Joel Brinkley

Joel Graham Brinkley (July 22, 1952 – March 11, 2014) was an American syndicated columnist. He taught in the journalism program at Stanford University from 2006 until 2013, after a 23-year career with The New York Times. He won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1980 and was twice a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.[1]

Joel Brinkley
Joel Graham Brinkley

(1952-07-22)July 22, 1952
DiedMarch 11, 2014(2014-03-11) (aged 61)
Washington, D.C.
Alma materUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Occupationcolumnist, professor
RelativesDavid Brinkley (father)
Alan Brinkley (brother)

Early life and education

The son of Ann Fischer and TV news anchor David Brinkley,[2] Joel Brinkley was born in Washington, DC in 1952.[3][4] In 1975 he received a B.A. in English and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was married and had two daughters. His brother, Alan Brinkley, was an historian and provost at Columbia University.[5]


Brinkley's career began when he worked at the Associated Press in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1975, Brinkley moved to The Richmond News Leader in Virginia where he covered local and regional government. He also covered a series of stories about the Ku Klux Klan and its leader David Duke. He moved to the Louisville Courier-Journal in 1978, where he served as a reporter, special-projects writer, editor and Washington correspondent. In 1979, he traveled to Cambodia to cover the fall of the Khmer Rouge for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1980. In 1983, he took a position in the Washington bureau of the New York Times, where he worked until 2006 as a reporter, White House correspondent, foreign correspondent, editor and bureau chief.[6][7][8]

He was a director of the Fund for Investigative Journalism from 2001 to 2006.[1]

In 2006, he joined Stanford University as the Hearst Visiting Professional in Residence in the Department of Communication.[9][10] He taught there until December 2013, leaving to become an adviser for the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction.[8][11][12]

Brinkley wrote a weekly op-ed column on foreign policy syndicated by Tribune Media Services. He received "more than a dozen national reporting and writing awards".[12][13]



Brinkley died at the age of 61 at a Washington, D.C. hospital on March 11, 2014. The cause was pneumonia. He had underlying leukemia.[15] He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Bibliography (books only)

In addition to his many newspaper articles, Brinkley wrote four books by himself, was co-author of a fifth, and wrote a chapter in another (of which his brother was an editor).

  • Cambodia's Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land (2011, non-fiction)[10][16]
  • The Circus Master's Mission (fiction, 1989)[17]
  • Defining Vision: The Battle for the Future of Television (non-fiction, 1998)[18]
  • U.S. vs. Microsoft: The Inside Story of the Landmark Case (non-fiction, 2001, co-author with Steve Lohr)[19]
  • The Stubborn Strength of Yitzhak Shamir (non-fiction, 1989)[20]
  • Inside the Intifada (1989)[21]
  • chapter about George W. Bush in The American Presidency (non-fiction, 2004)[1][22]


  1. "Joel Brinkley". Pulitzer Center. Retrieved 2013-02-14.
  2. TV news legend David Brinkley dead at 82, UPI, June 12, 2003, Brinkley married Ann Fischer and they had three sons: Alan, a history professor, Joel, an editor and Pulitzer Prize winner, and John, a newspaper writer.
  3. Fischer, H.D.; Fischer, E.J. (1987). International Reporting 1928-1985: From the Activities of the League of Nations to present-day Global Problems. Fischer, Heinz-D.: The Pulitzer Prize Archive. Reportage Journalism. De Gruyter. p. 299. ISBN 9783110972320. born on July 22, 1952, in Washington, D.C....son of a well-known American television journalist, David Brinkley
  4. "Joel Brinkley." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 5 February 2013.
  5. Boss-Bicak, Shira J. "Alan Brinkley: Scholar, Teacher, Author - Provost". Columbia College Today. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  6. "Joel Brinkley". GlobalPost – International News. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  7. "Joel Brinkley". TMS. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  8. Yardley, William (2014-03-13), "Joel Brinkley, a Times Washington and Mideast Reporter, Dies at 61", New York Times, archived from the original on 2014-03-13, [...] White House correspondent, Jerusalem bureau chief [...] Mr. Brinkley left The Times in 2006 to teach journalism at Stanford University, and he remained there until late last year, when he became a tactical adviser to John F. Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.
  9. "Joel Brinkley". Tribune Media Services. Date Modified: 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-01-15. Retrieved 2012-05-11. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. "Comm Faculty: Joel Brinkley". Stanford University. Archived from the original on 2012-11-20. Retrieved 5 February 2013. Joel Brinkley is the Hearst Visiting Professional in Residence. Brinkley joined the Department of Communication in the fall of 2006 after a 23-year career with The New York Times.
  11. Dylan Byers (2014-03-13), Timesman Joel Brinkley dead at 61, Politico, ...becoming an adviser to the special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction in 2013
  13. "Joel Brinkley". Pulitzer Center. Retrieved 2020-08-30.
  14. "Courier-Journal has won". Louisville Courier-Journal. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  15. Pulitzer Winner Joel Brinkley Dead at 61, ABC News, 2014-03-13, Brinkley, 61, died Tuesday at a hospital in Washington, his wife Sabra Chartrand confirmed Thursday. The cause of death was acute undiagnosed leukemia which led to respiratory failure from pneumonia, Chartrand said.
  16. Brinkley, J. (2011). Cambodia's Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land. PublicAffairs. ISBN 9781610390019.
  17. Brinkley, J. (1989). The circus master's mission. Random House. ISBN 9780394575704. LCCN 88043367.
  18. Brinkley, J. (1998). Defining vision: the battle for the future of television. A Harvest book. Harcourt Brace. ISBN 9780151000876. LCCN 98017794.
  19. Brinkley, J.; Lohr, S. (2001). US v. Microsoft. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780071355889. LCCN 00699630.
  20. Brinkley, J. (1988). The Stubborn Strength of Yitzhak Shamir. New York Times.
  21. Brinkley, J. (1989). Inside the Intifada. New York Times.
  22. Brinkley, Alan and Dyer, David, eds. (2004). The American Presidency. Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 9780618382736. LCCN 2003062513.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
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