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Joel Brinkley is the Lorey I. Lokey professor of journalism at Stanford University, a position he assumed in 2006 after a 23-year career with the New York Times. There he served as a reporter, editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent.
At Stanford, Brinkley writes a weekly op-ed column on foreign policy that appears in more than 50 newspapers and Web sites around the world. He is a native of Washington, D.C. and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Brinkley began his career with the Associated Press in Charlotte, N.C., in 1975 and then moved to the Richmond (Va.) News Leader, where he covered local and regional governments for three years. In 1977 he wrote a national series about the Ku Klux Klan and a new, little-known leader who seemed to be reviving it, named David Duke.
In 1978, he joined the staff of the Louisville Courier-Journal, where he served as a reporter, special projects writer and city editor. In fall 1979 he traveled to Cambodia to cover the fall of the Pol Pot regime and the resulting refuge crisis. For his stories, he won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1980. Twice in the following years he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting.
After joining the Times’ Washington bureau in the fall of 1983, Brinkley was sent to Beirut to cover the Marine barracks bombing that killed 241 Marines. In the following few years he covered the CIA and other intelligence agencies, international drug trafficking and the Contra war in Nicaragua, among other issues. He was the first to write, in 1985, that Oliver North was directing the Contra war.
Brinkley served as editor of the paper’s Iran-contra coverage in 1986 and was appointed White House correspondent late that year. In 1988 he was named chief of the Times bureau in Jerusalem, Israel, where he served for four years — through the first Palestinian uprising and the first Gulf War.
In 1991 he was named enterprise editor in the Washington bureau and supervised numerous projects and investigations. In 1995, he moved to New York where he served as political editor for three years. In 1998 he moved to the Business Desk to cover business and technology issues and then moved back to Washington to cover the two-year anti-trust trial against the Microsoft Corp.
From 2000 through 2004 he held a variety of reporting and editing positions, including national security editor in the Washington bureau following the Sept. 11 attacks and Washington bureau foreign editor. He also took on several extended foreign reporting assignments — in Thailand in 2001, Israel in 2002, Saudi Arabia in 2004. For several months in late 2003 he served as political writer in Baghdad. He also wrote frequently for the Times’ Sunday magazine, including five cover stories. He was a foreign policy-correspondent from 2004 to summer 2006, when he left the paper.
Over the past 30 years, Brinkley has worked in 46 states and more than 50 foreign countries. He has won more than a dozen national reporting and writing awards, including a George Polk Award for national reporting in 1995. He served as a director for the Fund for Investigative Journalism for five years, until 2006.
Brinkley is the author of three books and is at work on a fourth: "The Circus Master's Mission," a novel published by Random House in 1989; "Defining Vision: The Battle for the Future of Television," published by Harcourt Brace in 1998; and "U.S. vs. Microsoft: The Inside Story of the Landmark Case" (with Steve Lohr) published by McGraw Hill in 2001. He is under contract with Public Affairs books to write a book on modern-day Cambodia.