My name is John C. Eagan and I am a retired journalist with more than 30 years in the news business. Born and raised in Florida, I served three years in the U.S. Army in South Carolina and Germany. I graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism.
I was a reporter-photographer for the Ft. Lauderdale News and sports editor of the companion newspaper, the Sun Sentinel, before moving to California where I was a reporter- photographer for the Arcadia Tribune and Napa Register, managing editor of the Petaluma Argus-Courier and editor of the Novato Advance. I also was publisher of Marinscope Community Newspapers, a group of weekly newspapers in Marin County.
For 12 years I was with The Associated Press as reporter, editor and executive in San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Chicago.
I founded and headed the Computer Training Center in San Rafael, California, for 12 years.
Community activities have included San Rafael and Ignacio Rotary, Petaluma Kiwanis and Napa Optimist clubs, and Temple City Junior Chamber of Commerce. I am a member Tiburon Baptist Church, where I have been a member of its choir for many years and I’ve served two terms as an elected church deacon.
I served two one-year terms as elected president of the Novato Chamber of Commerce. I have also served on the Marin County Civil Grand Jury.
For more than 20 years I have come periodically with members of my church to Saturday evening services in the San Quentin Protestant Chapel.
Since 2008, I have been an adviser and mentor to the inmates who produce the San Quentin News, which had been shut down for about 18 years.
In April 2008, then-Warden Robert Ayres Jr. asked me to help reactivate the newspaper, which I agreed to do as a volunteer.
Several other volunteer advisers have joined the newspaper since then.
I agreed to work with the inmates and administration because I believed the newspaper could make a difference – a difference in the lives of the inmates, and a difference in the public’s understanding of the prison system.
I am impressed with the inmates who have learned to become skilled journalists. The San Quentin News has become an outstanding, high-quality, award-winning publication that does a remarkable job of reporting what is good and what is bad about the criminal justice system – and what needs to be improved or changed.
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