Smith Richardson Joins Cronkite School as Ida B. Wells Professor in Journalism

Tuesday, April 27, 2021


Susan Smith Richardson, a nationally recognized journalist and media industry leader, has been named the inaugural Ida B. Wells Professor in Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

The post is created in honor of Wells, an African American investigative journalist, educator and early leader in the civil rights movement.

“I’m honored to join the students and faculty at the Cronkite School as the Ida B. Wells Professor in Journalism,” Richardson said. “ Now, more than ever, we need the unflinching and courageous journalism in service of justice that she exemplified. I look forward to working with students and faculty to meet the urgent needs of our time.”

This fall, Richardson will teach media leadership to Cronkite graduate students, and, in spring 2022, she will teach an advanced reporting class focused on social issues for undergraduate and graduate students.

Richardson is the deputy editor at The Guardian US , where her responsibilities include diversity, equity and inclusion efforts as well as developing coverage on race, identity, power and inequality. She will work to develop collaborations between the British news company and the Cronkite School.

Richardson has been a senior manager and editor at some of the nation’s top media outlets. She was chief executive officer of the Center for Public integrity in Washington, D.C., a leading nonprofit investigative journalism organization, and editor and publisher of The Chicago Reporter, renowned for its coverage of race, poverty and income inequality. She also served as editorial director of the Solutions Journalism Network, a non-profit organization that advocates a solutions-based approach to reporting on social problems. Earlier in her career, she worked as assistant metro editor of the Chicago Tribune, managing editor of The Texas Observer, and senior writer at the MacArthur Foundation.

Richardson was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, a research fellow at the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas School of Law, and a Punch Sulzberger Executive Leadership Fellow at Columbia University in New York.

She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s degree in radio, television and film from the University of Texas at Austin.

“For decades, Susan has worked tirelessly to bring attention to issues of justice and equality, which we are confident she will continue to do as the Ida B. Wells Professor of Journalism,” said Kristin Gilger, interim dean of the Cronkite School. “As a journalist and as the leader of news outlets, particularly in the nonprofit sector, she has had a deep impact on our industry, and we know she has much to teach the next generation of journalism leaders at Cronkite.”