John Wesley Fountain
Professor of Journalism

Roosevelt University
Journalism/Communication/Arts and Sciences

To read Professor Fountain’s weekly column, click here: Chicago Sun-Times

JOHN W. FOUNTAIN A native son of Chicago, John W. Fountain is an award-winning journalist, professor and author of the memoir, “True Vine: A Young Black Man’s Journey of Faith Hope and Clarity” (Public Affairs, 2003), paperback March 2005. His most recent book, “Dear Dad: Reflections on Fatherhood” was released in January 2011. In a journalism career that has spanned 20 years, Fountain has been a reporter at some of the country’s top newspapers. From 2000 to 2003, he was a national correspondent for The New York Times. He also has been a staff writer at the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune. In addition to being a professor of journalism at Roosevelt University, he is a weekly columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. Until fall 2007, he was a tenured full professor at his alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he had taught the previous three years. Professor Fountain was formerly a visiting scholar at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

In 2012, Fountain received the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association Award and the Chicago Journalists Association for his column in the Chicago Sun-Times. 

In 2011, Fountain received the Chicago Headline Club’s prestigious Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism for his work as a columnist in the Chicago Sun-Times. In 2012, he  won afirst place award for column writing from the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association.

Fountain has won numerous honors for feature writing from the National Association of Black Journalists, the Associated Press, the American Association of University Women, and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2001, he received the New York Times Publisher’s Award for his coverage of the Mississippi River Flood. In 2003, while a national correspondent for The New York Times, he was a finalist in features and sports writing for the Peter Lisagor Award.

Fountain is available for speaking. Contact him at author@johnwfountain.com

In addition to Media Writing, courses taught by Fountain at Roosevelt include Memoir Writing, Literary Journalism, News Reporting, the undergraduate Convergence Project and Special Topics courses. He has also created several websites to publish student work, which may be viewed by clicking on any of the following links:


John W. Fountain grew up on some of the meanest streets in Chicago, where drugs, crime, decay, and broken homes consigned so many black children to a life of despair and self-destruction. A father at seventeen, a college dropout at nineteen, a welfare case soon after, Fountain was on the verge of giving up all hope. One thing saved him—his faith, his own true vine. True Vine is John Fountain’s remarkable story—of his childhood in a neighborhood heading south; of his strong-willed grandparents, who founded a church (called True Vine) that sought to bring the word of God to their neighbors; of his mother, herself a teenage parent, whose truncated dreams help nurture bigger dreams in him; of his friends and cousins, whose youthful exuberance was extinguished by the burdens they faced; and of his religious awakening that gave him the determination to rebuild his life.

To learn more, visit: http://www.johnwfountain.com


Inspired by John W. Fountain’s essay for National Public Radio’s This I Believe series, Dear Dad is a compilation of true narratives written by some of the nation’s finest journalists and writers, assembled for this project by Fountain, himself an award-winning journalist who has been a national correspondent for the New York Times. Men and women from various walks of life and generations, they are black, white, and Hispanic. A good number of them have written for a number of the world’s best-known news organizations—the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Time magazine, and others. All of them write herein about the impact of fathers or fatherlessness upon their own lives at a time when a national initiative and even President Barack Obama have sounded the clarion call for responsible fatherhood amid a continuing crisis of paternal absenteeism. But there are no victims in this collective psalm, only victors.


Office Chicago Campus
Room 505C (Gage Bldg.)
Phone 312-281-3240

Tu-Th: 10 – 11:00 a.m.;

Tu-Th: 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.;

 Friday: By Appointment

Otherwise by appointment

E-mail jfountain@roosevelt.edu