Jack Hamilton, a long-time journalist, author, and public servant, is the Hopkins P. Breazeale Professor in LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication and a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.
In his twenty years as an LSU administrator, Hamilton was founding dean of the Manship School and executive vice-chancellor and provost. Throughout that time he enthusiastically taught students and guided graduates students’ research, a pursuit to which he remains dedicated as a journalism professor.
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 in Okinawa as a reconnaissance company commander.
While Hamilton was dean of 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 related opinion research facility, and assumed oversight of Student Media, which consists of a 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 had the highest admission standards on campus, was named a priority program at LSU – the only college-level unit so designated.
Asked to serve as executive vice-chancellor during a period of economic turmoil, Hamilton led a reorganization that merged colleges, schools, and departments to save money and stabilize vulnerable academic programs. He set in motion a distance learning initiative and created external support groups to fight for state funding and administrative autonomies.
After retiring from administration in 2012, Hamilton was a public policy scholar in residence at the Wilson Center and has continued his affiliation as a senior scholar. He serves on the boards of the International Center for Journalists, of which he is treasurer, and the 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. With Tom Rosenstiel, he co-chairs the American Press Institute Research Advisory Group, organized to develop academic research useful to journalists.
In the course of his career, Hamilton has had assignments in more than 50 countries. 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 contributed to 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 Tankard Award from the Association of Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication. Other books include 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 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 received the Freedom Forum’s Administrator of the Year Award in 2003. Other honors include two Green Eyeshade Excellence in Journalism Awards, the By-Line Award from Marquette University, and an MLK Day diversity award from LSU. He 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. He has served twice as a Pulitzer Prize jurist. He is a member of the Metropolitan Club of Washington.
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.