Jelani Cobb to Receive Justice Trailblazer Award; Bob Herbert to serve as Emcee at John Jay College Dinner

Jelani Cobb to Receive Justice Trailblazer Award; Bob Herbert to serve as Emcee at John Jay College Dinner

Jelani Cobb to Receive Justice Trailblazer Award; Bob Herbert to serve as Emcee at John Jay College Dinner

New York, NY, December 10, 2015 --- Jelani Cobb, Director of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut and contributor to The New Yorker, has been selected as the 2016 Justice Trailblazer, an award given annually by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and The Crime Report to honor individuals in the media or media-related fields who have advanced national understanding on the 21st century challenges of criminal justice.

The awards committee chose Dr. Cobb for a body of work that spans books, journalism and scholarship exploring the inequitable impact of the justice system on African Americans. His books include The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress (2010); to the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic (2007) which was a finalist for the National Award for Arts Writing of the Arts Club of Washington. His articles and essays have also appeared in The Washington Post, Essence, Vibe, and Ebony, among others; and he has been a featured commentator on National Public Radio, CNN, Al-Jazeera, CBS News and other national outlets.

“Jelani’s career embodies the high quality of public service journalism that brings the insights of scholarship and research to a wider national audience on the continuing challenge of fulfilling our national ideal of equal justice for all,” said Stephen Handelman, director of John Jay’s Center on Media, Crime and Justice (CMCJ), which publishes The Crime Report.

Dr. Cobb will be presented with the award on Feb 25, 2016 in a special dinner at John Jay College, following the announcement of the winners of the 11th Annual John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim prizes for Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting, called the "Pulitzer" of criminal justice journalism. 

The dinner is part of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America, Making Room for Justice: Crime, Public Safety & the Choices Ahead for Americans on February 25 & 26. Please register here to attend the symposium or view the panelists and speakers.

Past Justice Trailblazer winners include David Simon of “The Wire”, “Treme”, and “Homeland”; Piper Kerman, originator of “Orange is the New Black”; and NPR's Maria Hinojosa, producer of Latino USA.

The CMCJ is also proud to announce that Bob Herbert, host of the CUNY-TV program, “Bob Herbert’s Op Ed”, and former New York Times columnist, will serve as emcee for the dinner.

For information about purchasing seats or tables at the Trailblazer dinner: or contact Wren Longno at 212-484-1175.  


About John Jay College of Criminal Justice: An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit

The Center on Media, Crime and Justice, established at John Jay College in 2006, is the nation's only practice- and research-oriented think tank devoted to encouraging and developing high-quality reporting on criminal justice, and to promoting better-informed public debate on the complex 21st century challenges of law enforcement, public security and justice in a globalized urban society. For more information, visit or

The Crime Report is a collaboration of John Jay Center on Media, Crime and Justice and Criminal Justice Journalists and is a comprehensive news service covering the diverse challenges and issues of 21st century criminal justice in the U.S. and abroad. Staffed by working journalists in New York, Washington and Los Angeles, it is published daily.  TCR’s prizewinning coverage includes investigative reports by the some of the nation’s most accomplished reporters;  analysis, blogs  and commentary by leading criminologists, practitioners, law enforcement/corrections professionals, and legal experts; reports on new and cutting-edge research; and daily summaries of the most important criminal justice news, issues and developments covered by the national and international press.