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 that established the The Jan and Barry Zubrow Distinguished Visiting Journalism Fellows Fund. The program has received additional philanthropic support from Jay Branegan ’72, Rose Gutfeld Edwards ’78 and the Dr. Guinevere Griest ’44 Fund for Public Engagement in A&S.
Aftershocks: Geopolitics Since the Ukraine Invasion
Sept. 22, 2022, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts
As the war in Ukraine rages on, how is the ground shifting across Eurasia and beyond? Leading journalists and scholars covering Russia, Europe, China and the global political landscape will discuss how international relations, security, trade and economics are shifting in ways not seen since World War II.
The event will feature:
- Anne Simmons, the Wall Street Journal's Moscow Bureau Chief
- Mark Landler, the New York Times' London Bureau Chief
- Peter Katzenstein, the Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies
- Jessica Chen Weiss, the Michael J. Zak Professor for China and Asia-Pacific Studies
- Kaushik Basu, Carl Marks Professor of International Studies, Economics
- Itai Cohen, Professor of Physics
- Ray Jayawardhana, Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Astronomy
- Joel Malina, Vice President for University Relations
- Riché Richardson, Professor, Africana Studies & Research Center
- Tricia Ritterbusch, Director of Communications, Arts & Sciences
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
Ann Simmons, Zubrow Distinguished Visiting Journalist Fellow
Moscow Bureau Chief, Wall Street Journal
Simmons served in Moscow for Time Magazine in the 1990s, where she reported on the aborted coup against then-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and the ascension of Russia’s President Boris Yeltsin. She then moved to Time’s Washington, D.C., bureau, where her first beat was as a diplomatic correspondent, a role that included covering the U.S. State Department and the Middle East peace initiatives of then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher. While based in Washington, Simmons also covered the intervention of U.S. forces into Haiti and was embedded in the U.S. Army when American troops were sent to the Balkans.
Later, Simmons joined the Los Angeles Times as bureau chief in Nairobi and Johannesburg. Her reporting on the continent took her to more than 30 African nations. She was also part of a Los Angeles Times team that won a 2004 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for their coverage of wildfires in Southern California.
In her role as Moscow bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, Ann Simmons covers Russia’s domestic and foreign policy, Moscow’s relationship with Washington, and life in the former Soviet state under the authoritarian leadership of President Vladimir Putin. The bureau she manages also covers events in ex-Soviet republics, including Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Born and raised in London, Simmons holds a double honors bachelor’s degree in Russian and Norwegian from the University of East Anglia and a master’s from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Natalie Wolchover, Zubrow Distinguished Visiting Journalist Fellow
Science Writer, Quanta Magazine
Wolchover has been with Quanta, covering the physical sciences and mathematics, since the magazine’s launch in 2013. Her articles are often syndicated to sites such as Wired, Business Insider, Nautilus, and The Atlantic. Wolchover has also reported for Nature, the New Yorker and Popular Science, among others. As a science writer, she has covered a wide range of topics in the physical sciences, including particle physics, quantum computing, climate change and gravitational waves. Her awards include the Science Communication Award from the American Institute of Physics and the Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award from the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.
Molly O’Toole, Zubrow Distinguished Visiting Journalist Fellow
Immigration and security reporter, Los Angeles Times
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.
Marc Lacey, Assistant Managing Editor, The New York Times
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.
"Telling Stories about Science": A master class with Natalie Wolchover
March 15, 2022
5pm, Lewis Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall
Mutating viruses, nuclear fusion, quantum computing –scientific intricacies seem to make headlines daily, yet successfully communicating such complexities to a general audience can be difficult. On March 15, award-winning science journalist Natalie Wolchover, Zubrow Distinguished Visiting Journalist in the College of Arts and Sciences, offered a master class on “Telling Stories about Science.”
She explained how she turns discoveries in physics and mathematics into compelling, accurate narratives that engage lay readers and scientists alike. She also shared some general principles of good science writing, using examples published at Quanta Magazine, where she is currently a senior writer and editor.
Move: An Urgent Conversation with Award-winning Immigration Journalists and Authors
Dec. 1, 2021
5 p.m. live and on eCornell
Three Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters and authors were on campus Dec. 1 to talk about their work covering immigration, an event hosted by the Distinguished Visiting Journalist program in the College of Arts & Sciences.
Panelists included journalists Sonia Nazario, Nadja Drost and moderator Molly O’Toole ’09. O’Toole was the Fall 2021 Zubrow Distinguished Visiting Journalist Fellow in the College of Arts & Sciences.
Covering COVID: How Journalists Tackled the Biggest Science Story of our Time
April 28, 2021
7 p.m. on eCornell
This hour-long webinar, presented as part of the College’s Distinguished Visiting Journalist Program, featured four leading science journalists actively covering this pandemic, moderated by Faye Flam, Bloomberg Opinion columnist and host of the podcast "Follow the Science.” Panelists included Apoorva Mandavilli, New York Times reporter focused on science and global health; Jon Cohen, staff writer with Science; and Jason Beaubien, global health and development correspondent, NPR.
These journalists discussed 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 talked about how they handled reporting on forecasts, government policy developments, public misinformation and what the future might bring for all of us.