John has spent much of his career writing about human rights/dictatorships in Latin America. He also taught writing and reporting at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism for almost two decades.
After learning journalism on the copy desk and the police beat at the Des Moines Register and Tribune, he traveled to Chile to become a freelance foreign correspondent—a “stringer” in the parlance of the time. He wrote mostly for the Washington Post, Time Magazine, The Miami Herald and a great newsletter out of Lima, Peru, edited by the Maryknoll fathers.
He is the author of five books of investigative journalism, all centered on exposing the secrets the dictators and their U.S. friends were trying to hide. His most recent book is Death and the Revolution: The Untold Story of Two Americans Executed in Chile (published in Spanish last year with the title Chile en el Corazón).
He’s also a radio guy—working for 11 years at National Public Radio, as foreign editor and managing editor. His specialty at NPR and later at Columbia University was editing long-form radio documentaries.
Switching to first person, I have to say my favorite award was the medal conferred by the government of Chile called the “Order of Bernardo O’Higgins in the rank of commander”. Another organization made me an honorary citizen of Chile. It’s been interesting. I graduated from Loras College, studied theology in Austria (long story) and eventually backed up my journalism with an MA in Latin American studies from Stanford.
I currently am a contributor to a very fun Substack called “SpyTalk.”