samuel terenceTerence Samuel

Class of 1984

Inducted 2006

Terence Samuel is a veteran journalist and author who for more than 25 years has been a wise and insightful observer of politics, urban life and public policy. He was born in 1962 in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago, moved to New York in the late 1970s, lived in the Bronx, entered City College and joined the staff of The Campus, becoming its editor-in-chief in 1983. He is regarded as one of journalism’s most astute political commentators and has never forgotten his days at CCNY.

“Nothing that has happened in my career would have been possible without City College,” Samuel says. “I tell people all the time that City College is an ‘American’ factory; it turns out Americans, if you think of America as a place where people find opportunity and turn it into achievement.”

samuel terence the upper house


After he graduated with a B.A. in English, Samuel was hired as a reporter at The Roanoke (Va.) Times, covering suburban and rural Bedford County. He left in 1988 to join The Philadelphia Inquirer as a staff writer and national correspondent, covering suburban and city government and politics. As The Inquirer’s national bureau chief based in New York from 1993 to 1996, he covered the trial of the first World Trade Center bombers, the start of Rudolph Giuliani’s time as mayor of New York, and the Oklahoma City bombing. Samuel remained at The Inquirer until 1997, when he became a Washington correspondent for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and was assigned to cover American cities, with an emphasis on the impact of federal policy on urban areas across the country. In 2000, he signed on as chief congressional correspondent for U.S. News & World Report and was with the publication until 2005. During that time, Samuel was a research fellow at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. There, he focused on the roots of the partisan and cultural divide that came to characterize so much of the national discourse.

samuel terence 2012 presidential campaign

Covering the 2012 presidential campaign.

In 2005, Samuel was named director of editorial programming for AOL Black Voices, creating and managing content that included news, sports and financial stories. At around the same time, he was writing weekly columns for The American Prospect, a monthly magazine covering politics, culture and policy from a liberal perspective. In 2007, Samuel helped launch, The Washington Post’s online magazine of opinion and analysis aimed at African-American readers. Three years later, he joined The National Journal as managing editor of congressional coverage. That same year saw the publication of his book, “The Upper House: A Journey Behind the Closed Doors of the U.S. Senate.” Roger Simon, a long-time Washington journalist, said, “With rare access, Terence Samuel presents a dramatic and intense look at life in the august halls of power as it really is and what it really means, for better or worse, for our democracy.” He was named deputy national political editor of The Washington Post in July 2011.

Samuel’s years of covering congressional and national politics has led to appearances on PBS’s “Washington Week,” and on CNN, CNN International, MSNBC, Fox News, the BBC and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

One other fact about Samuel. When he was a student at the College, he ran the half-mile on the track team. He rarely lost. In 2002, he was elected to the CCNY Athletic Hall of Fame.