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Award-winning journalist, foreign affairs expert named Indiana University Poynter Chair

Mar 18, 2019

Carol Giacomo, an award-winning journalist and expert in foreign affairs and defense issues, has been named the second Indiana University Poynter Chair.

Roger Cohen, international affairs columnist for The New York Times, was named the inaugural IU Poynter Chair in September 2016. Each year, one or two new public intellectuals are asked to serve as chair and visit the Bloomington campus throughout the year for public lectures, seminar and discussions.

Giacomo, who is a member of the New York Times editorial board, will be on the IU Bloomington campus this week to participate in the America’s Role in the World Conference hosted by IU’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. She will moderate a session titled “Back to the Future? Averting a New Nuclear Arms Race” and will also judge a student editorial contest open to all IU Bloomington undergraduate and graduate students.

Giacomo will also lead a newswriting workshop for members of IU student media and meet with IU Bloomington faculty. She will work with students in professor of practice Joe Coleman’s Reporting War & Peace in Okinawa class to help students formulate stories following their spring break reporting trip to Japan.

At the Times, Giacomo writes editorials arguing the paper’s position on the leading national security challenges of the day, including the nuclear threats posed by North Korea and Iran; the wars in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq; and the rising threats from Russia and China. Before that, she spent two decades covering foreign policy as the diplomatic correspondent for Reuters in Washington. During her time at Reuters, she traveled over 1 million miles to more than 100 countries with eight secretaries of state and other senior U.S. officials.

“As recent years have made abundantly clear, our country’s increasing polarization – whether on political, religious, geographic, gender, ethnic or other grounds – is undermining the great American experiment,” Giacomo said. “It is isolating us into smaller and smaller tribes, making it hard to talk with those who disagree with us about the issues that matter and even harder to find consensus that advances the common good.

“The Poynter Center has never been more important as it seeks to look at the media and public institutions, two embattled building blocks of democracy, through an ethical lens. I’m honored to be selected as the new Poynter Chair and excited to engage with, and learn from, the IU community. We have a lot to talk about.”

In 2018, she won the Arthur Ross Media Award for commentary on foreign affairs from the American Academy of Diplomacy, an organization of more than 150 former diplomats. Giacomo also served as a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University in 2013. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and often speaks publicly at academic institutions, at think tanks and on media shows.

“Carol’s travels as Reuters’ much-admired diplomatic correspondent and tenure on the New York Times editorial board make her uniquely qualified to understand and articulate the challenges being faced by those telling stories today for a global audience,” said Lauren Robel, IU Bloomington provost and executive vice president.

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 at IU Bloomington 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.

Giacomo will return to the IU Bloomington campus in the fall for two longer visits, which will feature programming that will be open to the public.


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