Steven V. Roberts

Steven V. Roberts

Shapiro Professor of Media and Public Affairs
415, Office Hours: Thurs 10:00am - 12:00pm and by appointment
Address: School of Media and Public Affairs
805 21st Street NW
Washington, DC, 20052
Phone: 202-994-0235
Fax: 202-994-5806

Areas of Expertise

Journalism; Political Communication; Media, Society, and Politics: Media Ethics; Immigration


Steve Roberts has been a journalist for almost 50 years, covering some of the major events of his time, from the antiwar movement and student revolts of the 60s and 70s to President Reagan's historic trip to Moscow in 1988 and twelve presidential election campaigns. After graduating from Harvard magna cum laude in 1964, he joined the New York Times as research assistant to James 'Scotty' Reston, then the paper's Washington bureau chief. His 25-year career with the Times included assignments as bureau chief in Los Angeles and Athens, and as Congressional and White House correspondent. He was a senior writer at U.S. News for seven years, specializing in national politics and foreign policy. Roberts and his wife, TV journalist Cokie Roberts, write a nationally-syndicated newspaper column that was named one of the ten most popular columns in America by Media Matters. In February of 2000 Steve and Cokie published From This Day Forward, an account of their marriage, as well as other marriages in American history. The New York Times called the book "inspiring and instructive" and it spent seven weeks on the Times best-seller list. Roberts also writes a bi-monthly column, Hometown, for Bethesda Magazine and is a regular book reviewer and travel writer for The Washington Post. His childhood memoir, My Fathers' Houses, was published in the spring of 2005 and was featured at the National Book Festival in Washington. In 2009 he published From Every End of This Earth, the story of 13 immigrant families and the new lives they've made in America. The book, which was also featured at the National Book Festival, started life in the feature writing course he teaches at GW and is dedicated to his students. In 2011 he wrote Our Haggadah (with his wife Cokie), which was featured on many national TV shows, including "This Week", "Charlie Rose" and "Morning Joe."

A well-known commentator on many Washington-based TV shows, Roberts also appears regularly as a political analyst on the ABC radio network and is a substitute host on NPR's "Diane Rehm Show." As a teacher, he lectures widely on American politics and the role of the news media. Since 1997 he has been the Shapiro Professor of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, where he has taught for the last 23 years. His many honors include the Dirksen Award for covering Congress, the Wilbur Award for reporting on religion and politics, the Bender prize as one of GW's top undergraduate teachers, and four honorary doctorates. He's been named a Father of the Year by the Father's Day Council and received the Public Service Sector Award from the Aspen Institute. Steve and Cokie have two children: Lee, a banker in Raleigh, NC, and Rebecca, a program specialist for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, and six grand-children. In his spare time, Roberts plays tennis and roots for his grand-children’s sports teams.


B.A. Government, Harvard University, 1964


Our Haggadah, with Cokie Roberts (2011)

From Every End of This Earth: 13 Families and the New Lives They Made in America (2009)

My Fathers' Houses, a childhood memoir (2005)

From This Day Forward, with Cokie Roberts (2000)  

Classes Taught

SMPA 3243, Feature Writing
SMPA 4199, Ethics in Journalism
SMPA 3428, Media, Politics, and Government

Faculty Soundbite

"As a journalist, you hold other people's lives in your hands."

J.B. and M.C. Shapiro Professor of Media and Public Affairs Steven V. Roberts shares his greatest regret in his 30-year career in journalism and how telling the story to students illustrates the importance not being ethical, fair, and humane as a journalist.

The Faculty Soundbites Series reveals the most captivating and rewarding aspects of SMPA professors' work in the field and in the classroom.

Selected Media Clips

Guest host onf "The Diane Rehm Show" May 9, 13, and 15. NPR.

Weekly column co-written with Cokie Roberts for Universal Uclick syndicate that runs in papers around the country. "A Lifetime of Difference," May 2014

Bi-monthly column for Bethesda Magazine.

Book review: "'Ping-pong diplomacy: The secret history behind the game that changed the world,' by Nicholas Griffin," The Washington Post, January 2014