WSJ Moscow bureau chief is next Zubrow visiting journalist

Ann Simmons, The Wall Street Journal’s award-winning Moscow bureau chief, has been named the Zubrow Distinguished Visiting Journalist (DVJ) Fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences for the fall.

The program brings accomplished journalists to Cornell each year to interact with faculty, researchers and students.

Ann Simmons

“We’re privileged to host Ann Simmons on campus at this time of global turmoil to share her deep insights with the Cornell community,” said Ray Jayawardhana, the Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences, who founded the DVJ program. “She will draw upon her extensive, on-the-ground reporting experience not only in Russia, but also across Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere, as she takes us beyond the headlines into some of the biggest stories unfolding right now.”

Simmons served in Moscow for Time Magazine in the 1990s, where she reported on the aborted coup against then-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and the ascension of Russia’s President Boris Yeltsin. She then moved to Time’s Washington, D.C., bureau, where her first beat was as a diplomatic correspondent, a role that included covering the U.S. State Department and the Middle East peace initiatives of then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher. While based in Washington, Simmons also covered the intervention of U.S. forces into Haiti and was embedded in the U.S. Army when American troops were sent to the Balkans.

Later, Simmons joined the Los Angeles Times as bureau chief in Nairobi and Johannesburg. Her reporting on the continent took her to more than 30 African nations. She was also part of a Los Angeles Times team that won a 2004 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for their coverage of wildfires in Southern California.

In her role as Moscow bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, Simmons covers Russia’s domestic and foreign policy, Moscow’s relationship with Washington, and life in the former Soviet state under the authoritarian leadership of President Vladimir Putin. The bureau she manages also covers events in ex-Soviet republics, including Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Born and raised in London, Simmons holds a double honors bachelor’s degree in Russian and Norwegian from the University of East Anglia and a master’s from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

“I am truly honored to have been named for this prestigious fellowship,” Simmons said. “I look forward to engaging with students, faculty and the wider Cornell community and contributing to their understanding of the intricacies of reporting on Russia amid the reshaping of Europe’s economic and security architecture.”

Simmons will be on campus Sept. 14-29 as a Zubrow Fellow. She will host a public Arts Unplugged event on recent geopolitical shifts as well as meet with students and faculty interested in journalism and the media, make guest presentations in classes, and learn about the research, scholarship and creative work being done at Cornell.

Marc Lacey ’87, managing editor for The New York Times, served as the inaugural distinguished journalist in 2020. Subsequent fellows include Molly O’Toole ’09, a Pulitzer Prize-winning immigration and security reporter with the Los Angeles Times, and Natalie Wolchover, Pulitzer Prize-winning senior science editor and writer for Quanta Magazine.

The Distinguished Visiting Journalist program is funded through a significant endowment from Jan Rock Zubrow ’77 and Barry Zubrow, as well as additional philanthropic support from Carol MacCorkle ’64, Jay Branegan ’72, Rose Gutfeld Edwards ’78 and the Dr. Guinevere Griest ’44 Fund for Public Engagement in A&S.

Linda B. Glaser is news and media relations manager for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Media Contact

Gillian Smith