Distinguished Visiting Journalist Program

About the Program

Cornell University's College of Arts & Sciences's new Distinguished Visiting Journalist Program brings accomplished journalists to Cornell for extended visits. The program aims to recognize excellence in journalism and to provide opportunities for select journalists and the university community to engage with each other. 

While on the Ithaca campus, for periods of two to 12 weeks, the visiting fellows will interact with faculty, researchers and students in a variety of organized and informal settings, such as moderating and/or participating in panel discussions, making guest presentations in classes, exploring research laboratories and special collections, and joining tea or dinner at a residential college. The fellows will inspire and engage with students interested in journalism and the media while learning about the latest research, scholarship and creative works emerging from Cornell.

“The new Cornell Arts & Sciences Distinguished Visiting Journalist Program aims to recognize excellence in journalism and foster meaningful engagement between academia and the media. Students and faculty will have the opportunity to connect with eminent journalists while fellows will deepen their understanding of emerging discoveries and frontline scholarship as they participate in the life of a leading research university.”

~Ray Jayawardhana, the Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences

Distinguished Visiting Journalists may have interests in any disciplinary area in the College including the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Candidates for these prestigious appointments will be selected by an internal committee of faculty and staff. Selected fellows will have demonstrated an interest in fundamental research, scholarship and creative works that impact humanity, as well as in mentoring graduate and undergraduate students interested in the field of journalism and the broader media landscape.

The program is funded through a significant endowment from Jan Rock Zubrow ’77 and Barry Zubrow, as well as additional philanthropic support from Jay Branegan ’72, Rose Gutfeld Edwards ’78 and the Dr. Guinevere Griest ’44 Fund for Public Engagement in A&S.

Advisory Committee

Selection Process

Currently, the Advisory Committee selects fellowship recipients by invitation only on a rolling basis for up to two fellows per year. 

If you are a working journalist and would like to be considered for a fellowship, please contact Tricia Ritterbusch, Director of Communications for the College of Arts & Sciences.

Expectations of Fellows

Selected fellows are asked to spend between two to eight weeks during either the fall or spring semester. We will work with the fellows to shape the visits to suit their interests and maximize opportunities for engagement. A stipend will be provided during the fellow's time on campus.

Fellows can engage in a range of activities, including, but not limited to:

  • Sitting in or guest lecturing in relevant classes
  • Meeting with researchers and groups of researchers, including time for extended meetings and “shadowing”
  • Teaching an informal masterclass on journalism to undergraduates
  • Engaging in mentorship of graduate and undergraduate students
  • Exploring library collections and research labs
  • Participating on a public panel with faculty on a topic of broad interest
  • A tea or dinner on West Campus with students and faculty
  • Meetings with Cornell Sun student reporters and editors
  • Meetings with campus communicators

Distinguished Visiting Journalist Fellows

Fall 2021

Molly O’Toole, immigration and security reporter, Los Angeles Times

Molly O'Toole
Molly O'Toole

O’Toole was one of the recipients of the first Pulitzer Prize for audio journalism in 2020, reporting for an episode of “This American Life.” She has also reported for the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the New Republic, Newsweek and the Associated Press from Central America, West Africa, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and South Asia.


Spring/Fall 2020

Marc Lacey, Assistant Managing Editor, The New York Times

Marc Lacey
Todd Heisler/The New York Times Marc Lacey

Lacey has spent more than 20 years at The New York Times, in roles including national editor, foreign correspondent, White House correspondent and editor of the weekend news report. Before arriving at The New York Times, he was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He recently served as a moderator for the fourth Democratic presidential debate, held in October 2019 in Ohio.


Special Events

Illustration of a surgical mask overlaying the White House

Covering COVID: How Journalists Tackled the Biggest Science Story of our Time

April 28, 2021
7 p.m. on eCornell 

Watch here

This hour-long webinar, presented as part of the College’s Distinguished Visiting Journalist Program, features four leading science journalists actively covering this pandemic, moderated by Faye Flam, Bloomberg Opinion columnist and host of the podcast "Follow the Science.”

Panelists include:

These journalists discuss the challenges of writing about ever-changing vaccine developments and variants; of breaking down complex topics like viral spread and making the public aware of health and safety precautions. They also talk about how they handled reporting on forecasts, government policy developments, public misinformation and what the future might bring for all of us.