William J. Drummond’s career includes stints at The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, where he covered the civil rights movement, and the Los Angeles Times, where he was a local reporter, then bureau chief in New Delhi and Jerusalem and later a Washington correspondent. Drummond was appointed a White House Fellow in 1976 by President Gerald R. Ford, worked briefly for Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and eventually became associate press secretary to President Jimmy Carter. In 1977 he joined NPR and became the founding editor of Morning Edition. He joined the Berkeley faculty in July, 1983.
In addition to teaching students at UC Berkeley, Drummond twice taught an introductory journalism course pro bono under auspices of the Prison University Project for dozens of inmates at San Quentin Prison in the Summer of 2012 and the Fall 2014 Semester.
His most significant recent contribution to journalism came through the partnership he established with the San Quentin News beginning in the summer of 2012. His work with the San Quentin News brought new national and international exposure to California’s worsening incarceration problem. His efforts brought recognition from Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, who gave Drummond a public service award for 2015.
The San Quentin News has been featured prominently in news stories from coast to coast, and around the world. Prof. Drummond’s own teaching efforts were the subject of a page-one story in the Los Angeles Times and the Daily Mail, the most widely read newspaper website in the world. The numerous citations of his San Quentin work have kept the name of the UC Berkeley School of Journalism at the forefront of the burgeoning national discussion about incarceration policy.
Drummond has won numerous national awards for his work. The Northern California chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists gave San Quentin News its James Madison Freedom of Information Award, and the citation made specific mention of Drummond's contribution and that of UC Berkeley students. The Association of Opinion Journalists gave him the Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship in Journalism for his efforts on behalf of bringing underrepresented groups into journalism. As mentioned above, Chancellor Dirks honored Drummond with an Award for Public Service, recognizing his community-engaged scholarship, specifically for the San Quentin News project. Drummond has also been honored with a National Press Club Foundation Award, the Sidney Hillman Foundation Award for Journalism Excellence, and the Award for Outstanding Coverage of the Black Condition from the National Association of Black Journalists. And the White House Fellows Foundation named Drummond the winner of the 2015 John Gardner Legacy of Leadership Award. Previous recipients include Marsha Johnson Evans, President of the American Red Cross, UCLA Professor Fernando Torres-Gil, and retired General Wesley Clark. Here’s an excerpt from the 2015 White House Fellows citation:
John W. Gardner challenged all White House Fellows to commit to a lifetime of public service: to return to their communities after their Fellowship year and become agents of change and renewal, and to work to strengthen the White House Fellows Program. Bill Drummond has met John Gardner’s challenge. By any measure, Bill has lived all the values of the White House Fellows program. His life is one of great personal and professional achievement, leadership, and selfless service to community and country.
Drummond was selected by his peers on the Berkeley faculty to serve as Chair of the Academic Senate for two consecutive terms. He is the only person in the history of UC Berkeley to have had that distinction.
Besides prison policy, his research interest lies in incorporating stress-reduction techniques into journalism education. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He is a certified massage therapist and holds a private pilot’s license with an instrument rating.
- The prof and the cons (California Magazine - May 5, 2015)
- “I’m here because I took a life. When I leave I would love to save someone.” (Daily Mail Online - March 5, 2015)
- “Inmates writing their own obits reveal regrets, failed dreams.” (Los Angeles Times - March 4, 2015)
- Curious Case of the Prison Publishers (Narratively - Aug. 14, 2014)
- Inmates’ Newspaper Covers a World Behind San Quentin’s Walls (NY Times - May 20, 2014)
- Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle (PBS - April 15, 2014)
- San Quentin newspaper wins award while on suspension by prison. (AllGov website - Feb. 13, 2014)
- Big Bird and Fat Cats (San Francisco Chronicle - Oct. 14, 2012)
- UC Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau's Dilemma (San Francisco Chronicle - Dec. 1, 2011)
- Journalists At War (San Francisco Chronicle - April 27, 2011)
- The Plight of Public Radio (San Francisco Chronicle - March 20, 2011)
- California's Urban Forests in Desert Settings (Soundprint - May 25, 2006)
- Equipping Journalists with Tools for Emotional Balance (Nieman Reports - July 1, 2004)
- Crime Reporting: A History (Encyclopedia of International Media and Communication - July 1, 2003)
- The Haves and Have Nots (Marketplace Radio - May 21, 2003)
- Arc of Crisis (SoundPrint Radio - Sept. 1, 2002)
- Classroom Cool (SoundPrint Radio - Sept. 1, 2002)
- What We Teach (Graduate School of Journalism - May 1, 1999)
- NPR: To rouse its news reporting from a mid-life malaise (Current - Feb. 15, 1993)
- Blacks And The News Media (American Enterprise - July 1, 1990)
- Arafat's Press Agents (The Harpers Monthly - March 1, 1976)
- Ruben Salazar: Death of a man in the Middle (Esquire - March 1, 1972)
- Blue Denim Jungle: Prison Race Trouble (Los Angeles Times - Aug. 9, 1970)
- War And Peace In The Urban Villages (Los Angeles Times - Feb. 15, 1970)
- The Male Colony: Homosexuals find new sense of security (Los Angeles Times - March 24, 1969)
- Eldridge Cleaver: A Black Militant Forged by Life (Los Angeles Times - Nov. 29, 1968)
- Dr. Martin Luther King At The Crossroads (Louisville Courier Journal - Aug. 1, 1967)
- King's SCLC to Take Aim At The North (The Louisville Courier-Journal - March 31, 1967)