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John Hughes (1982)

VOA Director John Hughes (1982)
VOA Director John Hughes (1982)

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Hughes served as Director from March through August 1982. Born in Wales and raised in London during the blitz bombings of World War II, Hughes started out as a reporter at the age of 16 in Durban, South Africa. He worked his way through a number of newspapers and in 1955 achieved his goal of a position with The Christian Science Monitor. After about six years, Hughes was named Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, then returning to the Monitor which sent him to Asia as a correspondent for six years. His reporting on the attempted Communist coup in Indonesia in 1965 and the violent purge that followed earned him the 1967 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting.

After then serving as Editor and Manager of the Monitor, Hughes retired to purchase and run five weekly newspapers in Massachusetts for several years. He moved to Washington, DC in 1981 to work in the Reagan administration, first as Associate Director of the United States Information Agency then as Director of VOA. Shortly afterward, when asked by Secretary of State George Shultz to be State Department spokesman and Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, he moved to that position where he served for two and a half years.

After leaving the State Department, Hughes worked in a wide variety of capacities, including a shortwave radio program, advisory positions, Assistant Secretary General and Director of Communications at the United Nations, and consultant then editor of Utah’s Deseret News. Before his passing in 2022, he had been a professor/professor emeritus in the Communications Department of Brigham Young University since 2007.