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Nick Lemann is the Dean of the Columbia University School of Journalism and a former New Yorker staff writer. While at Harvard – where he  graduated in 1976 –  Lemann[…]

The new delivery system of journalism poses many new questions, Lemann says.

Nicholas Lemann: Well first of all, you know, every younger generation faces challenges. And one of the advantages of learning history is it gets you over the temptation to be ahistorical and think . . . You know when I entered journalism at a salaried level, it was considered an existential crisis time in journalism. Now it’s considered an existential crisis time in journalism. What’s going on now is you have a . . . I mean the big thing that’s going on . . . Probably the biggest thing that’s going on is the advent of the Internet, which is as a delivery system for journalism.  As a delivery system for journalism, the most important thing to come along since television. And that has, you know . . . It’s a challenge for us at the school, and it’s a huge part of the life of what we do and what our graduates will do after they graduate. Partly because of the Internet there’s two other things going on, which is one, a change in the economic model for reporters who work for salaries, which is evolving in ways that we can’t be sure of, but it’s evolving. And then the second is an effacement of borders. It used to be that most journalism was pretty local really, and journalism took place within community. And that’s less and less true. It’s . . . American journalism is more national, certainly on the Web, and it’s also more international.


Recorded on: 11/30/07