Chair, Global Service Institute at Long Island University
Rita Cosby is one of the most recognized and respected broadcasters in America who has attained an extraordinary level of success in multiple arenas that few in the media landscape have achieved.
Born in Brooklyn, she is a renowned Emmy-winning TV host, veteran correspondent and multiple best selling author, who anchored highly rated primetime shows on Fox News Channel and MSNBC, and has secured exclusive interviews with more than twenty world leaders, including seven U.S. Presidents. In recent years, she has served as a frequent guest host on HLN/CNN and as a special correspondent for the CBS syndicated newsmagazine Inside Edition.
Legend of the Year
Heralded as one of the Most Influential Women in Radio from 2014 to 2018 by Radio Ink magazine, she was selected as Legend of the Year for 2018, chosen among all women on and off air in the radio industry. Rita has also been honored with six prestigious Gracie Awards, including “Outstanding Host” and “Outstanding Talk Show,” as well as “Best Talk Interview” for her exclusive with Hillary Clinton.
Veteran Political Reporter
She was one of the youngest senior correspondents in the country for a national TV news network when she extensively covered the White House, Capitol Hill and the Pentagon, breaking many major stories in Washington, D.C., including informing President Bill Clinton he had been subpoenaed to testify. Having been one of the main hosts on WABC Radio, she also served as Political Editor from 2015 to 2018, anchoring coverage of significant local, national and international political events, doing the Rita Cosby Politics podcasts, as well as moderating one of the most contentious Congressional debates of 2018. In an award-winning one-hour special on New York Primary Day 2016, she had interviews with all five Presidential candidates, all Republicans and Democrats still in the race.
Throughout her illustrious TV career, Rita has obtained the most sought-after interviews while covering domestic and global breaking news. Having traveled to some of the most volatile locations, she’s conducted historic back-to-back interviews with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, met with Fidel Castro in Cuba, and was one of the last American journalists to meet with Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Rita was also granted rare meetings with Pope Benedict XVI, and years earlier with Pope John Paul II after receiving an exclusive letter from Timothy McVeigh explaining why he carried out the Oklahoma City Bombing. In June 2014, she became the first American journalist to interview Pope Francis when she spoke to him at the Vatican about his historic Mideast Peace Summit. Having lived in Seville, Spain during her college studies abroad, she conducted the interview in Spanish.
The first reporter to observe up close prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay and witness an actual interrogation, she also interviewed Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic who called her from his prison cell at the Hague where he stood trial for war crimes. While broadcasting live from Belgrade during the NATO bombing, she broke the news that three American POWs were going to be released. During Hurricane Katrina, she provided extensive live coverage, hosting shows from New Orleans, revealing the widespread devastation, and soon after reported live from the war zone in Afghanistan and then along the U.S. – Mexico border with law enforcement, covering many angles of the immigration battle.
Additionally, she has conducted exclusive interviews with infamous inmates Erik Menendez, Dr. Jack Kevorkian and David Berkowitz, “The Son of Sam.” Moreover, she’s also interviewed numerous celebrities and sports stars including Michael Jackson, Simon Cowell, Tom Hanks, Mike Tyson, Bruce Willis, Matt Damon, Stevie Wonder, Jon Bon Jovi, Hank Aaron, Mariano Rivera, Shaquille O’Neal and Dennis Rodman.
Honors for the three-time Emmy winner include the Matrix Award, Headliner Award and Jack Anderson Award for journalism excellence. She was also selected by Cosmopolitan Magazine as a “Fun and Fearless Female.” A recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Lech Walesa Freedom Award, she frequently hosts the National Memorial Day Parade broadcast to all U.S. military installations around the world as well as Troopathon, a star-studded annual TV telethon broadcast nationwide, which has raised millions of dollars for care packages sent to active duty service members. In 2018, she was awarded the esteemed Yellow Ribbon Medal of Freedom.
Best Selling Author
She has written back-to-back New York Times Best Selling books and was listed in 2017 and 2018 among the Top 200 Most Influential Authors in the World. Her recent best seller, “QUIET HERO: Secrets From My Father’s Past,” details her fascinating discovery about her own father, a Polish Resistance fighter, who later became a Nazi prisoner of war, and was ultimately saved by American troops. Having spoken at the United Nations, Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, West Point and in Normandy, France for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, her critically acclaimed memoir has become required reading at several major U.S. universities and used as a centerpiece for discussions on those dealing with Post Traumatic Stress and their families. A gifted and passionate public speaker, she has traveled to six continents and captivated audiences with her powerful and deeply personal stories. In 2016, she was honored with the Jan Karski Humanitarian Award, named after one of the heroes of the Holocaust.
In 2019, Rita was heralded at The White House, New York City Hall and at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, where she was decorated with the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit, one of Poland’s highest civilian honors. She also played a role with two major initiatives: Poland’s 2019 inclusion in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program and the Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2020, which honors these unsung heroes and their critical efforts in the war’s success.
Because of Rita’s “extraordinary journalism and exemplary service on behalf of her community,” October 11th, 2010 was officially named “Rita Cosby Day” in the State of New York. In 2011, she was recognized by the U.S. Congress for her professional and charitable achievements. In 2017, she received the “Outstanding Public Service Award” at the Fair Media Council’s Folio Awards in Long Island.
Rita with Pope Francis at the Vatican
Rita with President George W. Bush
Rita with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley
Rita with King Abdullah of Jordan
Rita with U.S. Troops in Afghanistan