Faculty

“The energy, enthusiasm, diversity of interest … the fire in the belly that I get any time I’m in front of any class at Columbia just feels like home.”

Jim DeRogatis

English and Creative Writing

Author and music critic Jim DeRogatis says it’s “a privilege to work with kids who are so eager to get out there.”

In music journalism and music criticism, English and Creative Writing Associate Professor Jim DeRogatis is a pioneer and a legend.

The English and Creative Writing associate professor has written for numerous nationwide magazines, including SpinGuitar WorldPenthouse and GQ—not to mention a brief stint in the 1990s as a senior editor at Rolling Stone (which ended after his negative review of Hootie and the Blowfish was swapped for a more favorable one).

A Bang-Up Job
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, DeRogatis developed a knack for writing and a deep appreciation for rock music while still in high school. As a fresh-faced student at New York University, he interviewed his hero, musician and music critic Lester Bangs, who died two weeks later. But DeRogatis followed the story for several more years to write his first book, Let It Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America’s Greatest Rock Critic, published in 2000.

“More than any rock musician, [Bangs] was really a hero to me because of the way he brought rock ’n’ roll alive on the page,” DeRogatis says.

Worth a Thousand Words
As a professor, DeRogatis wants to inspire students to get excited about their craft—much as Bangs did for him.

“I always tell my students that a great food writer can write a thousand words on a glass of milk,” DeRogatis says. “I can’t do that, but I know how to do it for music, and hopefully I can help you become a better writer.”

The urban atmosphere and the in-the-firled profesors at Columbia remind him of his time at NYU. But, more than anything, the “in your face” students get him excited about his work.

“The energy, enthusiasm, diversity of interest … the fire in the belly that I get any time I’m in front of any class at Columbia just feels like home,” says DeRogatis. “It’s a privilege to work with kids who are so eager to get out there.”

Reporting in an Era of "Fake News"
Recently, DeRogatis published an article on Buzzfeed: "Inside the Pied Piper of R&B's 'Cult:' R. Kelly Is Holding Women Against Their Will In A 'Cult,' Parents Told Police." For more than a decade, DeRogatis has been tracking the career of R&B singer R. Kelly and the allegations of abuse and misconduct that follow the artist. The article quickly went viral across the internet, getting millions of hits within a few days.
"Journalism is challenged right now," says DeRogatis. "Real news is still out there and needs to be reported accurately. I think we're at an interesting point in the history of both music and media for our students to grapple with."

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