Steven Hess

Stephen Hess

Senior Fellow Emeritus – Governance Studies

Stephen Hess first joined Brookings in 1972 and was distinguished research professor of media and public affairs at the George Washington University (2004–2009). Hess served on the White House staff during the Eisenhower and Nixon presidencies, and as advisor to President Ford and President Carter. At different points in his career, Hess concurrently served as a fellow in the Faculty of Government at Harvard University (1979-82), and as U.S. Representative to the United Nations General Assembly (1976) and the UNESCO General Conference (1974).

Prior to joining Brookings, he was the national chairman of the White House Conference on Children and Youth from 1969 to 1971, and was the deputy assistant to the President for Urban Affairs in 1969. He has participated in many U.S. cultural missions around the world, and has worked in key consultant and adviser capacities for the Russell Sage Foundation, the German Marshall Fund, the Ford Foundation, and for the U.S. government. He has lectured at over 50 colleges and universities.

Hess has received many prestigious honors, including mention in Who’s Who in America, Contemporary Authors, and Who’s Who in American Politics. He was on Time magazine’s list of “200 Young American Leaders” in 1974, and cited as the New York Times “Man in the News” on December 14, 1970. Hess is a member of the National Academy of Public Administration and the Senior Advisory Committee of the Shorenstein Center for Press, Politics, and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. A Chinese edition of International News & Foreign Correspondents was published in 2010. Also in 2010, Transaction published “American Political Cartoons: The Evolution of a National Identity, 1754-2010” with Sandy Northrop, and Library Journal awarded “Best Book, 2008” to “What Do We Do Now? A Workbook for the President-Elect”. Other books by Hess include “Through Their Eyes: Foreign Correspondents in the United States”, published in 2005; “The Media and the War on Terrorism”, with Marvin Kalb (2003), and “Organizing the Presidency (3rd edition, 2002)”. His book, “The Little Book of Campaign Etiquette” (2000), won the National Press Club’s Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism. In 1996 he authored a trilogy of books on the presidency, the press, and foreign news coverage: “International News & Foreign Correspondents”; “News & Newsmaking”; and “Presidents & the Presidency”. Some of his better known books include: “The Presidential Campaign”; “The Ultimate Insiders: U.S. Senators in the National Media”, winner of the Outstanding Academic Book award from the American Library Association; “The Washington Reporters”, winner of the Lowell Mellett Award for Improving Journalism through Critical Evaluation; and “Nixon: a Political Portrait”, with Earl Mazo, which now has 30 foreign editions. In the fall of 2012, he published the book “Whatever Happened to the Washington Reporters, 1978-2012”. The Brookings Press published Hess’ books “The Professor and the President in 2014 and “America’s Political Dynasties from Adams to Clinton” in 2016.

  • Areas of Expertise

    • Elections
    • Media
    • Political campaigns
    • Political parties
    • Politics
    • The presidency
    • White House organization
  • Current Positions

    •  Senior Fellow Emeritus, Governance Studies
  • Past Positions

    • Distinguished Research Professor of Media and Public Affairs, The George Washington University (2004-2009)
    • Consultant to President on Executive Office Reorganization (1977)
    • U.S. Representative to the U.N. General Assembly (1976)
    • Editor-in-Chief of Republican Party Platform (1976)
    • Chairman, White House Committee on Children and Youth (1970-71)
    • Presidential Adviser on Urban Affairs (1969)
    • Presidential Speechwriter (1958-61)
  • Education

    • B.A., Johns Hopkins University, 1953
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