Creator, faculty member emeritus supports international reporting

May 26, 2020

After creating an international reporting course at Penn State that has become a model for programs across the country, a former faculty member has made a commitment to support it and endeavors like it for years to come.

Tony Barbieri, professor emeritus of journalism, made a $100,000 gift to endow the Tony Barbieri Fund for International Reporting, which will enrich the Department of Journalism in the Bellisario College with funds for initiatives and programs related to international reporting.

Barbieri was the Larry and Ellen Foster Professor of Writing and Editing until his retirement in June 2018. As Foster Professor he taught courses on American journalism values, newsroom ethics and advanced reporting.

He also initiated the international reporting course in 2009. The embedded program combined classroom instruction on the University Park campus with a spring break working trip abroad. In recent years, students have covered stories at a variety of international destinations, including Brazil, China, Cuba, Greece, Israel, Mexico, Panama and South Africa. Their work from those trips — a mix of broadcast, longform and multimedia journalism efforts — often earned awards in national competitions.

For Barbieri, providing undergraduate journalism students access to international opportunities was the goal of the course from the beginning.

“This is not an easy course to sustain because of the resources it requires,” said Barbieri, who has previously endowed a scholarship for undergraduate communications students. “With Marie Hardin as dean and Professor Katie O’Toole now running the program, I’m confident the international reporting course could not be in better hands.”

Barbieri was himself a foreign correspondent for close to 10 years, first in Moscow and then in Tokyo,  while working at The Baltimore Sun. When he retired from The Baltimore Sun in 2004, he was the paper’s managing editor. He spent two years teaching at the University of Maryland before joining the Penn State faculty in 2007.

The international reporting endeavor was the first embedded course in the Bellisario College. In the years since its inception, each of the other departments has launched its own embedded course — which combines a semester of work around a working trip during spring break.

“The growth and success of our embedded programs and international opportunities have benefited many of our students across the Bellisario College,” Dean Marie Hardin said. “Tony Barbieri’s work with international reporting provided a firm foundation for that growth. We’re deeply appreciative of his commitment to the Bellisario College and our students.”

This gift will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit

Last Updated June 14, 2021