Harrington, Walter G. (1950-) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Harrington, Walter G. (1950-)

Historical Note:

Walter G. Harrington (1950-) is Emeritus Professor of Journalism in the College of Media at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining the UIUC faculty, Professor Harrington was a nationally recognized journalist at the Washington Post Magazine where he specialized in long-form, literary journalism - a field of journalism he helped develop through his writing and pedagogy. His articles include profiles of figures such as Spike Lee, Jerry Falwell, Joe Kennedy, and Rosa Parks, among others. He is also known for his articles of Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush. Professor Harrington has received numerous academic and professional awards including an honorary doctorate from Blackburn College (2007), a regional Emmy award for the PBS documentary film The Everlasting Stream, and the Gustavus Myers Award for the Study of Human Rights in the U.S. for his book Crossings. In addition to his professional and academic work, Professor Harrington also served in the administrative roles of Associate Chancellor (2005-2007), Interim Dean of the College of Media (2009-2010), and as Head of the Department of Journalism (2004-2009). He is the author or editor of nine books.

Walt Harrington was born in rural Illinois in 1950. After graduating from Crete-Monee High School in 1968, Harrington attended Blackburn College where he received his B.A. in Sociology and History in 1972. He then earned Masters degrees in Sociology and Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1974 and 1975, respectively. From 1975 to 1980, he worked as an investigative journalist or editor at a variety of regional newspapers, including The Illinois Observer (Springfield, IL.), The Guide (Harrisburg, PA), and The Morning Call (Allentown, PA). In 1981, Harrington moved to The Washington Post as an assistant editor. In 1983, he joined The Washington Post Magazine as an assistant editor and staff writer.

In 1996, Harrington joined the faculty of the College of Media as full Professor of Journalism where he has taught and published on investigative, literary, and personal journalism. He retired from UIUC in 2017.

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