Biography

Jahn Maxwell Hamilton headshot

Jack Hamilton, a long-time journalist, author, and public servant, is the Hopkins P. Breazeale Professor in LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication. He has appointments as a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and as a senior associate at the center for Strategic and International Studies, both in Washington, DC.

As a journalist, Hamilton reported at home and abroad 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 has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, 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 US 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.

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 graduate students' research, a pursuit to which he remains dedicated as a journalism professor.

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.

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 the 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 serves on the boards of the International Center for Journalists, of which he is treasurer, and was formerly on the board of Lamar Corporation, listed on Nasdaq as the largest outdoor advertising company in the US as measured by number of displays. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the Historical Advisory Board of the US World War One Centennial Commission. 

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 news gathering 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 US -Third World relations “more than any other single journalist.”

Hamilton’s most recent book, published in 2020, is Manipulating the Masses: Woodrow Wilson and the Birth of American Propaganda. His previous book, Journalism’s Roving Eye: A History of American News gathering 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.

Hamilton’s other books are 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 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.