Back to All Events

In Conversation - Where Oral History and Journalism Meet: Reporting on Our Times (with Sheila Coronel and Keith Gessen)

  • Knox Hall 606 West 122nd Street New York, NY, 10027 United States (map)
Sheila Coronel.jpg
Keith Gessen.jpg

Tuesday, June 18, 2019
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Knox Hall 509, 606 West 122nd Street

A conversation between Sheila Coronel and Keith Gessen, moderated by Mary Marshall Clark.

Sheila Coronel began reporting in the Philippines during the twilight of the Marcos dictatorship, writing for underground press and later mainstream magazines and newspapers. As press restrictions eased, she reported on human rights abuses, the growing democratic movement and the election of Corazon Aquino as president.

In 1989, Coronel and her colleagues founded the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. Under Coronel's leadership, the Center became the leading investigative reporting institution in the Philippines and Asia, it’s reporting leading to the fall of President Joseph Estrada in 2001. In 2003, she won Asia’s premier prize, the Ramon Magsaysay Award.

Coronel has written and edited multiple books on the Philippines, freedom of information and investigative journalism, trained journalists around the world, and written investigative reporting textbooks for Southeast Asia and Balkan region journalists. She speaks frequently at international investigative reporting conferences and writes regularly about global investigative journalism.

Coronel joined the Journalism School faculty in 2006, when she was named director of the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism. In 2011, she received one of Columbia University’s highest honors, the Presidential Teaching Award. Sheila’s work outside of the Journalism School reflects her desire to build strong institutions that support free and independent reporting in a turbulent media landscape. She sits on the boards of the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Media Development Investment Fund, Columbia Journalism Review, ProPublica, and the National Security Archive. She is also a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and co-founder of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance and the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists.

Coronel received an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of the Philippines and a masters in political sociology from the London School of Economics.

Keith Gessen is a founding editor of n+1, a contributor to The New Yorker and The London Review of Books, and a professor of journalism at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of two novels: “All the Sad Young Literary Men” and “A Terrible Country.”

In his work, Gessen has frequently used oral history or its techniques. He conducted the interviews that comprise "Diary of a Very Bad Year: Confessions of an Anonymous Hedge Fund Manager" (Harper, 2010), a Bloomberg Best Business Book of 2010; some of the early interviews can be found here and here. He was the translator of Svetlana Alexievich's "Voices from Chernobyl," which won the National Book Critics Circle Nonfiction prize in 2005. At Columbia, he has been editing Trumplandia Magazine, where students publish oral histories alongside their longform writing. Examples include this one and this one.

Mary Marshall Clark
is Director of the Columbia Center for Oral History Research located in INCITE and co-founder and former director of Columbia’s Oral History Master of Arts (OHMA) degree program, created in 2008-09. Formerly, she was an oral historian and filmmaker at the New York Times. Mary Marshall has been involved in the oral history movement since 1991, was president of the United States Oral History Association from 2001-2002, and has served on the Executive Council of the International Oral History Association. She is an editor of After the Fall: New Yorkers Remember September 11, 2001 and the Years that Followed, published by The New Press in September, 2011. She is a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. Clark holds two master’s degrees from Union Theological Seminary.