Geneva Overholser

Geneva Overholser is the former director of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism from 2008 until 2013. Previously, she held the Curtis B. Hurley Chair in Public Affairs Reporting for the Missouri School of Journalism, where she was based in the school’s Washington bureau.

She was editor of The Des Moines Register from 1988 to 1995, where she led the paper to a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. While at the Register, she also earned recognition as Editor of the Year by the National Press Foundation and was named “The Best in the Business” by American Journalism Review.

She has been ombudsman of The Washington Post, a member of the editorial board of The New York Times, a syndicated columnist for The Washington Post Writers Group, and a reporter for the Colorado Springs Sun. She has been a columnist for the Columbia Journalism Review and frequent contributor to She also spent five years overseas, working and writing in Paris and Kinshasa. Through the Annenberg Public Policy Center, in 2006 she published a manifesto on the future of journalism titled On Behalf of Journalism: A Manifesto for Change. She is also co-editor, with Kathleen Hall Jamieson, of the volume “The Press,” part of the Oxford University Press Institutions of American Democracy series. In 2016, she co-wrote a book about empathy in journalism entitled Pursuing an Ethic of Empathy in Journalism.

She served on the board of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the Rita Allen Foundation, and Northwestern University at Qatar. She was for nine years a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board, the final year as chair, and is a former officer of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the Society of Professional Journalists, and she held a Nieman fellowship and an American Political Science Association (APSA) Congressional Fellowship.

Her writing currently can be found on

Contact Overholser at