Neil Henry

Professor and Dean Emeritus  |   510-642-5999  |   E-Mail

Neil Henry worked for 16 years as a staff writer for The Washington Post and Newsweek magazine prior to joining the faculty in 1993. A former national correspondent and Africa Bureau Chief for the Washington Post, Professor Henry has won awards from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Associated Press, and Robert F. Kennedy Memorial for his reporting and writing. He is the author of a 2002 racial memoir, Pearl's Secret. His second book, American Carnival, which examines the news industry's adjustments to the digital age, was published in 2007. Between 2007 and 2011, Professor Henry served as dean of the Graduate School of Journalism, attracting three endowed chairs under the Hewlett Challenge and hastening the School's curricular transition to incorporate digital skills training. A graduate in Politics from Princeton University, Professor Henry earned his Master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Professor Henry has also launched an award winning digital news initiative originally funded by the Ford Foundation in which J-School students in the program's core news reporting classes are producing local news content for neglected Bay Area communities. The digital sites include OaklandNorthRichmond Confidential, and Mission Loc@l,  winner of a 2009 Webby Award for Internet Excellence. These projects helped lead the School to a founding partnership in 2010 with the Hellman Family Foundation in the Bay Area News Project, a non-profit online news operation dedicated to providing greater public interest journalism to Bay Area communities.

Neil Henry's alumni profile appears in recent issue of the Columbia Journalism School - Winter 2010.

Prof. Henry's CV can be found here. (PDF format)


Pearl's Secret: A Black Man's Search for His White Family
Pearl's Secret:  A Black Man's Search for His White Family

Pearl's Secret is a remarkable autobiography and family story that combines elements of history, investigative reporting, and personal narrative in a riveting, true-to-life mystery.

American Carnival: Journalism under Siege in an Age of New Media
American Carnival:  Journalism under Siege in an Age of New Media

American Carnival confronts the crisis facing professional journalism in this era of rapid technological transformation. American Carnival combines elements of memoir with extensive media research to explore critical contemporary issues ranging from reporting on the Iraq War, to American race relations, to the exploitation of the image of journalism by advertisers and politicians.

Published Stories & Highlights:

Students Leading Way For News Industry
San Francisco Chronicle

Dean Neil Henry published an Op-Ed article in the San Francisco Chronicle extolling student work in digital media, in tribute to the Class of 2009.

Young Berkeley Scientist Saves Lives in Darfur
Smithsonian Magazine

Neil Henry writes in Smithsonian Magazine about Christina Galitsky, a young Lawrence Berkeley Labs scientist whose cook stove innovation is saving the lives of women and children in Darfur.

Students Investigating Public Records
Editor and Publisher

Berkeley grad students are conducting key public records research as part of an unprecedented Bay Area journalistic collaboration probing the August 2 murder of local editor Chauncey Bailey. Read about the project at Editor and Publisher.

Neil Henry on New Media
San Francisco Chronicle

Professor and Interim Dean Neil Henry has provided commentaries most recently for the San Francisco Chronicle and Marketplace Radio. His latest book, American Carnival: Journalism Under Siege in an Age of New Media, was published in May, and recently reviewed in the New York Review of Books.

Berkeley Singer Blends Opera, Blues, and Spirituals
Berkeley Daily Planet

For the Berkeley Daily Planet Sonia Narang, class of 2008, profiles singer Candace Johnson, a Berkeley postdoctoral fellow whose remarkable repertoire combines elements of Mozart infused with the passion of Mahalia Jackson.

Controversy over Yahoo Money
San Francisco Chronicle

First year students Cynthia Dizikes and Zachary Stauffer report in the San Francisco Chronicle on a debate among journalists around the world over a $1 million gift by Yahoo Inc. to a prestigious fellowship for journalists at Stanford University.

Neil Henry on Barry Bonds, The Algebra Project, and Journalism Education
San Francisco Chronicle, Smithsonian Magazine, the Quill Magazine

Prof. Henry has written most recently about slugger Barry Bonds in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Algebra Project of 1960s civil rights leader Bob Moses in Smithsonian Magazine, and journalism education in the Quill magazine of the Society of Professional Journalists.

9/11 -- Five Years Later
Oakland Tribune

First-year students in a news reporting class worked with the Oakland Tribune to produce a print and multimedia interview project. The project is also mirrored in this site's Projects section.

Launching a J-School in Ethiopia
Freedom Forum Online

For Freedom Forum Online, Professor Neil Henry writes about his involvement in launching a journalism school in Ethiopia.

Racial Fallout in the Newsroom
Nieman Reports

For Nieman Reports, Professor Neil Henry writes about the racial fallout in the newsroom from the Jayson Blair affair.

To My Former Students: How Race Works
The Chronicle of Higher Education

For The Chronicle of Higher Education, Professor Neil Henry writes an open letter to his black former students about the Jayson Blair/New York Times scandal.

Riot and Remembrance: The Tulsa Race War and Its Legacy
Mother Jones

For Mother Jones, Professor Neil Henry reviews a book covering the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot.

Letter From South Africa
Graduate School of Journalism

For the Graduate School of Journalism, Professor Neil Henry describes an international reporting course that began as an exciting but academic study of South African society and issues related to the coming elections but that has become, three months later, a priceless and incomparable exercise in on-the-ground journalistic training.