Courtesy of Cornell University

O'Toole is a Pulitzer Prize winner and Cornell alumna.

November 2, 2021

Distinguished Visiting Journalist Fellow Molly O’Toole ’09 to Talk Journalism, Careers

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Moving from a McGraw Hall seminar table to a Physical Sciences Building lecture hall, Distinguished Visiting Journalist Fellow Molly O’Toole ’09 is set to speak about journalism and related careers in a Wednesday event.  

O’Toole, an immigration and security reporter with The Los Angeles Times, was among the first recipients of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in audio reporting, earning this honor for a podcast episode entitled “The Out Crowd,” which was part of a weekly public radio and podcast, This American Life. O’Toole’s episode investigated the effects of the Trump Administration’s “Remain in Mexico” asylum policy on individuals at the Mexican border who were seeking refuge. 

O’Toole, who was an English major and editor at The Sun as a Cornell undergraduate, has also worked for The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Newsweek and The Associated Press from Central America, West Africa, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and South Asia during previous reporting roles. 

Returning to her alma mater for the fall semester, O’Toole teaches American studies 4318: American Dream? Journalism, Politics and Identity in U.S. Immigration Policy as the second Zubrow Distinguished Visiting Journalist Fellow. The program, which was created through the College of Arts and Sciences, invites accomplished journalists to Cornell from anywhere between two and 12 weeks — when they meet with interested students and faculty to discuss their work, moderate discussions, participate in panels and more. 

“The program aims to recognize excellence in journalism and to provide opportunities for select journalists and the University community to engage with each other,” wrote Ray Jayawardhana, dean of arts and sciences.

Marc Lacey ’87, assistant managing editor for The New York Times, was the inaugural fellow in 2020. For the spring 2022 semester, Natalie Wolchover, a science writer for Quanta Magazine, will visit Cornell as a speaker and guest lecturer, wanting to educate students about how to write about complex, technical subjects like physics.  

O’Toole’s discussion, hosted from 4:30-5:30 p.m., is free and open to all students. The event will be moderated by Kathryn Stamm ’22, editor in chief of The Sun, and will include a Q&A session for audience members. Those interested in attending can register on Handshake here