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Deborah Douglas

Deborah Douglas


Senior Lecturer and Director of Midwest Solutions Journalism Hub

Phone:312-503-7624Office: Medill Chicago
Deborah D. Douglas is director of the newly created Midwest Solutions Journalism Hub at Northwestern University and a senior lecturer. She is a founding co-editor in chief of The Emancipator, an award-winning digital platform that reimagines early abolitionist newspapers, where she now serves on the advisory board.

Douglas previously served as the Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor at DePauw University, senior leader with The OpEd Project, amplifying underrepresented expert voices, and founding managing editor of MLK50: Justice Through Journalism. Her fellowships include the Sulzberger Executive Leadership Fellowship at Columbia University and the Complicating the Narrative Fellowship by the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN). She is accredited by SJN as a solutions journalism trainer.

Douglas is author of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail: A Traveler’s Guide to the People, Places, and Events That Made the Movement, the first-ever travel guide to follow the official civil rights trail in the South, and a contributor to New York Times bestselling Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019. Among her many recognitions, she received Chicago’s prestigious Studs Terkel Award and the Society of American Travel Writers 2021 Guidebook of the Year. Under her leadership, The Emancipator clinched several awards: Edward R. Murrow, two Tellys, two Society of News Design recognitions, a Shorty, and an NABJ recognition for coverage of closing the racial wealth gap.

While teaching at Northwestern University, she spearheaded a graduate investigative journalism capstone on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and taught best practices in Karachi, Pakistan. Douglas’ adventures in thought leadership were seeded at the Chicago Sun-Times where she served as Deputy Editorial Page Editor/Columnist among other roles, such as Deputy Features Editor and Library and Information Systems Director.

In her capacity at The OpEd Project, Douglas has shepherded scores of expert voices into the thought-leadership spotlight. She’s helmed fellowships at universities, think tanks, and community organizations. Among them include Public Voices Fellowships at Northwestern University, Yale University, Dartmouth College, University of Texas at Austin, the Ms. Foundation and Urgent Action Fund (Kenya and South Africa). The synergies she has found in coaching academics, analysts and activists informs the quality of her journalism.

Douglas’ reporting and opinions have been published widely, including The Guardian, Washington Post, Conde Nast Traveler, Afar magazine, Ms. magazine, ProPublica, Time, The Boston Globe, American Prospect, Columbia Journalism Review, VICE News, USA Today and O, The Oprah Magazine.

A thought-leader in her own right, Douglas’ work has been widely covered, including in the Washington Post, NPR, Associated Press, WBUR, WGBH, WBEZ, NewsNation and beyond. She presented at the inaugural Obama Summit, and is an industry go-to on local media, journalism and inclusion. In 2016, her reporting on Black women and erasure was cited by The New York Times magazine. A product of the Great Migration, Deborah D. Douglas is Northern-born and Southern-rooted.