that PrezBo will likely bring to the hunt for a new dean. Next week, we’ll be examining other potential driving factors in the hunt, as well as making our best guesses at who might be able to fill the role.
Who do you think might be the next dean? What sort of things should PrezBo be considering as he leads the search? Let us know in the comments!
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