Alison Bethel-McKenzie

Alison Bethel McKenzie (born January 12, 1966) is an American-born journalist and editor.


Alison Bethel McKenzie was previously the executive director of the Society of Professional Journalists. She also served as director of the International Press Institute (IPI) and the first American, first woman and first African American to reach this position since its foundation in 1950. She has over 25 years experience in journalism, as a reporter, bureau chief, senior editor and trainer, and is often cited in discussions about press freedom. She has been a guest lecturer or visiting professor at African University College of Communications (Lagos, Nigeria), College of the City of Vienna, Colleges throughout India, including in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, Howard University (Washington, D.C.), International Academy of Journalism (Hamburg, Germany), Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), Nigeria Institute of Journalism, Pennsylvania State University, State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz, U.S. Embassies in Ghana, Zambia and Austria, University of Maryland, University of The Bahamas and Indian Institute of Journalism New Media (IIJNM). She has twice sponsored the Sadiq Press Freedom Award, conferred each World Press Freedom Day, on May 3, 2015 and May 3, 2017 by the Rural Media Network Pakistan. She was a reporter at the now defunct The State-Times in Baton Rouge, La from 1988–1990. She was a Reporter at the Times Herald-Record in Newburgh, N.Y. from 1990-1992 and Assistant Business Editor for The Poughkeepsie Journal from 1992–1993. From 1993–1995 she was the Day City Editor for The Detroit News. From 1995-2000 she was senior assistant city editor at The Boston Globe, supervising a reporting staff that covered City Hall, urban affairs, and transportation. In 2000, she joined The Detroit News as features editor, and then became the paper's Washington, D.C.. bureau chief from 2001 to 2006, overseeing coverage of the White House and members of Michigan’s congressional delegation. She joined the Legal Times in Washington, D.C. in 2006 as executive editor, moving on in 2007 to the Nassau Guardian, in the Bahamas, as managing editor.Before joining the International Press Institute (IPI) in August 2009, she spent a year in Accra, Ghana, for the Washington, D.C.-based International Center for Journalists a Knight International Journalism Fellow, helping Ghanaian journalists improve their reporting skills in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election.

From 2010 to 2015, Bethel McKenzie served as executive director of the International Press Institute in Vienna, Austria. Before her departure from IPI at the end of 2015, Alison oversaw IPI's strategic vision and was responsible for the overall leadership of the staff in the implementation of IPI's goals, the overall administration and development of the organization and its press freedom activities, and the financial management of IPI. She is also on the Advisory Board of the Center for International Media Ethics and is a board member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and an advisory board member of the Journalism and Women's Symposium (JAWS).

On April 29, 2019, Bethel-McKenzie resigned as the Society of Professional Journalists' Executive Director after 13 months.

On April 22, 2019, Alison Bethel McKenzie joined Report for America as its Director of Core Excellence. She officially began working with the organization on May 20.