Fellows & Editors


Debra Adams Simmons

Kenya 2009

Debra Adams Simmons is managing editor of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio, where she is responsible for the daily news operation of the state’s largest newspaper. Prior to joining the Plain Dealer in 2007, Simmons spent four years as vice president and editor of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Beacon Journal following a brief tenure as managing editor. She also has worked as a deputy managing editor and metro editor of The Virginian-Pilot, as an editor and reporter at the Detroit Free Press and as a reporter at The Hartford Courant and the Syracuse Herald-Journal during her 23-year journalism career. Simmons was a Pulitzer Prize juror in 2004 and 2005. She is a regular visiting faculty member at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida.  She is a graduate of the Northwestern University Media Management Center’s Advanced Executive Program in its Kellogg Graduate School of Management. A native of Hartford, Connecticut, Simmons received her bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University.

Nationally, she is a member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and a member of the boards of directors of the Associated Press Managing Editors and ATHENA International. She also is a member of the National Association of Multicultural Media Executives and the National Association of Black Journalists. Simmons has a robust civic life and has served on a number of boards and committees including those focused on literacy, economic development, the arts and the empowerment of women.


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