Skip to main content
Jack Doppelt

Jack Doppelt

Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Professor of Journalism

Jack Doppelt is the Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Professor of Journalism at Medill and principal investigator of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation-funded project on social justice reporting in Chicago called Social Justice News Nexus. He is also publisher of Immigrant Connect, an online storytelling network for immigrants, their families and communities in and around Chicago, as well as a faculty associate at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research. He has served as a Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence at Northwestern and as an Open Society Fellow, working with Al-Quds University in the West Bank to develop its journalism program.

He has also served as both acting dean and associate dean and as director of the Medill global journalism program for 11 years from its inception in 1996 until 2007. He has taught during winter quarters at NU-Q in Doha, Qatar and in 2006-2007, he served as visiting professor at Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) in France.

Doppelt clerked for Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas J. Moran before becoming an investigative reporter and news producer. As an investigative journalist for the Better Government Association and WBBM-Newsradio in Chicago, he broke stories on court corruption, housing dangers and governmental conflicts of interest.

His expertise is media law and ethics, the reporting of legal and immigrant affairs, and the emerging tenets of social justice journalism.

He has written recently on several topics in the news (see Authored Works).

As part of the ongoing Immigrant Connect project, he articulated A Social Justice Journalism Approach to Immigrant and Refugee Issues. He has also co-produced, written and voiced a half-hour radio documentary – “Chicago’s Global Immigrants: Beyond the American Dream” - that aired on WBEZ–Chicago Public Radio on Dec. 15, 2009 as part of its Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham series. He has also written stories about refugee life in Namibia’s Osire camp, including Refugees: Sand in a jar; Going back home: The split in Osire’s future; To the young and talented: There are only two things involved; Gabriel Yuma: Dreaming of emerging from the grave to life; Hendricks Kabemba: Translator, poet, stuck after high school; Permit problems…resolved; and 20 Northwestern Students Report from Refugee Camps in Jordan, Malawi and Namibia.

He has argued in favor of a federal shield law and against the misuse of protective orders and his piece for American Prospect Online, "Say It Loud," argued in anticipation of the confirmation hearings for John Roberts that even Justice Scalia thought that judicial candidates should talk about their beliefs. During Election 2000, he did a series of pieces about the non-voting phenomenon: "Quorum Call," "A Whisper Among the Disenfranchised," "Nader, Nonvoters and the Prism of Cynicism" and "The Summer's Convention Noise."

As editor and publisher of On The Docket, he ran a student-driven site that offered the web's only comprehensive coverage of all pending U.S. Supreme Court cases. Doppelt has published numerous articles on libel, the media's influence on the criminal justice system and media coverage of the legal system, including the drug trial of former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega and a report for the Inspector General of the Department of Children and Family Services on "Confidentiality, the News Media and the Joseph Wallace Case."

He has represented a group of journalists before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in a successful attempt to gain access to sealed court documents, and has consulted as an expert witness on media practices in a number of legal cases, including Jeffrey Masson v. New Yorker Magazine and Janet Malcolm. He has been a talk show host on WBEZ-FM, Chicago's public radio station, co-hosting a nine-part series on race relations that was simulcast on WBEZ-FM and WVON-AM, and coordinated a conference on "Guilt by Allegation: Lessons from the Cardinal Bernardin Case."

He and his wife, Margie Schaps, have two children, Sylvie and Noah, who are young adults now living again in Chicago.

Authored Works

  • Co-author of Nonvoters: America’s No Shows, about why people don’t vote
  • Co-author of The Journalism of Outrage: Investigative Reporting and Agenda Building in America, a book on investigative reporting and its influence on public policy
  • “America’s new credo – A Nation of Enough Immigrants – is test marketed at the Parkland school killings,” Social Justice News Nexus, March 8, 2018
  • “If Trump Makes It One Year Without Impeachment, Then Let’s Talk Supreme Court Nominees: For the sake of our judiciary—and democracy—Congress should slow down and consider a one-year presidential probation,” Yes! Magazine, Feb. 10, 2017


Doppelt is a graduate of Grinnell College and the University of Chicago Law School.