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John Temple

01: July 2009

I am managing editor at the Washington Post.


Previously, I was the editor of Civil Beat, a start-up news service in Honolulu launched by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.


I was the last editor, president and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News. I also was the VP News of the newspaper division of the E.W. Scripps Co. before it closed the Rocky at the end of February 2009. After the paper closed, I started a blog, Temple Talk, (still up today) and wrote, spoke and consulted on journalism issues.


I am a native of Vancouver, B.C., where my parents immigrated from Central Europe after WW II. I have a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Toronto, where I studied architecture before deciding to become a journalist. Nobody would hire me as a reporter during an earlier bad recession (even a bilingual Inuit/English weekly housed in a trailer in the Canadian arctic), so I got a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, which a few years ago inducted me into its Hall of Achievement.


The Medill experience changed everything. After an internship at the Kalamazoo Gazette (first assignment, take a photo of a plane crash), I went to work as a reporter at The Albuquerque Tribune and loved it. But less than four years later, after a stint as the national environmental reporter at the Toronto Star, Canada's largest newspaper, I became the Trib's city editor. I've worked as an editor ever since. I joined the Rocky in 1992 as metro editor and in 1995 was named managing editor. In 1998 at the height of the newspaper war, I became the paper's editor and led it through events including Columbine, 9/11, two Super Bowls, two Stanley Cups, a summer of raging forest fires, etc. After the joint operating agreement with The Denver Post went into effect in January of 2001, I became the top Scripps executive in Denver, with the publisher and president titles added. I took on a corporate role in 2006. During my tenure at the Rocky, the paper won its first four Pulitzer Prizes and numerous other national awards. As editor, I wrote a weekly column for eight years and a blog for four. I was the Rocky's first blogger.


I was lucky that I didn't go into journalism right away. My delayed start gave me perspective and experience that I couldn't have got otherwise. I was lucky to be able to earn enough money to enable me to travel twice for lengthy periods. Studying architecture was great preparation for editing because there's a whole way of working through a problem and synthesizing the contributions of team members in architecture that lends itself to good journalism. It also meant that I never saw myself as a "word person," although I love to write. That was the passion that brought me to newspapers in the first place.


I worked extensively online before joining Civil Beat. My main involvement was with RockyMountainNews.com, where we produced a multimedia presentation, A Dream Fulfilled, with MediaStorm on the Democratic Party's nomination of Barack Obama for president at the 2008 convention in Denver. I also founded YourHub.com in 2005. At that time, it was the largest "citizen journalism" initiative by a major American newspaper. In 2008, I created and launched RedBlueAmerica.com, a short-lived national web site funded by Scripps to attempt to bridge the gap between people on either side of the cultural divide.


I am married to the artist Judith Cohn and have three grown children.


John participated in the July 2009 MediaStorm Methodology Workshop. He had the following to say about his experience:


The methodology workshop gave me time to stop and step into a different way of seeing journalism. I came away inspired by what's possible if we commit to a different way of thinking about stories.

At last, at last, a dream fulfilled for Rocky Mountain News

Forty-five years after Martin Luther King called on America to live out the true meaning of its creed - that all men are created equal - a senator from Illinois becomes the first African-American nominee of a major political party.