Internationally acclaimed journalist Roger Cohen named first IU Poynter Chair

  • Sept. 12, 2016


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Roger Cohen, an internationally acclaimed journalist and award-winning author, is the inaugural Indiana University Poynter Chair.

Cohen, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated columnist on international affairs and diplomacy for The New York Times and the International New York Times, will visit the IU Bloomington campus to present a lecture in connection with his appointment through the Poynter Center. His lecture, at 7 p.m. Oct. 6 in the Maurer School of Law Moot Court Room, will be titled "False Equivalence: Is Media Balance a Trap in an Atypical Election?" He will return in the spring semester under the Poynter Center's auspices to work for several days with faculty and students.

Roger Cohen joined The New York Times in 1990 after 10 years as a journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Reuters. He was a New York Times foreign correspondent for more than a decade before becoming acting foreign editor on Sept. 11, 2001, the day of the 9/11 attacks, and foreign editor six months later. He became an op-ed columnist in 2009.

His work has taken him to many countries, including Bosnia, Iran, Israel and Afghanistan. His retrospective book about his Balkan experiences, “Hearts Grown Brutal: Sagas of Sarajevo,” won a citation for excellence from the Overseas Press Club. His most recent book is an acclaimed family memoir, "The Girl From Human Street: A Jewish Family Odyssey."

The mission of IU’s Poynter Center is to explore intersections between ethics, media and public institutions. “At this particular moment in our nation’s history, it is difficult to think of a more important set of inquiries than those at the center of Poynter's concerns,” said Lauren Robel, IU Bloomington provost and executive vice president. “And Roger Cohen will bring a long history of engagement in these areas as the Poynter Center’s inaugural chair.”

The Poynter Center was established in the wake of the Watergate scandal through a gift from Hoosier native Nelson Poynter, longtime editor of the St. Petersburg Times. Poynter wanted to leave a lasting legacy focused on the ethical responsibility of journalism and media to ensure the integrity and health of America's public institutions.

The center is led by a board, chaired by Elaine Monaghan, a faculty member in The Media School whose work has included time as an international reporter for Reuters. The center's executive director is Indermohan Virk, who is also executive director of the Patten Lecture Series in the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs.

In addition to Monaghan, other members of the board are:

  • Matthew Baggetta, assistant professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
  • Suzanne Eckes, professor, School of Education.
  • Tom French, Riley Endowed Chair in Journalism and Professor of Practice, The Media School, College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Todd Haugh, assistant professor, Kelley School of Business.
  • Stephanie Li, professor and Susan D. Gubar Chair in Literature, Department of English, College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Stephen Macekura, assistant professor, School of Global and International Studies, College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Eden Medina, associate professor, School of Informatics and Computing.
  • Radhika Parameswaran, professor, The Media School, College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Sandy Shapshay, director of IU’s Political and Civic Engagement Program and an associate professor of philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences

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