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Remembering John McChesney

Jo Ann Wallace and John McChesney at the WYSO studio in the 1970s
WYSO Archives
Jo Ann Wallace and John McChesney at the WYSO studio in the 1970s

John E. McChesney (1940-2018) was News Director for WYSO in the 1970s. John taught literature at Antioch College (1968-74). He was a member of the Antioch Radical Studies Institute.

John spent nearly 30 years at NPR as an award-winning editor, correspondent and news executive. He established two of the news department’s fundamental operating elements, both the National and Foreign Desks, which have repeatedly won the highest professional honors in journalism. As an NPR correspondent John has covered environmental issues in Asia, technology in Silicon Valley, food and agriculture in the rural West, and national security, including multiple assignments to the war in Iraq.

He has worked in or directed coverage on every continent, with experience leading dozens of reporters working in scores of countries under a wide variety of conditions, including hostilities. Now he is returning to the region closest to his heart, the American West. His best hope is that while covering the hostilities afflicting the rural West, weapons stay in the holster.

In 1979, John McChesney joined National Public Radio, where he served as national editor and senior foreign editor. During the 1990s, McChesney reported on technology from Silicon Valley. Recently he has been reporting on the war in Iraq, mostly from the home front, although he has been embedded with several National Guard units in Iraq over the past two years. In 2005, he produced a major investigative piece on the only death to occur in the Abu Ghraib scandal. He has reported on National Guard training, equipment shortages, extended deployments, and the burden placed on families by long deployments. He has also reported on several major military trials of Navy Seals, Abu Ghraib Military Police, and U.S. Marines. Reared in Maine and Missouri, McChesney spent four years in the Air Force and then attended Southern Methodist University. He has a master’s in American Literature from Stanford University.

Click here to listen to John McChesney's 2007 story about his time at WYSO.

John McChesney at WYSO in the 1970s
Credit WYSO Archive
John McChesney at WYSO in the 1970s