Ohio University

Knight Fellowship awarded to National Geographic Magazine editor Molly Roberts

Knight Fellowship awarded to National Geographic Magazine editor Molly Roberts
photo by Mark Thiessen

ATHENS, Ohio— Molly Roberts, senior photography editor at National Geographic Magazine, has been named the 2019-20 Knight Fellow in the Ohio University School of Visual Communication (VisCom). The fellowship allows artists in their mid-career an opportunity to earn their master’s degree while teaching VisCom students.

“For someone like me, who has been in the thick of producing magazine and digital content for 20-plus years, the idea of having a reprieve from the daily frenzy and have more than a moment to think about the future of our industry and my role in it is a real luxury,” Roberts said.   

Roberts is a former chief photography editor at Smithsonian Magazine, illustrations editor at National Geographic Books, and she has won awards from the Society of Publication Design, New York Art Directors Club, and the National Press Photographers Association, among others. Roberts has also judged the Best of Photography still photography contest and served as a juror for the inaugural Wide Open Photography exhibit. Both opportunities brought her to Athens and introduced her to the VisCom community.

“I am really interested in spending some time learning new skills, especially video and audio, which I believe are so important to contemporary storytelling,” Roberts said. “I'm also looking forward to engaging with other students and faculty about all the issues that are facing the publishing industry right now, including how we can address ongoing efforts to undermine the believability of the news.”

Roberts said she looks forward to the dedicated time she will have to work creatively. She will dedicate some of that time to HumanEYES USA, a documentary storytelling project she created that is designed to encourage awareness of human rights issues.

School of Visual Communication Associate Professor and Graduate Director Becky Sell is looking forward to having Roberts share her extensive professional experience with students.

"We are thrilled to have Molly joining us as the 2019-20 Knight Fellow. She brings with her a range of experience at the highest level, including as a chief photography editor at Smithsonian Magazine and Senior Photography Editor at National Geographic. As someone who understands the connections stories can have across platforms, we are so looking forward to working her this upcoming year," Sell said.

To learn more about the Knight Fellow program and the School of Visual Communication, visit www.ohio.edu/viscom/.