John Hockenberry

John Charles Hockenberry (born June 4, 1956) is an American journalist and author. He has reported from all over the world, on a wide variety of stories in several mediums for more than three decades. He has written dozens of magazine and newspaper articles, a play, and two books, including the bestselling memoir Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of Independence, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the novel A River Out Of Eden.[1] He has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, Wired, The Columbia Journalism Review, Metropolis, The Washington Post, and Harper's Magazine.

John Hockenberry
John Hockenberry at New America NYC (Dis)Honesty - The Truth About Lies (19962005979) (cropped).jpg
John Hockenberry in 2015
John Charles Hockenberry

(1956-06-04) June 4, 1956 (age 66)
Dayton, Ohio, United States
EducationStudied math at University of Chicago
Studied music at University of Oregon
Occupation(s)Radio and television journalist, author
Years active1980–present
Notable credit(s)HEAT with John Hockenberry, Talk of the Nation, ABC News, Dateline NBC, The Infinite Mind, Edgewise, Hockenberry, The Takeaway
Spouse(s)Chris Todd (19??–1984)
Alison Craiglow (1995–2017)

Hockenberry has appeared as a presenter or moderator at many design and idea conferences around the world including the TED conference, the World Science Festival in New York and in Brisbane, the Mayo Clinic's Transform Symposium, and the Aspen Comedy Festival. He has been a Distinguished Fellow at the MIT Media Lab and serves on the White House Fellows Committee.

He is a prominent figure in the disability rights movement; Hockenberry sustained a spinal cord injury in a car crash at age 19, which left him with paraplegia from the chest down.

In late 2017, several colleagues accused Hockenberry of harassment, unwanted touching and bullying.[2][3][4]


Early lifeEdit

Hockenberry was born in Dayton, Ohio,[5] and grew up in Vestal, New York and Michigan. He graduated in 1974 from East Grand Rapids High School in East Grand Rapids, Michigan.[6] In 1976, he was paralyzed while hitchhiking on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.[7] The driver of the car fell asleep and crashed, killing herself. Hockenberry's spinal cord was damaged, and he remains paralyzed without sensation or voluntary movement from the mid-chest down. At the time he was a mathematics major at the University of Chicago,[8] but after his spinal cord injury, he transferred to the University of Oregon in 1980 and studied harpsichord and piano.[9]

Journalism careerEdit

Hockenberry started his career as a volunteer for the National Public Radio affiliate KLCC in Eugene, Oregon.[10] In 1981, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he was a newscaster.[11] From 1989 to 1990 he hosted a two-hour nightly news show called HEAT with John Hockenberry. During his 15 years with NPR, he covered many areas of the world, including an assignment as a Middle East correspondent, reporting on the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and 1992. Beginning in November 1991 he served as the first host of NPR's Talk of the Nation.[12]

After leaving NPR in 1992,[13] Hockenberry also worked for ABC News series Day One from 1993 to 1995, covering the civil war in Somalia and the early days of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, before joining Dateline NBC as a correspondent in 1996.

Hockenberry in 2012
External video
  Booknotes interview with Hockenberry on Moving Violations, July 30, 1995, C-SPAN

In 1995, Hockenberry published his memoir Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs and Declarations of Independence. In 1996 he appeared off-Broadway in his one-man autobiographical play, Spoke Man.[14] From 1996 to 1997 he hosted Edgewise, an eclectic news magazine program that aired on MSNBC.[15]

In 1999, he hosted Hockenberry, a show which aired on MSNBC for 6 months.[16] He reported on the Kosovo War in 1999. His weekly radio commentaries aired on the nationally broadcast public radio program The Infinite Mind from 1998 to 2008. He also served as host on The DNA Files for the series airing in 1998, 2001, and 2007. He began developing The Takeaway in 2007 and hosted the show from its 2008 premiere until August 2017.[17]

Hockenberry has narrated several nonfiction projects on healthcare, including Nova series Survivor M.D.: Hearts & Minds, Who Cares: Chronic Illness in America,[18] Remaking American Medicine.[19] He also narrated the eugenics documentary, War Against the Weak.[citation needed]

