Journalist; Columnist; Editor; Educator
Public Affairs, Business, and Administration
Journalism, Media, and Communications
Geneva Overholser is a senior fellow at the Center for Communication Leadership and Policy at USC and an independent journalist in New York City. Previously, she was the Director of the Center and was the Curtis B. Hurley Chair in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. A frequent commentator on media, she has a regular press column in the Columbia Journalism Review. She wrote a syndicated column for the Washington Post Writers Group from 1998 to 2001. Before that, she was ombudsman for the Washington Post and, from 1988 to 1995, editor of the Des Moines Register. Previously, she served as a member of the editorial board of the New York Times, deputy editorial page editor and editorial writer for the Des Moines Register and reporter for the Colorado Springs Sun. She spent five years overseas, working and writing in Kinshasa and Paris. She holds a bachelors in history from Wellesley College, a masters in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a French language certificate from the Sorbonne. She has received honorary doctorates from Grinnell College and St. Andrews Presbyterian College, and alumnae achievement awards from Wellesley, Northwestern and Medill. Ms. Overholser was a Nieman fellow at Harvard and a Congressional fellow with the American Political Science Association. She was named Best in the Business in the American Journalism Review, and "Editor of the Year" by the National Press Foundation. She has been named a fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists. Under her leadership, the Register won the 1990 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service for a series on the rape of an Iowa woman. She is a member of the boards of the Knight Fellowships at Stanford, the National Press Foundation, the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships and the PBS television show, Media Matters, and is a trustee of the Stanley Foundation. She previously served as a board member and officer of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and was for nine years a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board, the final year as chair. Ms. Overholser is married to David Westphal, McClatchy Newspapers' Washington bureau chief. They have three children: Laura, Nell and Paul.