Ellis Cose, author, columnist and contributing editor (since 1993) for Newsweek magazine and former chairman of the editorial board and editorial page editor of the New York Daily News, began his journalism career as a weekly columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times—becoming, at the age of 19, the youngest editorial page columnist ever employed by a major Chicago daily.
Cose, who is also an independent radio producer, is a popular campus lecturer and public speaker. His debut radio production effort, “Against the Odds,” aired in 2008 in more than 100 radio markets in the United States including eight stations in the top 11 markets.
In addition to serving as a columnist, editor and national correspondent for the Chicago Sun-Times, Cose has been a contributor and press critic for Time magazine, president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Journalism Education, chief writer on management and workplace issues for USA Today (where he has also served as an occasional columnist and member of the board of contributors) and a member of the editorial board of the Detroit Free Press. He has also been a fellow at the Gannett Center for Media Studies at Columbia University, at the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences, a senior fellow and director of energy policy studies at the Washington-based Joint Center for Political Studies, and a consultant to the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations.
Cose’s “Bone to Pick: On Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Reparation and Revenge,” was published by Atria (a Simon and Schuster imprint) in April 2004. The book is a wide-ranging look at a number of societies—the United States, Ghana, South Africa, East Timor, and Peru among them—and their ways of coping with cruelty and pain.
Cose’s “The Envy of the World,” an in-depth essay on the state of Black men in America, was published by Washington Square Press (an imprint of Simon and Schuster) in 2002 and has appeared on several best-seller lists, including the Essence magazine list, where it was number one. Newsweek featured the book on its cover and National Public Radio produced a special program based on it.
In May 2004 the Rockefeller Foundation issued “Beyond Brown v. Board: The Final Battle for Excellence in American Education”—a major report authored by Cose on the legacy of the historic Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision and the current challenges facing American educators. The report was the basis of a Newsweek cover feature and for a David Broder column and other stories in the national press.
Cose’s best-selling “The Rage of a Privileged Class,” a book-length essay on race in America, was published by HarperCollins in January 1994. It was featured as a Newsweek cover story and described by The New York Times Book Review as a “disciplined, graceful exposition of a neglected aspect of the subject of race in America.”
“Color-Blind: Seeing Beyond Race in a Race-Obsessed World” (published in January 1997 and also excerpted in Newsweek) explored America’s continuing obsession with race. The New York Times Book Review called it “a book this country desperately needs, one with genuine healing potential,” and included “Color-Blind” among its best book of the year recommendations for 1997.
In his capacity as president of Ellis Cose, Inc., Cose is executive producer, host and writer for “Against the Odds,” a multimedia documentary series. The project (which has received funding from the Ford Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, the Goldman Sachs Foundation, and The Daniel and Joanna Rose Fund) profiles individuals who have overcome tremendous adversity.
A Chicago native, Cose holds a master’s degree in Science, Technology and Public Policy from George Washington University. He is married to Lee Llambelis, Special Assistant District Attorney for Community Affairs for New York County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. He has a daughter, Elisa Maria.