NJC Speaker Bios
Douglas A. Blackmon is the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, and co-executive producer of the acclaimed PBS documentary of the same name. His is also a contributing editor at The Washington Post and chair and host of Forum, a public affairs program produced by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and aired on more than 100 PBS affiliates across the U.S.
Until joining the Washington Post in 2011, Blackmon was the longtime chief of The Wall Street Journal’s Atlanta bureau and the paper’s Senior National Correspondent. Overseeing coverage of 11 southeastern states for the Journal, he and his team of reporters were responsible for the Journal’s acclaimed coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the failed federal response after that disaster, the Journal’s investigation into the training and preparations of the 9/11 hijackers in Florida, immigration, poverty, politics and daily reporting on more than 2,500 corporations based in the region.
Blackmon has written extensively over the past 25 years about the American quandary of race–exploring the integration of schools during his childhood in a Mississippi Delta farm town, lost episodes of the Civil Rights movement, and, repeatedly, the dilemma of how a contemporary society should grapple with a troubled past. Many of his stories in The Wall Street Journal explored the interplay of wealth, corporate conduct, the American judicial system, and racial segregation. International assignments have included the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the reunification of East and West Germany, the Civil War in Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia, post apartheid South Africa and the international war crimes tribunal in the Hague. Political assignments have included the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2008, presidential campaigns of 1988, 2002, 2008, and 2012, the post presidency of Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton while governor of Arkansas in the 1980s.
Blackmon is also a co-founder and board member of two socially and ethnically diverse charter schools serving more than 600 students, including his own two children, in grades kindergarten through eight in the inner city of Atlanta.
Raised in Leland, Miss., Blackmon penned his first newspaper story for the weekly Leland Progress at the age of 12. He received his degree in English from Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. He lives in downtown Atlanta and Charlottesville, Va.
Lymari Morales is Gallup’s Editorial Director. Lymari leads Gallup’s efforts to publicly share the results of its worldwide research through Gallup’s website, reports, presentations, and other communications. Lymari also serves as Managing News Editor of Gallup.com, where she oversees all editorial content. She manages the site’s day-to-day content and overall strategy while also writing her own stories and maintaining a blog. She teaches writing workshops to Gallup associates, continuously elevating the quality of editorial content throughout the organization. Lymari has more than a decade of experience writing and producing news for live television and the Internet. Prior to joining Gallup, Lymari worked in various editorial roles at NBC News, MSNBC, MSNBC.com, and Fox News. Working as a writer, producer, and assignment editor, she executed all aspects of news coverage, from the field to the newsroom to the control room. She has covered a wide array of topics, both foreign and domestic, with a strong focus on politics and business. Lymari received a Bachelor degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University. She is an Adjunct Instructor at American University, where she teaches Writing for Communication.
David Schultz is a Hamline University professor in the School of Business and School of Law. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and teaches election law. Professor Schultz is a two time Fulbright Scholar and has taught widely across Europe. Is the the editor of the Journal of Public Affairs Education and also is on the editorial board for the Journal of Public Integrity the Election Law Journal, and Societal Studies in Lithuania. David is the author of more than 25 books and 90+ articles on various aspects of American politics, election law, and the media and politics, and he is regularly interviewed and quoted in the local, national, and international media on these subjects including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, the Economist, and National Public Radio.
Jon Sawyer is director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit organization that funds independent reporting with the intent of raising the standard of media coverage of global affairs. Sawyer became the center’s founding director after a 31-year career with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Sawyer was the Post-Dispatch Washington bureau chief from 1993 through 2005. He had been a member of the newspaper’s Washington bureau since 1980 and before that worked in St. Louis, first as an editorial writer and then as a staff reporter.
His assignments have taken him to some five dozen countries, with special projects ranging from southern Africa, Cuba and Haiti to Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and China. He reported from Bosnia at the time of the Dayton peace accords and from Israel and the West Bank just after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. After the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States Jon focused much of his reporting on the Middle East and predominantly Muslim countries.
He reported from Central Asia during the fall of 2001 and from Sudan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt during 2002. In 2003 he reported on a four-nation tour through the Middle East just before the Iraq war and toIran just after. He reported from Afghanistan in 2004. And from Beirut and England in 2005 as part of a project on Muslim communities in the United States and abroad. In early 2006 he reported from Sudan, including Darfur, for the Post-Dispatch and for the public-television program Foreign Exchange. Jon was selected three years in a row for the National Press Club’s award for best foreign reporting.
His work has been honored by the Overseas Press Club, the Inter-American Press Association and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Jon’s reporting on defense procurement contract abuses won the top investigative reporting prize among large newspapers from IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors). His reporting on the problems of nuclear waste disposal was honored by the Atomic Industrial Forum and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
He received a B.A. degree from Yale University in 1974, majoring in English literature and history, and during the 1978-79 academic year was an Alfred Sloan Fellow in Economics Journalism at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy. In the fall of 1992 he was a research fellow affiliated with the Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com, FP’s award-winning Web site, and commissions articles for the print magazine. He joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. A graduate of Yale University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, he has appeared on CNN, NPR, C-Span, WTOP, WNYC, and Al-Jazeera, among others. He speaks mangled Arabic and French.
Michael Wolraich is political blogger and author. He co-foundeddagblog.com, a political news and opinion website, and has contributed to CNN.com, Talking Points Memo, and AlterNet. His first book, Blowing Smoke (Da Capo, 2010), documents the growth of right-wing media from the 1970s to the Tea Parties. He is currently working on a new book, When the War Began (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), about Theodore Roosevelt and the rise of the Progressive movement.
Peter Onuf is the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor of History at the University of Virginia, Peter S. Onuf has written extensively on sectionalism, federalism, and political economy, with a particular emphasis on the political thought of Thomas Jefferson. Most recently, with his brother, political theorist Nicholas G. Onuf, he collaborated on Nations, Markets, and War: Modern History and the American Civil War (2006), a history of international law and order in the Atlantic states’ system during the Age of Revolutions and early nineteenth century, and a collection of his essays, The Mind of Thomas Jefferson (2007).
Kem Knapp Sawyer was born in New York (on St. Luke’s Place in Greenwich Village) and now lives in Washington, DC, with Jon (her husband) and Darcy (a puppy). She enjoys taking long walks, movies, reading (of course), travel, holidays, cooking for lots of people and cooking for just a few people. Most of all she likes spending time with her family — three daughters (one lives in Congo and two are close by), two sons-in-law, and five grandchildren (ages 6 months to seven).
Kem writes books for young people, as well as reviews and travel articles. (See the Dorling Kindersley (DK) Eyewitness Travel Guide to Washington if you’re planning to visit the nation’s capital! Highly recommended: “Three Guided Walks.”) Her feature stories have appeared in Cobblestone, Scholastic News, The Five Owls, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and the Washington Post.
Kem’s most recent books are Champion of Freedom: Nelson Mandela and Champion of Freedom: Mohandas Gandhi. On a recent trip to India Kem visited Gandhi’s ashram in Ahmedabad, his home in Mumbai, and the Birla house and gardens in Delhi where he spent his last days. The Birla house is now a memorial where people from all over the world come to learn about Gandhi’s philosophy of ahimsa (or the practice of non-violence).