Program in Journalism Welcomes 2020-2021 Visiting Professors

August 28, 2020
Clockwise from top left: Rachel Donadio, Jane Ferguson, Joanna Kakissis, Kimbriell Kelly, James Martinez, Joe Richman, Michael Calderone and Helen Thorpe.

Princeton University’s Program in Journalism is delighted to welcome its new cohort of distinguished journalists to serve as visiting professors in its internationally known writing seminars for the 2020-2021 academic year. The Humanities Council will host the renowned reporters and authors, each of whom will teach an intensive course for one semester.

The visiting faculty will join the program’s three Ferris Professors of Journalism in Residence: Joe Stephens, founding director of the Program in Journalism and a veteran investigative projects reporter; John McPhee, a staff writer for The New Yorker and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of more than 30 books; and Deborah Amos, an award-winning international correspondent for National Public Radio.

“We are thrilled to welcome to campus such a preeminent group of reporters and writers from around the world,” Stephens said. “These journalists — with their record of tenacious digging and fearless storytelling — will enrich our seminars, inspire our students and enliven our community.”

The visiting professors for Fall 2020:

Rachel Donadio is a contributing writer at The Atlantic. Based in Paris since 2013, she covers politics and culture across Europe. Her writing-intensive course, The Literature of Fact: Writing About Culture, will focus on how to tackle culture – low and high, new and older – by exploring cultural consumption and criticism.
Jane Ferguson is an international correspondent for PBS NewsHour and a contributor to The New Yorker. In The McGraw Seminar in Writing: War Reporting Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, she and her students will explore the challenges journalists face while witnessing and explaining complex global conflicts.

In Spring 2021 the Program in Journalism will welcome more of this year’s roster:

Joanna Kakissis is a contributing international correspondent for NPR and a contributor to This American Life. Based in Athens, she files dispatches from Europe. Students in her international news seminar will learn how to report on rising nationalism in Europe since the 2015 refugee crisis, with an emphasis on audio journalism.
Kimbriell Kelly is the Washington bureau chief for The Los Angeles Times and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, editor and publisher. Her course on the media and social issues will examine the obstacles reporters encounter when covering policing, race and inequality, and how these issues have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
James Martinez is the breaking news investigations editor at The Associated Press, responsible for investigative projects stemming from major news events. In his course, students will learn about the dynamics of the modern news cycle, how to develop tightly focused news angles, and other strategies for investigative reporting.
Joe Richman is the award-winning founder and executive producer of Radio Diaries whose work is regularly heard on NPR. His seminar will explore narrative storytelling in audio formats – with particular attention paid to stories of immigration, past and present – and incorporate a spring-break trip to the border town of Laredo, Texas.*

Two additional journalists have postponed their visiting professorships until the 2021-2022 academic year:

Michael Calderone is a senior editor at Vanity Fair’s Hive, a news site about politics, media and technology. His course – on how journalists work to hold the powerful accountable in government, business and entertainment – will include a break trip to Washington, D.C. to see up close how today’s newsrooms cover government.*
Helen Thorpe is a journalist and an award-winning author of books of narrative non-fiction. Her course on creative non-fiction will examine how vast differences in power, income and social status are addressed in literary masterpieces, and to what extent it is possible for authors to understand their subjects’ struggles.

The visiting professors’ courses will complement seminars taught by the program’s professors in residence. In the fall, Stephens will offer The Media in America: What to Read and Believe in the Age of Covid, while Amos will teach International News: Migration Reporting, which includes a fall-break trip to Winnipeg and Toronto, Canada.* In the spring, Stephens will again teach his course on consuming news during the current “infodemic.”

Princeton’s journalism seminars were inaugurated in 1957 by a bequest from former New York Herald journalist Edwin F. Ferris. They have since become one of the nation’s most respected programs of journalism courses—as well as some of the University’s most highly rated courses. Gifts from other generous alumni and their families have expanded the program’s offerings.

* Any course travel is tentative, and will take place only if the travel restrictions related to COVID-19 have changed and the University has resumed support for domestic and international travel.

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