Farai Chideya

  • Spring 2012

Farai Chideya has combined media, technology, and diversity during her 20-year career as an award-winning author and journalist. Chideya is currently a political contributor to WNYC, where she also hosts a series of town hall meetings on public affairs, and is an advisor to the technology and ecommerce company Etsy. In the 2010-2011 school year, Chideya served as "Leader in Residence" at the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies, where she focused on media training the next generation of public policy leaders. The culmination of her work at the Powell Center was a forum at the Schomburg Library, "Civic Engagement in the Era of New Media."

In 2010, in partnership with WNYC and American Public Media, Chideya produced multimedia political specials about the midterm election. The team behind "Pop and Politics with Farai Chideya" road-tripped through America to interview people about economic anxiety and national identity crises concerning religion, immigration, and race.  The project aired on over 100 stations across America, and won "Best Radio Documentary" from the National Association of Black Journalists. Additional video and social media assets are archived at PopandPolitics.com, which Chideya originally launched as a blog in 1995. In conjunction with her student journalism training work via Pop and Politics, Chideya taught in previous years at the University of Southern California and San Francisco State University.

From 2006 to early 2009, Chideya hosted NPR’s News and Notes. She interviewed candidates during the 2008 election including then-Senator Barack Obama; public figures including First Lady Laura Bush; covered the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina from the ground; and did a special series of investigative reports on drugs and homelessness on Los Angeles’ Skid Row. In previous years, she has been a reporter for Newsweek and ABC News, a political analyst for CNN, and a host for the Oxygen Network. She continues to appear on television and radio as a cultural commentator. Appearances have included ABC’s Nightline, CNN, MSNBC, and Real Time with Bill Maher. Chideya and the teams she has worked with have won awards including a National Education Reporting Award, a North Star News Prize, and a special award from the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association for coverage of AIDS.

Chideya  has written three nonfiction books: Trust: Reaching the 100 Million Missing Voters; The Color of Our Future; and Don’t Believe the Hype: Fighting Cultural Misinformation About African Americans, plus a novel, Kiss the Sky. All four of her books have been taught at the college level in subjects from ethnic studies to pop culture.

Chideya was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and graduated from Harvard University Magna Cum Laude (A.B. English) in 1990. Ten years later, she was awarded a distinguished alumna award for her work in journalism.