DEBRA ADAMS SIMMONSThe Keeper of Journalism

    Debra is the Executive Editor for Culture at National Geographic Magazine where she manages coverage of the lived experiences of people around the globe. Debra was a 2016 fellow of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University and spent the past year examining the future of local news and identifying scalable journalism innovations for foundations and philanthropic organizations. Debra spent seven years as the managing editor and editor of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland before joining its parent company, Advance Local as a vice president. At Advance she worked to strengthen content across the company’s 30 news sites and newspapers, identified and developed talent and supported content initiatives for diverse audiences. A 30-year news veteran, Debra has extensive reporting, editing and senior news management experience. A career journalist, Debra serves as a consultant to the Knight Foundation, Ford Foundation and Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan where she has advised the foundations on how to shape a Detroit-based, multi-million dollar journalism engagement fund.  Debra work for nearly 10 years as a reporter and editor at the Detroit Free Press helped inform her work on behalf the Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund. She also spent four years as the editor of the Akron Beacon Journal and worked as an editor or reporter at The Virginian-Pilot, The Hartford Courant and the Syracuse Herald-Journal.  Debra served as president of the Associated Press Media Editors, has been a member of the board of directors of the International Women’s Media Foundation and the American Society of News Editors, chaired the board of Athena International. Debra graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and its College of Arts & Sciences, where she serves on the board of visitors. Debra has a robust civic life. She has served on several boards including the City Club of Cleveland, Ideastream, Business Volunteers Unlimited: The Center for Non-Profit Excellence, In Counsel with Women, Hawken School, Akron Art Museum and the Youth Excellence Performing Arts Workshop.

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