In a recent USA Today column, Vanity Fair columnist (and sometimes New York contributor) Michael Wolff criticized Columbia Journalism School’s decision appoint writer Steve Coll dean, and dismissed the school’s brand new digital reporting program. Having fallen into Wolff’s signature attention-generating trap, the J-School invited him uptown to share some more thoughts with its outraged faculty and students. “You may not have learned this in Journalism School,” announced Wolff, according to a report by the New York Observer, “[but the best way to write a newspaper column] is to find an interest group and alienate them.” Check.
Wolff went on to further demoralize the students by insisting that, “Starting a journalism business has nothing to do with journalism. The most important skill in the journalism business is figuring out how to fire journalists.” (“You don’t need a course to learn that,” pointed out professor Emily Bell.) And, to really twist the knife, he informed the crowd that “no one of you will go to work” at The New Yorker. This man really knows what he’s doing.