Wilson Center Experts

John Hamilton

Senior Scholar

Contact Information:
T 202/691-4080 // F 202/691-4001
Expertise:
Governance
;
History
;
U.S. Politics
;
Asia
;
Europe
;
North America
;
United States
Affiliation:
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, Hopkins P. Breazeale Professor of Journalism, Louisiana State University
Wilson Center Project(s):
“A History on the Committee on Public Information”
Term:
Dec 15, 2012
-
Dec 14, 2014

Jack Hamilton’s career has traced a path through newsrooms, the corridors of government, and a university campus. 

Hamilton came to Louisiana State University in 1992 to head the Manship School of Mass Communication.  He stepped down as dean in 2010 to become the executive vice-chancellor and provost.           

As a journalist, Hamilton reported for the Milwaukee Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, and ABC radio.  He was a longtime commentator for MarketPlace, broadcast nationally by Public Radio International.  His work also has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, and The Nation, among other publications. 

In government, Hamilton oversaw nuclear non-proliferation issues for the House Foreign Affairs Committee, served in the State Department during the Carter administration as an advisor to head of the U.S. foreign aid program in Asia, and managed a World Bank program to educate Americans about economic development.  He served in Vietnam as a Marine Corps platoon commander and subsequently as a reconnaissance company commander.

While Hamilton headed the Manship School, it became a free-standing college-level unit.  It added a one-of-a-kind doctoral degree devoted to media and public affairs, launched the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs and a research facility that carries out public opinion surveys and media effects experiments, and assumed oversight of Student Media, which consists of the daily newspaper, magazine, and television and radio stations.  The number of majors more than doubled as did the size of the faculty and staff; the school’s endowment more than sextupled.  The school, which has the highest admission standards on campus, was named a priority program at LSU – the only college-level unit so named. 

Asked to serve as executive vice-chancellor during a period of economic turmoil from 2010-2012, Hamilton led a reorganization that consolidated and merged colleges, schools, and departments in order to save money and stabilize vulnerable academic programs.  He set a distance learning initiative in motion and developed external groups to provide political support for state funding and approval of university autonomies that brought cost savings and efficiency. 

During his twenty years as an administrator, Hamilton enthusiastically taught students and guided graduates students’ research, an activity to which he remains dedicated as a professor in the Manship School.

In the course of his career, Hamilton has had assignments in more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.  In addition to covering foreign news, Hamilton has written extensively on foreign newsgathering and sought to improve it.  In the mid-1980s he created and directed a Society of Professional Journalist’s project to develop techniques for local reporting of foreign news, especially on relations with developing countries.  He later worked on a similar project for the American Society of Newspaper Editors.  In the 1980s, the National Journal said Hamilton has shaped public opinion about the complexity of U.S.-Third World relations “more than any other single journalist.”

Hamilton’s most recent book, Journalism’s Roving Eye: A History of American Newsgathering Abroad, won the Goldsmith Prize from the Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics & Public Policy, the Book of the Year Award from the American Journalism Historians Association, and the 2010 Tankard Award from the Association of Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication.  In addition he is author of Main Street America and the Third World; Entangling Alliances: How The Third World Shapes Our Lives; Edgar Snow: A Biography; Hold the Press: The Inside Story on Newspapers (with co-author George Krimsky); and Casanova Was a Book Lover: And Other Naked Truths and Provocative Curiosities About the Writing, Selling, and Reading of Books.  He is editor of the LSU Press book series “From Our Correspondent.”           

Hamilton serves on the boards of the International Center for Journalists, of which he is treasurer, and Lamar Corporation, listed on Nasdaq as the largest outdoor advertising company in the U.S. as measured by number of displays.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Hamilton was named the Freedom Forum’s Administrator of the Year Award in 2003.  His other awards include two Green Eyeshade Excellence in Journalism Awards, the By-Line Award from Marquette University, and an MLK Day diversity award from LSU.  Hamilton has received funding from the Carnegie and Ford Foundations, among others.  In 2002 he was a Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government; in 2012 he was a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.  He has served twice as a Pulitzer Prize jurist.

Hamilton earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Marquette and Boston Universities respectively, and a doctorate in American Civilization from George Washington University. 

Previous Terms at the Wilson Center:
Public Policy Scholar, Aug. 2012-Dec 2012

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