Betsy West is a video journalist and filmmaker. She directed RBG (CNNFilms, Magnolia, Participant) along with CJS alum Julie Cohen ‘89. RBG, a theatrical documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
West was executive producer of the MAKERS documentary and digital project (AOL & PBS, 2012); the feature documentary The Lavender Scare (2017), and the short doc 4%: Film’s Gender Problem (Epix 2016.) Along with her husband, filmmaker Oren Jacoby, she is a principal at Storyville Films where she co-produced Constantine’s Sword (First Run Features, 2007.)
West joined the Columbia faculty in 2009 after working three decades in network news. As a producer and executive at ABC News, she received 21 Emmy Awards and two duPont-Columbia Awards for her work on “Nightline” and “PrimeTimeLive” and the documentary program ”Turning Point,” where she served as executive producer from 1994-1998. As senior vice president at CBS News from 1998-2005, she oversaw “60 Minutes” and “48 Hours,” and was executive in charge of the CBS documentary 9/11, winner of the Primetime Emmy Award in 2002.
At Columbia, she taught classes in reporting, video production and documentary. She co-curated and moderated the FilmFridays screening series that brought first-run documentaries and their directors to the Journalism School.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University, West holds a Master’s in Communications from Syracuse University. She served two terms on the Corporation of Brown University, and sat on Board of Directors of The New 42nd Street.