Pamela Fessler was born in 1953 in Teaneck, New Jersey. She grew up in Hillsdale, New Jersey, where she attended St. John the Baptist Elementary School. From 1967 to 1971, she attended high school at Immaculate Heart Academy. Following high school, she attended Douglass College at Rutgers University. She majored in American Studies and pursued her interest in journalism by joining the Douglass newspaper, the Caellian, eventually becoming the managing editor. After graduating in the Class of 1975, she worked as a reporter for The Bergen Record. Fessler attended graduate school at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse and earned a master's in public administration, after which she worked in Washington, D.C. at the Office of Management and Budget (OBM). Following that, she became the Senior Reporter and Editor of the Congressional Quarterly Magazine. In 1993, she began working at NPR News and has served as NPR's Chief Elections Editor, Washington Desk Editor and National Desk Editor. She has covered voting issues, poverty and philanthropy. Fessler is the author of Carville's Cure: Leprosy, Stigma, and the Fight for Justice (Liveright Publishing, 2020), which explores the little-known history of the Carville leprosarium.
(Photo courtesy of Allison Shelley/NPR)