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Honorary Ph.D., Humane Letters, Lakeland College, 2006

Certificate, Media Fellow, Duke University, 2002

Certificate, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, 2000

M.J., Journalism, Class Orator, University of California at Berkeley, 1995

B.S., Journalism, Summa Cum Laude, Southern Illinois University, 1992


Academic Experience:

Associate Professor, Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, September 2011 to present

Tenured professor in the Communication Department at the largest media arts college in the United States. Teach international reporting, advanced local reporting and social and digital storytelling. Oversee the Photojournalism major and service as advisor to the Student Veterans Organization. 


Visiting Scholar, International University of Rabat, Rabat, Morocco, August 2017 to November 2017

Appointed to the Media Studies Program at one of the top universities in the country. Coordinated an exhibit of Moroccan feminist art, participated in curriculum discussion in the political science department, advised students working for the school newspaper and delivered a lecture on foreign reporting in Morocco. 


U.S. Fulbright Scholar, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman, September 2010 to June 2011

Research and teaching scholar in mass communications at largest public university in the Sultanate of Oman. Taught multimedia journalism and developed the country’s first independent student newspaper.


Director of Media Relations, Faculty Adviser, The American University of Iraq--Sulaimani, Iraq, December 2009 to 2010

Developed the AUI-S Voice, Iraq's first independent university newspaper, with an award-winning multimedia Web site. Served as faculty adviser to the student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and started the AUI-S Voice Radio. Reported directly to the chancellor of the university and managed both U.S. and international press relations.


Lecturer, School of Continuing Studies, Georgetown University, Spring 2008

Developed and taught graduate-level course on international reporting.



Spinner, J. (2006) Tell Them I Didn’t Cry. New York, New York: Scribner


Selection of articles related to the profession of journalism:


Spinner, J. (2018, April 10). Editorial pages in ‘Trump Country’ respond to demand for new columnists. Retrieved from Columbia Journalism Review,


Spinner, J. (2018, March 7). Fifty years after Chicago ‘riot,’ new photos emerge—and develop a story. Retrieved from Columbia Journalism Review,


Spinner, J. (2018, January 4). Lens of an Insider: Photographer defies media portrait of Chicago neighborhood. Retrieved from Columbia Journalism Review,


Spinner, J. (2018, January 2). How Morocco has weakened its press, pushing readers to social media for news. Retrieved from Christian Science Monitor,


Spinner, J. (2017, August 3). Public editors disappear as media distrust grows. Retrieved from Columbia Journalism Review,


Spinner, J. (2017, May 10). ‘Another day, another shooting’: Photographing Chicago’s violence. Retrieved from Columbia Journalism Review,


Spinner, J. (2017, March  8). How the Indy Star navigated a public records minefield to break its Pence email story. Retrieved from Columbia Journalism Review,


Spinner, J. (2016, December 8). Teaching journalism after election tricky endeavor. Retrieved from Columbia Journalism Review,


Spinner, J. (2016, November 21). In Trump territory, local press tries to distance itself from national media. Retrieved from Columbia Journalism Review,


Spinner, J. (2016, April 29). In Chicago, two brothers are using Instagram to engage new audiences for investigative reporting. Retrieved from Columbia Journalism Review, 


Spinner, J. (2015, December 28). On the ‘Digital Frontline,’ Social Media Reporters and Editors Exposed to Vicarious Trauma. Retrieved from Columbia Journalism Review,


Spinner, J. (2015, October 13). How Journalists Are Using Social Media Monitoring to Support Local News Coverage. Retrieved from Columbia Journalism Review,


Spinner, J. (2015, April 9). Freelance Journalists Cover Global Hotspots. Retrieved from Gateway Journalism Review,


Spinner, J. (2015, March 24). How Chicago’s Press Corps Is Dealing with ‘Washington Rahm.’ Retrieved from Columbia Journalism Review,


Spinner, J. (2014, November 18). Freelance War Photographers On Their Own in Danger Zones. Retrieved from American Journalism Review,


Spinner, J. (2014, September 24). The Big Conundrum: Should Journalists Learn Code? Retrieved from American Journalism Review,


Spinner, J. (2014, September 12). The Careful Considerations Behind Covering ISIS Beheading Videos. Retrieved from American Journalism Review,


Spinner, J. (2013, December 4). Identity Crisis in Photojournalism. Retrieved from American Journalism Review,


Spinner, J. (2013, April 10). Launching a Startup in Iraq. Retrieved from American Journalism Review,


Spinner, J. (2013, April 3). End of an Era. Retrieved from American Journalism Review,



Professional Experience:

Correspondent, Columbia Journalism Review, February 2015 to April 2018.

Chicago-based correspondent and media critic covering local journalism in Illinois and Indiana.


The Washington Post, June 1995 to February 2009.

Started at the Post as an intern on the Financial Desk, writing general business stories. I was hired full-time following the internship and worked in the Southern Maryland bureau as a general assignment reporter responsible for three counties. I spent a year on special assignment in 1996 covering the Army’s sexual abuse scandal involving drill sergeants and their recruits. This resulted in a three-month position writing for the Post’s Sunday Magazine. I subsequently moved to the top political reporting job in Prince George’s County. I moved to the Financial Staff in 2000 to write about commercial real estate and development. After Sept. 11, 2001, I was charged with following the insurance industry, particularly legislative initiatives dealing with rising commercial costs. I then covered the Securities and Exchange Commission, and as the Enron and Arthur-Anderson scandal broke, I became the newspaper’s expert on special purpose entities and obscure financial instruments. I was responsible for covering the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. After the war with Iraq began in March 2003, I began focusing on reconstruction, tracing the paper and money trail of the huge private-sector contracts, including Halliburton-based subsidiary KBR. In January 2004, I traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan as part of that assignment. When I returned, I helped break the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal for the Post and was dispatched to Iraq to covering the military courts-martial. I stayed 10 months during my first tour, culminating in a position as the bureau’s chief. I returned in September 2005 to cover the trial of former president Saddam Hussein. Upon returning home, I became a general assignment reporter on the Metro staff.


The Oakland Tribune, Oakland, Calif., 1993-1995

Part-time reporter covering the city of Albany and Ladbroke Racing Corp while a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley.


The San Diego Union-Tribune, 1994, Summer Internship

Assigned to the Features Staff to write about youth culture, music and general news. Wrote series based on a month of reporting from the perspective of two young teenagers about what it was like to be young and black in urban America.



Grant recipient, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, 2017

Grant recipient, Columbia College Chicago, 2017

Best Practices in Teaching, “Globalizing the Classroom,” AEJMC, Hon. Mention, 2014

Hall of Fame, Daily Egyptian, Southern Illinois University, 2014

Fishback Visiting Scholar, Washington and Lee University, 2012

Inspiring Woman Alumni Achievement Award, Southern Illinois University, 2008

Alumni Achievement Award, Southern Illinois University, 2005

Distinguished International Reporting, Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, 2005

Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association, Honors, Investigative Reporting, 1996


Membership in Professional Organizations:

Society of Professional Journalists, 1988 to Present

Journalism and Women Symposium, 1995 to Present

Illinois Press Photographers Association, 2014 to present

Online News Association, 2015 to present

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