John Hockenberry (b.
June 4, 1956) is an American journalist. He has won four Emmy awards and three Peabody Awards. Hockenberry accepted a position in early 2007 as a Distinguished Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab and is also a regular commentator on the [http://www.infinitemind.com Infinite Mind] . He is a contributing editor for "Wired" magazine, and "Metropolis" magazine and was named a contributor to a new magazine from Conde Nastentitled "Portfolio" [http://www.portfolio.com] . He is the co-host of a new morning drive news program, The Takeawaywith John Hockenberry and Adaora Udoji, co-created by Public Radio Internationaland WNYCand editorial partners, the BBC World Service, The New York Times and WGBH Radio Boston. Hockenberry is a paraplegic.
He was born in
Dayton, Ohio, graduated from East Grand Rapids High School in East Grand Rapids, Michigan and attended the University of Chicagoand the University of Oregon. When he was a 19-year-old student, he accepted a ride while hitchhiking on Interstate 80. He fell asleep in the car as did the driver. The car veered off the road, crashed, and the driver was killed. Hockenberry's spinal cord was damaged, and he remains paralyzed without sensation or voluntary movement from the mid-chest down.
He currently lives in
New Yorkand in Massachusettswith his wife, Alison, and four children, including two sets of twins: Zoe, Olivia, Regan and Zachary.
Hockenberry started his career as a volunteer for the
National Public Radioaffiliate KLCC in Eugene, Oregon. In the early 1980s, he moved to Washington, DC, where he was a newscaster. From 1989 to 1990 he hosted a two-hour nightly news show called " HEAT with John Hockenberry". During his 15 years with NPR, he worked as a Middle East correspondent, reporting on the Persian Gulf Warin 1991 and 1992. Beginning in November 1991 he served as the first host of NPR's " Talk of the Nation". He also worked for ABC Newsbefore joining " Dateline NBC" as a correspondent in 1996. He reported on the Kosovo Warin 1999. His weekly radio commentaries have been heard since 1999 on the nationally broadcast public radio program " The Infinite Mind".
He has written for "
The New York Times", " The New Yorker", "I.D.", "Wired", " The Columbia Journalism Review", "Details", and " The Washington Post". His books include "A River Out Of Eden" (ISBN 0-385-72150-1), "Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs and Declarations of Independence" (ISBN 0-7868-8162-3), and has written about "The Blogs of War" in "Wired" magazine.
In 1996 he appeared
off-Broadwayin his one-man autobiographical play, "Spokeman".
In May 2006, he began writing his own blog, titled "The Blogenberry". In February 2007 he changed it to "The Blogenberry World".
In January 2008, a Reuters/Hollywood Reporter story made public Hockenberry's experiences working at NBC's Dateline program. A "Dateline NBC" correspondent during the aftermath of September 11, he was discouraged by the network from reporting on al Qaeda; instead network executives wanted him to ride along with the country's "forgotten heroes," firefighters.
Hockenberry wrote in the January 2008 "Technology Review" magazine that on the Sunday after the September 2001 attacks he was pitching stories on the origins of al Qaeda and Islamic fundamentalism. He claimed that then-NBC programming chief Jeff Zucker, who came into a meeting Hockenberry was having with "Dateline" executive producer David Corvo, said "Dateline" should instead focus on the firefighters and perhaps ride along with them a la "Cops," a Fox reality series. According to Hockenberry, Zucker said "that he had no time for any subtitled interviews with jihadists raging about Palestine."
Hockenberry has further claimed that
General Electric, NBC's parent company, discouraged him from talking to the Bin Laden family about their estranged family member. Hockenberry says that he asked GE, which does business with the Bin Laden family company, to help him get in contact with them. Instead, a PR executive called Hockenberry's hotel room in Saudi Arabia and read him a statement about how GE didn't see its "valuable business relationship" with the Bin Laden Group as having anything to do with "Dateline."
In another instance, Hockenberry claimed a story he did about a
Weather Undergroundmember wouldn't appear on the Sunday edition of "Dateline" unless its lead-out, the 1960s family drama "American Dreams," did a show about "protesters or something."
On April 2, 2008, there was the premier of a series he will host, [http://www.powerofsmall.org "Nanotechnology: Power of Small,"] discussing the impact of nanotechnology as concerns the general public. It airs in April 2008.
Million Dollar Bigot
In 2005 he wrote a scathing review of the film "
Million Dollar Baby" called "And the Loser Is." The review was submitted to a disability website with the title "Million Dollar Bigot" as an exclusive feature. The essay would be discussed in news articles globally and Hockenberry was interviewed about it on Counterspin, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's weekly news show in Mid- March 2005. A documentary was made, also called "Million Dollar Bigot" and featuring opposition to the Academy Award winning film. The film, completed on July 13, 2005, features Hockenberry as well as many other disability activists.
* [http://www.johnhockenberry.com/ John Hockenberry's Blog]
* [http://www.lcmedia.com/hockenb.htm John Hockenberry's "The Infinite Mind" biography]
* [http://www.spacefacts.de/bios/candidates/english/hockenberry_john.htm Spacefacts biography of John Hockenberry]
* [http://www.technologyreview.com/printer_friendly_article.aspx?id=19845 "You Don't Understand Our Audience: What I learned about network television at Dateline NBC"] feature article by Hockenberry in "
Technology Review" magazine, January/February 2008
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