Frank Sesno is an internationally recognized journalist with over 30 years of experience reporting from around the world. Well known as a former anchor, White House correspondent and interview host with CNN, he is also a nationally renowned moderator, engaging some of the world’s leading personalities.
As Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University, Sesno works with 23 full-time and 18 part-time faculty to advance the study, teaching and practice of journalism, digital media and political communication. He teaches a range of courses, including the art and genre of documentary, journalistic ethics and bias in news media. At GW, he established The Public Affairs Project at the Center for Innovative Media. The Project’s goal is to be a hub for highly innovative production, teaching and symposia in emerging media and public policy. The Project’s latest initiative is Planet Forward, a user-driven web site and Public Broadcasting TV program that focuses on energy and global environmental issues.
Sesno inaugurated the Conversation Series, offering GW students and the world a unique look at the Washington political and national media landscapes. He has spoken with several guests – from Gwen Ifill to George Stephanopoulos, Tom Ridge, Walter Mondale and Ted Turner – about the role of the media in society. He focused on foreign policy with five former U.S. Secretaries of State – Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, James Baker, Warren Christopher. In 2009, he examined the civil-military relationship with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As a former CNN special correspondent, Sesno’s broadcast specials have aired as part of the network’s award winning documentary series, CNN Presents. In December, 2007, his work was featured in the hour-long special, “Iran: Fact or Fiction,” which highlighted the implications of Iran’s nuclear program. Other CNN documentaries included: “We Were Warned- Tomorrow’s Oil Crisis,” and the update to that documentary, “We Were Warned-Out of Gas.” Sesno also reported and hosted the one-hour documentary on the controversial former Secretary of Defense. “Rumsfeld: Man of War.”
Prior to this work at CNN, Sesno created and hosted the public television series, “Sesno Reports” and “Worldtalk,” which won a regional Emmy award. Other major documentaries include “Ronald Reagan: A Legacy Remembered,” for The History Channel and the four-part, eight-hour PBS series, “Avoiding Armageddon,” which examined terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and failed states.
Sesno has interviewed five American Presidents – Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush – and business and government leaders from around the world. From Yasser Arafat, Benjamin Netanyahu and Hosni Mubarak to Margaret Thatcher, Jack Welch, Tom Ridge and Walter Cronkite, Sesno has spoken with some of the most influential personalities of our time.
Sesno has won several prestigious journalistic awards including a national and regional Emmy; several CableAce awards, Clarion Award, and Cine Golden Eagle awards; a Lincoln Unity award and an Overseas Press Club Award.
Sesno joined CNN in 1984 and for seven years was White House correspondent after which he moved to the anchor chair. From 1996 through 2001, he served as the Washington, D.C., bureau chief and senior vice president. In this capacity, he oversaw the bureau’s editorial direction and supervised the network’s largest newsgathering operation – including White House, Congressional and Pentagon coverage, as well as the network’s political reporting. For seven years, he hosted Late Edition with Frank Sesno, CNN’s flagship weekend interview program.
Before joining CNN, Sesno served as overseas correspondent based in London and then White House correspondent for the Associated Press Radio Network.
Prior to his current academic appointment at George Washington University, Sesno was university professor of public policy and communication at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Sesno is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves as Advisory Board Chair of the POSSE Foundation’s D.C. Chapter. He is a former trustee of Middlebury College, the Potomac School in McLean, Virginia and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Journalism Award committee.
Sesno holds an honors degree in American History and graduated cum laude from Middlebury College. He was conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 1995 by the Monterrey Institute of International Studies in California, and received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from his alma mater, Middlebury College in 2009. He is married with 3 children and currently resides in Washington, D.C.