He has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, I.D., Wired,[20] The Columbia Journalism Review, Details, and The Washington Post. He published his first novel, A River Out of Eden, in 2002, and he has written about "The Blogs of War" in Wired magazine. In May 2006, he began writing his own blog, "The Blogenberry".[21]

On April 2, 2008, he hosted the premiere of the series Nanotechnology: The Power of Small, discussing the impact of nanotechnology as concerns the general public.[22]

Hockenberry has appeared as presenter and moderator at numerous design and idea conferences around the nation including the Aspen Design Summit, The TED conference, the World Science Festival, and the Aspen Comedy Festival. He also regularly speaks on media, journalism, and disability issues. He was one of the founding inductees to the Spinal Cord Injury Hall of Fame in 2005.[citation needed]

In a New York Magazine exposé, published December 1, 2017, journalist Suki Kim accused Hockenberry of sexually harassing her and other women he had worked with on The Takeaway.[23]

Media criticismEdit

In 2005 he wrote a scathing review of the Academy Award-winning film Million Dollar Baby called "And the Loser Is..."[24] The review was submitted to a disability website with the title "Million Dollar Bigot" as an exclusive feature. The essay was discussed in news articles globally, and Hockenberry was interviewed about it on FAIR's weekly news show Counterspin.[25] A short documentary film was made, also called Million Dollar Bigot, completed on July 13, 2005, featuring Hockenberry as well as many other disability activists.[26]

Hockenberry wrote in the January 2008 Technology Review magazine that on the Sunday after the September 11 attacks he was pitching stories on the origins of al Qaeda and Islamic fundamentalism.[27] He wrote that then-NBC programming chief Jeff Zucker, who came into a meeting Hockenberry was having with Dateline executive producer David Corvo, said Dateline should instead focus on the firefighters and perhaps ride along with them à la COPS, a Fox reality series. According to Hockenberry, Zucker said "that he had no time for any subtitled interviews with jihadists raging about Palestine." Hockenberry has further claimed that General Electric, NBC's parent company, discouraged him from talking to the Bin Laden family about their estranged family member. Hockenberry says that he asked GE, which does business with the Bin Laden family company, to help him get in contact with them. Instead, a PR executive called Hockenberry's hotel room in Saudi Arabia and read him a statement about how GE didn't see its "valuable business relationship" with the Bin Laden Group as having anything to do with Dateline. In another instance, Hockenberry claimed a story he did about a Weather Underground member would not appear on the Sunday edition of Dateline unless the 1960s family drama American Dreams, which followed Dateline in the schedule at the time, did a show about "protesters or something."[28]

Personal lifeEdit

Hockenberry is divorced from Alison Craiglow, whom he married in 1995.[29] They have five children, including two sets of twins: Zoe, Olivia, Regan, Zachary, and Ajax.

Hockenberry was previously married to Chris Todd. The couple had no children, and divorced in 1984.[30]

Sexual harassment allegationsEdit

In December 2017, author Suki Kim accused Hockenberry of sexual harassment, stating that he had sent suggestive emails and made unwanted sexual advances to her and other women.[31] He had left New York Public Radio the previous August, but NYPR president and chief executive Laura Ruth Walker said, "[H]e was not terminated for sexual misconduct.”[32] In a lengthy essay titled "Exile" that was published in the October 2018 issue of Harper's, Hockenberry discussed his "personal and public shame" regarding the episode.[33]


  • Hockenberry, John (1995). Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs and Declarations of Independence. Hyperion. ISBN 978-0786881628.
  • Hockenberry, John (2002). A River Out of Eden. Anchor, ISBN 978-0385721509.
  • Hockenberry, John (October 23, 2012). Frontline episode Climate of Doubt on climate change denial and the climate change controversy


