About the Professorship

John Larson

John Larson

John Larson, Peabody and multiple Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist and media consultant John Larson has been named the 2011 James H. Ottaway Sr. professor of journalism at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Nine well-known journalists have preceded Larson as Ottaway professors. Four have been Pulitzer Prize winners, including Renée C. Byer, a photographer for The Sacramento Bee; former New York Times investigative reporter and columnist Sydney Schanberg; Bernard Stein, an editorial writer with The Riverdale Press in the Bronx; and John Darnton, a former Times foreign correspondent.

The other professors were award-winning National Public Radio reporter Ann Cooper, who headed the nation’s foremost advocacy group for the protection of journalists, Roger Kahn, the author of 20 books and one of America’s foremost literary journalists, Trudy Lieberman, one of America’s best consumer reporters and Martin Gottlieb, who is currently the editor of the International Herald Tribune and an award-winning New York Times reporter.

The Ottaway Professorship is named for the founder of Ottaway Newspapers Inc., now the Dow Jones Local Media Group, which operates print and online community media franchises in seven states. The flagship newspaper of the chain is the Times Herald-Record in Middletown.


As a correspondent for PBS and NBC News, John Larson’s work was among the most awarded in the broadcast news industry. This year, he was part of a team of reporters at KCET in Los Angeles that won an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University award for a series of reports that exposed elected representatives who didn’t do their job. In 2010, John Larson was awarded another DuPont-Columbia Award and the George Foster Peabody Award for his work in an investigation of the Mexican drug cartels and illegal pot farming in California. He also was awarded two regional Emmy Awards for Best Writer and Best Crime News Reporting.

As West Coast Correspondent for Dateline NBC beginning in 1994, Larson excelled in investigative, breaking and feature news reporting for Dateline NBC, NBC Nightly News and The Today Show. His investigation of the insurance industry for Dateline NBC, "The Paper Chase," became one of the most honored broadcasts in broadcast journalism history. Larson has received extensive national recognition – including three duPont-Columbia Silver Batons for his reporting on racial profiling, the insurance industry, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

He has won 22 Emmy Awards in all, including two National Emmys for Breaking News Coverage “Houston Floods” and Investigative Journalism “Probable Cause.”

In 2008, Larson co-authored "Television Field Production and Reporting" -- one of the most widely distributed college broadcast journalism textbooks in the country.

Larson is a much sought after speaker, teacher and motivator. He currently consults for the E.W Scripps Company -- teaching and motivating more than 400 working journalists. He speaks regularly at the National Writer's Workshops, the Poynter Institute, and the National Press Photographers' National Workshop and local affiliates. He has participated in the Committee of Concerned Journalists, sponsored by the Nieman Foundation of Harvard University.

In 2009, Larson left NBC to work as an international correspondent for PBS, contributing to “World Focus,” “Need to Know” and “Southern California Connected.” He also launched his own production company, began training in digital journalism, and began consulting with media companies.

Larson graduated from Colgate University with a major in Philosophy and Religion. He started his career in journalism as a stringer for the Boston Globe. His first broadcast job was at one of the smallest stations in the country: KTUU in Anchorage, Alaska. He then worked for KOMO in Seattle, Washington. From there, he moved on to NBC in Los Angeles. His wife, Miriam Larson, is a high school art teacher. They have two children and live in San Diego, CA.