Judges : National

Debra Adams Simmons

Editor, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)

Debra Adams Simmons joined The Plain Dealer, Cleveland’s daily newspaper, as managing editor in 2007. Her arrival to run the day-to-day news operation of the state’s largest newspaper followed four years as vice president and editor of the Akron Beacon Journal following a brief tenure as managing editor.

Adams Simmons previously worked at The Detroit Free Press, The Virginian-Pilot, The Hartford Courant and the Syracuse Herald-Journal. She’s worked as a reporter, an assignment editor and department head. She’s been a deputy managing editor, managing editor and editor.

In 2004 and 2005 she served as a Pulitzer Prize juror. She is a regular visiting faculty member at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida. A native of Hartford, Connecticut, Adams Simmons received her bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications and the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a graduate of the Northwestern University Media Management Center’s Advanced Executive Program as well the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education’s management training program.

In 2003, she was named one of Crain’s Cleveland’s 40 Under 40 leading executives in Northeast Ohio. In 2005, she was the recipient of the Cleveland area’s prestigious ATHENA Award.

She and her husband Jonathan have two sons, Jacob and Jonathan.