John Mecklin (journalist)

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John Mecklin is a journalist, novelist and editor, who specializes in narrative journalism. He was the editor-in-chief of Miller-McCune, a national public policy magazine named after its founder, Sara Miller McCune. Mecklin is currently the editor of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.


After growing up in the Midwest, Mecklin enrolled at Indiana University, where he graduated with a B.A. in psychology. From January 1984 to June 1992, he worked as an investigative reporter for the Houston Post. He then matriculated at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, graduating in 1993 with a master degree in public administration. Subsequently, he assumed a variety of leadership positions in alternative journalism:

  • August 1993 to February 1997: Editor, Phoenix New Times (Phoenix, AZ).
  • February 1997 to October 2005: Editor, SF Weekly (San Francisco, CA).
  • December 2005 to March 2006: Consulting executive editor for the launch of Key West Magazine (Key West, FL).
  • October 2006 to November 2007: Editor-in-Chief, High Country News (Paonia, CO).
  • November 2007 to 2012: Editor-in-Chief, Miller-McCune (Santa Barbara, CA).[1]


Mecklin has received numerous honors, among others an Investigative Reporters and Editors award,[2] a John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism,[3] and an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies award for Investigative Reporting.[4] Under his guidance, journalists of the publications he managed won:

  • several George Polk Awards;[5]
  • the Sidney Hillman Award for reporting on social justice issues;[6]
  • several Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Awards.[7]
  • an Environmental Journalists Outstanding Explanatory Reporting Award;[8]
  • the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award;
  • the John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism, and
  • the University of Missouri's Lifestyle Journalism Award.

High Stakes Texas Bingo[edit]

During his tenure at SF Weekly, Mecklin began working on his roman à clef High Stakes Texas Bingo. In it, Mecklin satirizes Houston politics, as he experienced it during his time at the Houston Post. The novel, which involves semi-fictitious corrupt county judges, shipping magnates, and even vice president George H.W. Bush, focuses on the machinations of Jackie Belfast (real name: Terry O’Rourke), a Democrat and attorney who, after a stint in President Jimmy Carter's White House and a subsequent period in California, returned to Houston to face off with his rival, Bingo Satwell (real name: Harris County Commissioner "Boss" Bob Eckels).

Excerpts from the novel, which has attracted a sizable underground following, are available online.[9]

Personal life[edit]

John Mecklin is married to Nina Dunbar. They have two children.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2009-12-21. >
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Archived 2010-06-15 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Lisa Davis, writing for SF Weekly, won it in 2001. Ray Ring, writing for High Country News, won it in 2006.
  6. ^ High Country News won the award in 2008.
  7. ^ Peter Byrne, writing for SF Weekly, won it in 2004 Archived 2010-06-15 at the Wayback Machine.. Lisa Davis, writing for SF Weekly, won it in the same year Archived 2010-06-15 at the Wayback Machine..
  8. ^ Valerie Brown, writing for Miller-McCune, won it in 2009.
  9. ^ The Texas Observer, August 10, 2007 Archived June 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.