Newsroom Confidential: Margaret Sullivan and Molly Jong-Fast in Conversation

Tuesday, October 18, 2022, 6:30 - 8pm

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Sullivan event

Portrait by Michael Benabib

Journalist Margaret Sullivan, who is a trusted champion and critic of the American news media, takes us behind the scenes of the nation's most influential news outlets. She is joined by writer Molly Jong-Fast for a conversation that explores how Americans lost trust in the news and what it will take to regain it in an evening celebrating the debut of Sullivan's new memoir Newsroom Confidential. The Strand will sell books at the event.

Any guests to campus are required to show proof of a vaccine to enter a Cooper Union Building and the Residence Hall.

Sullivan began her career at the Buffalo News, where she rose from summer intern to its first woman editor-in-chief. In Newsroom Confidential she chronicles her years in the trenches battling sexism and throwing elbows in a highly competitive newsroom. In 2012, Sullivan was appointed the public editor of The New York Times, the first woman to hold that important role. Acting on behalf of readers, she judged the paper's reporting, parsing potential lapses in judgment, unethical practices, and thorny journalistic issues. Sullivan recounts how she navigated the paper’s controversies, from Hillary Clinton's emails to Elon Musk's accusations of unfairness to the need for greater diversity in the newsroom. In 2016, having served the longest tenure of any public editor, Sullivan left for the Washington Post, where she had a front-row seat to the rise of Donald Trump in American media and politics.

Margaret Sullivan recently retired as the media columnist for the Washington Post. She has served on four Pulitzer Prize juries, including as a chairwoman for the Commentary jury, and was a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board from 2011 to 2012. A faculty member of Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, she has also taught journalism in the graduate schools at Columbia University and City University of New York. She won the 2021 Bart Richards Award for Media Criticism for her Washington Post columns, with the judges saying her work “sets the standard” for American media criticism. She is the author of Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy

Molly Jong-Fast is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and the author of its newsletter, Wait, What? She is also the host of The New Abnormal and a columnist for Vogue. She previously worked as an editor-at-large at The Daily Beast, and is the author of two novels; Normal Girl and The Social Climber's Handbook, and a memoir; Girl [Maladjusted].


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  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.