Ilya Marritz covers business for WNYC.
Exit Interview: Nicholas Lemann Steps Down as Dean of Columbia Journalism School, and Doesn't Plan on Tweeting
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 06:36 PM
After 10 years on the job, Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, will give up his leadership role at the end of the academic year.
During his tenure, the industry underwent a technological revolution. Gawker and Facebook were in their infancy when he started, and The Huffington Post and Twitter didn't yet exist. Since then, Lemann says, the internet has shown itself to be "the best medium for journalism ever invented."
"It has no space limitations, it has archiving and linking capability, it's just a fabulous way to receive news," Lemann said. "You know, if you want to see this all as a problem, the problem is that online we haven't found an economic system support large staffs of professional journalists."
So will Lemann start tweeting once he's relieved of his responsibilities? No way.
"My worry about it would be that what the Lord sent me to do as a journalist is not tweet but [to] do long form and it couldn't be an efficient use of my time to devote a lot of time to tweeting," he explained.
Come May, Lemann says he'll devote more time to writing magazine articles for the New Yorker, where he’s been a staff writer since 1999, and to writing books. But one topic he probably won’t be writing about is the present and future of American journalism.
"One of the great things about being a dean [at Columbia] is you have a bully pulpit and you get a really good chance to talk about these things," he said. "And I feel like I've said my piece about that."
As of Wednesday evening, though, the @nicholaslemann twitter handle is still available.