Geneva Overholser is a professor and director of USC Annenberg's School of Journalism. 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 Poynter.org. 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.
She serves on the boards of the Center for Public Integrity, the Committee of Concerned Journalists, the John S. Knight Fellowships at Stanford University, the Fund for Independence in Journalism and the Academy of American Poets, and on the Journalism Advisory Committee of the Knight Foundation. 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.
Overholser holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree in history from Wellesley College. She is married to David Westphal, who was Washington editor for McClatchy Newspapers and now is Editor-in-Chief of the California HealthCare Foundation. They have three children.
Overholser is also a contributor to Online Journalism Review, hosted by the Knight Digital Media Center, a partnership of USC Annenberg and the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.