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, the Associated Press, and Robert F. Kennedy Memorial for his reporting and writing. A five-time nominee for the Pulitzer Prize for his work at the Post, 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 $2 million endowed chairs under the Hewlett Challenge and hastening the School’s curricular transition to incorporate digital skills training. Dean Henry launched an award winning digital news initiative originally funded under a $500,000 grant by the Ford Foundation in which Journalism School students in the program’s core news reporting classes are producing local news content for neglected Bay Area communities. The digital sites include OaklandNorth, Richmond 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 New York Times and 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.
Before retiring from the University in 2016, Professor Henry worked as the director of the Oral History Center of the Bancroft Library.
A graduate in Politics from Princeton University, he earned his Master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.