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John W. Fountain biography

Updated: November 21, 2012 12:08AM



A native son of Chicago’s West Side, John W. Fountain is an award-winning journalist, professor, and author of the memoir True Vine: A Young Black Man’s Journey of Faith, Hope, and Clarity (PublicAffairs 2003; paperback March 2005). He is a professor at Roosevelt University. His latest book is Dear Dad: Reflections on Fatherhood. He is founder and publisher of an upstart independent publishing company, WestSide Press.

Fountain has been a reporter at some of the top newspapers in this country. From 2000 to 2003, he was a national correspondent for the New York Times. He has also been a staff writer at the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune. Until fall 2007, he was a tenured full professor at his alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Professor Fountain was formerly a visiting scholar at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston.

In addition to working as a national correspondent, Fountain has been a crime and courts reporter as well as a general assignment reporter and features writer. Fountain has won numerous honors for feature writing from the National Association of Black Journalists, the Associated Press, the American Association of University Women, and the Society of Professional Journalists and has received the New York Times Publisher’s Award for his coverage of the Mississippi River Flood. In 2003, he was a finalist in feature writing and sports writing for the Peter Lisagor Award for excellence in journalism.

Fountain earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1999, Fountain was one of twelve American journalists selected for the prestigious Michigan Journalism Fellowship for the 1999–2000 class at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Fountain studied inner-city poverty and race.


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