Indiana University

Indiana University School of Journalism

Speaker Series

Photo by Mark Felix
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh was the school's first spring 2013 Speaker Series guest.
The School of Journalism Speaker Series gives students and area residents the opportunity to meet with some of the top media professionals in the country. Recent speakers include CBS chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan, author Gay Talese, The New York Times' David Brooks and Fox Sports' Joe Buck.

The School of Journalism Faculty Lectureship brings to campus an exemplary media professional or a distinguished media scholar. The lecturer is nominated and chosen by the School of Journalism faculty.

All lectures are free and open to the public.

Spring 2014

Robert Nickelsberg, 7 p.m. Jan. 27, Ernie Pyle Hall Auditorium, 940 E. Seventh St.
As a contract photojournalist for Time magazine and other publications, Robert Nickelsberg has covered distinct periods of Afghanistan’s recent history, beginning in 1988 when he documented the drawdown of Soviet forces there and continuing through the impending departure of U.S. troops later this year. His 2013 book, Afghanistan: A Distant War, reflects his 25 years of work in photos and essays.

While based in New Delhi and New York, Nickelsberg first ventured into Afghanistan to cover a funeral of a Pashtun nationalist, an event that coincided with two nearby bombings that left 17 dead. He continued to visit the country numerous times to document Afghanistan’s emergence from the war with the Soviet Union, its own civil war followed by the Taliban takeover, and the 12-year U.S. war.

Nickelsberg divides his book by those four periods, including in each section images captioned with places, dates and his own commentary. Other text includes essays from contributors, some of whom shared his years reporting from the region.

In interviews, Nickelsberg has recounted the difficulties photographing events, from dodging gunfire to navigating the tricky political landscape with warring factions to developing methods of surreptitiously using his camera amid the harsh restrictions of the Taliban regime.

Nickelsberg relocated to New York in 2000 and continues to cover conflict areas such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Kashmir, as well as other issues in the U.S. and abroad. In 2008, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and from the South Asia Journalists Association awarded grants to Nickelsberg to document and report on post-traumatic stress disorder in Kashmir.


Sage Steele, 7 p.m. March 24, Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave.
IU alumnus Sage Steele is host of ESPN’s NBA Countdown and co-host of the network’s SportsCenter, where she also was co-host before her move to NBA Countdown in October. Steele, BS’95, joined ESPN in 2007.

Steele began her television career at WSBT-TV in South Bend, where she was a producer and reporter, then moved to WISH-TV in Indianapolis, where she covered Indianapolis Colts, NCAA Men’s Final Four, NASCAR and the Izod IndyCar Series.

In 1998, Steele moved to Tampa to work as a reporter, anchor and host for WFTS-TV, covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NCAA Men’s Final Four. In 2000, she joined Fox Sports Net in Tampa as a reporter and covered Super Bowl XXXV for the 2000-01 NFL season.

In April 2001, Steele joined Comcast SportsNet, where she anchored SportsNite for six years and covered the Baltimore Ravens.

Steele, who studied sports communication, has visited campus several times in recent years to talk to classes and students about broadcast careers. In on such session, she described the value of internships, citing the four she completed before graduating as critical to getting her first job in South Bend.

Among Steele’s many accolades is the 2011 Anita Aldrich Distinguished Alumni Award, presented annually to graduates of the IU School of Public Health who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in professional excellence. She also was one of three speakers at IU’s Diversity Leadership Conference in October.


Sonia Nazario, 7 p.m. April 16, Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave.
Reporter Sonia Nazario’s Los Angeles Times series about a young immigrant’s trek from Honduras to Florida to find his mother won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize and later was adapted as a book, Enrique’s Journey. Nazario followed undocumented immigrants’ footsteps, including harrowing rides clinging to the exteriors of trains and dodging violent bandits and gangs. Her reporting on immigration and other social issues has won several top prizes, including the George Polk Award for International Reporting.

Nazario now focuses on writing and speaking about immigration issues. She brings to her role experience at several newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, where she covered social issues for more than 10 years.
In 1993, she began working at the Los Angeles Times in as an urban affairs reporter, and she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for her work, “Orphans of Addiction.”

She won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2003 for “Enrique’s Journey,” which also was honored with dozens of other awards, including the George Polk Award for International Reporting, the Grand Prize of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ Guillermo Martinez-Marquez Award for Overall Excellence.

Nazario left the Los Angeles Times in 2008 and is working on second book. She also travels several months of the year speaking about Enrique’s Journey and immigration issues, including addressing the United Nations’ panel on International Migration and Development in June of last year.


Speaker archive:
Sage Steele Robert Nickelsberg David Ignatius Bob Dotson
Andrew Ferguson Seymour Hersh Maria Hinojosa David Sanger
Rajiv Chandrasekaran Byron Pitts David Margolick Katharine Weymouth
Gay Talese Lara Logan Thomas Friedman David Brooks
Sheryl WuDunn John F. Burns Ken Auletta Anna Quindlen
Jeff Zaslow Vivian Schiller Joe Buck James Burke
Steve Kroft Sylvia Nasar Elizabeth Gilbert Nina Totenberg
Leonard Downie Andrea Koppel William Safire Michael Beschloss
Bob Woodward
Lisa Ling
Ken Paulson David Halberstam
Frank Deford Alexandra Robbins Christopher Hitchens Michele Norris

Profiles interviews

Many of our guests also have been interviewed on Profiles, the radio interview show on WFIU the Bloomington-area NPR affiliate.

2011 Centennial Speaker Series Panels:


  • Contact Director of Communications and Media Relations Anne Kibbler.