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Peter Slevin

Peter Slevin

Professor

Peter Slevin is a Medill professor who spent a decade on The Washington Post’s national staff and is currently a contributing writer for The New Yorker, focusing on national politics. He teaches classes on politics and the media; the U.S. role in world affairs; and reporting strategies on current events, from the 2020 presidential campaign to the intersection of policing and race in Chicago.

Slevin’s career as a reporter has taken him around the country and the globe, where he has covered events and personalities of every description, taking particular interest in telling stories rich with the voices of the people involved. His ambitious biography of Michelle Obama was voted one of the best biographies of the year by PEN America, and was translated into Chinese, Korean and Dutch.

After starting his career at a small afternoon newspaper in Hollywood, Florida, Slevin moved to The Miami Herald, where his stint included seven years as European bureau chief, chronicling the collapse of communism in central Europe and the Soviet Union. Later, he reported from Cuba, Haiti and Mexico, then moved to Washington as chief diplomatic correspondent. He joined The Post in 1998, spending two years covering Washington, D.C., before crossing to the national staff in time for the Bush-Gore recount in Florida and the Clinton presidential pardon scandal. As a diplomatic correspondent after the 9/11 attacks, he wrote extensively about U.S. foreign policy and the Iraq war, concentrating on the Bush administration’s controversial post-war planning and the aftermath of the American-led invasion.

Slevin spent six years as The Post's Chicago bureau chief, delivering deadline work and deeply reported stories, with a special focus on politics and the home front of the Iraq and Afghan wars. He produced long-form pieces about soldiers, their preparations for war and their return home, as well as the impact of war on their families, communities and public opinion. Continuing his work at the intersection of politics, media and the public, he is frequently asked to give lectures on the role of journalism in the age of Donald Trump.

At Medill, Slevin admires creative approaches to storytelling and believes that some of the best journalism flows from research and critical thinking done before the reporter has asked the first question. Urging his students to zig when the press pack zags, he leads an undergraduate seminar titled “Politics, Media and the Republic,” as well as "Dilemmas of American Power," cross-listed with Medill and International Studies, which focuses on the U.S. role in the world, from the Vietnam War to the modern Middle East. Among his courses are graduate and undergraduate versions of “Police, Race and Community.” He has guided student reporting trips to Cuba, France and Jordan, as well as to numerous states in the Midwest.

Authored Works

Following his reporting on the 2008 presidential campaign and extensive writing on the Obamas, Slevin authored “Michelle Obama: A Life” in 2015. It was named one of the top biographies of the year by PEN America.

Education

Slevin has an undergraduate degree from Princeton and an M.Phil in international relations from Oxford. He spent the 2014-15 academic year as a non-resident fellow at Harvard's Hutchins Center for African & African American Research. 

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