As a lifelong journalist who has spent the last few years being primarily employed at a university, I have gotten into the habit of hectoring my academic colleagues who complain about the crisis in universities. You don’t know from crisis, I tell them.
Nicholas Lemann is the Pulitzer-Moore Professor of Journalism at Columbia University. He served as dean of the Graduate School of Journalism there from 2003 to 2013, and currently directs a new project called Columbia Global Reports, which publishes six book-length works of journalism a year on aspects of globalization. Lemann contributes frequently to the New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1999. He has published five books, most recently Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War (2006); The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy (1999), which helped lead to a major reform of the SAT; and The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America (1991), which won several book prizes. He has written widely for such publications as the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, the New Republic, and Slate; worked in documentary television with Blackside, Inc., FRONTLINE, the Discovery Channel, and the BBC; lectured at many universities; and served on the boards of many academic and journalistic associations, including the Authors Guild, the National Academy of Sciences’ Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, and the Academy of Political Science.