  1. ^ Richards, Linda L. (June 2001). Interview: John Hockenberry. January Magazine
  2. ^ "#MeToo Hits Home: John Hockenberry Accused of Harassment, Bullying". WNYC. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
  3. ^ Chokshi, Niraj (December 4, 2017). "John Hockenberry, Former WNYC Radio Host, Is Accused of Sexual Harassment". The New York Times. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
  4. ^ Udoji, Adaora (December 6, 2017). "I was a co-host with John Hockenberry on WNYC. The experience was scarring". The Guardian.
  5. ^ Hockenberry, John (April 18, 2007). Lessons from Jack Hockenberry. Metropolis
  6. ^ Martinez, Shandra (November 07, 2010). East Grand Rapids High graduate and award-winning journalist John Hockenberry speaks at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.
  7. ^ Price, Nelson (September 14, 1995). John Hockenberry's jobs with NPR have allowed him to see the world on wheels. Indianapolis Star
  8. ^ Cawley, Janet (February 28, 1993). Globetrotting in a wheelchair: No challenge can stop ABC's Hockenberry. Chicago Tribune
  9. ^ Lipton, Michael A. (June 6, 1994). Man in the Driver's Seat. People
  10. ^ Roberts, Roxanne (July 23, 1992). Correspondent on Wheels; NPR's John Hockenberry, Moving to ABC. Washington Post
  11. ^ Murray, Michael D. (1999). Encyclopedia of Television News, pp. 98-99. Greenwood Publishing Group; ISBN 978-1-57356-108-2
  12. ^ Cooke, Anne Marie; Reisner, Neil H. (December 1991). The Last Minority. American Journalism Review
  13. ^ Cox, Ana Marie (May 1999). John Hockenberry. Mother Jones, pp. 40-43.
  14. ^ Mandell, Jonathan (March 3, 1996). ON A ROLL?/It may be hip to be 'crip' on stage and film, but try getting a wheel in the door, Newsday; accessed January 2, 2018.
  15. ^ Heffernan, Virginia (August 1997). Anatomy of a cancellation: how MSNBC's Edgewise went over the edge Archived 2005-06-22 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed January 2, 2018.
  16. ^ Kurtz, Howard (July 8, 1999). MSNBC Drops 'Hockenberry' Talk Show; Award-Winning Journalist to Return to 'Dateline NBC' Full Time After Only Six Months, Washington Post; accessed January 2, 2018.
  17. ^ Simon, Clea (October 11, 2007). The Takeaway host will step-down from his show-hosting duties at weeks end in August 2017 (8/7/17)."Public radio's new morning show set to go", Boston Globe; accessed January 2, 2018.
  18. ^ Who Cares: Chronic Illness in America via PBS
  19. ^ "RAM Host - John Hockenberry". Retrieved December 5, 2017.
  20. ^ Hockenberry, John (August 2001.) The Next Brainiacs. Wired
  21. ^ Van Til, Reinder; Olson Gordon L. (2007). Thin ice: coming of age in Grand Rapids. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing; ISBN 978-0-8028-2478-3
  22. ^ Press release (March 10, 2008). New Nanotechnology Television Series Does "Sweat the Small Stuff", Nanotechnology Now (via; accessed January 2, 2018.
  23. ^ "Ex-Radio Host John Hockenberry Accused of Sexual Harassment by Multiple Former Employees". The Hollywood Reporter. December 2, 2017. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
  24. ^ Hockenberry, John (2005). "And the Loser Is..." via Not Dead Yet. [1].
  25. ^ Jackson, Janine; Randall, Steve (March 4, 2005). John Hockenberry on Million Dollar Baby, Dahr Jamail on Iraq. Counterspin
  26. ^ Detweiler, Craig (2008). Into the dark: seeing the sacred in the top films of the 21st century. Baker Academic, ISBN 978-0-8010-3592-0
  27. ^ Hockenberry, John (January/February 2008). You Don't Understand Our Audience: What I learned about network television at Dateline NBC. Technology Review
  28. ^ Gough, Paul J. (January 2, 2008). "Former "Dateline" reporter blasts NBC". The Hollywood Reporter.
  29. ^ Staff report (October 22, 1995). WEDDINGS; Alison Craiglow, John Hockenberry. The New York Times
  30. ^ Lipton, Michael A. (June 6, 1994). "Man in the Driver's Seat". People (magazine). Archived from the original on December 13, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  31. ^ Kim, Suki (December 1, 2017). "Public-Radio Icon John Hockenberry Accused of Harassing Female Colleagues". The Cut. New York Magazine. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  32. ^ Hockenberry wasn’t terminated for sex misconduct: NYPR chief, New York Post. 5 December 2017.
  33. ^ Exile Harpers. Retrieved 21 September 2018.

External linksEdit