is an education reporter at the Florida Times-Union and Jacksonville.com. His professional interests include convergence journalism, education reporting, longform storytelling and news blogging. His personal interests are professional basketball, the Great Depression, traveling, cooking seafood and French culture.
Before coming to Florida, Brooks was the higher education reporter for the Omaha World-Herald. He covered public and private universities and community colleges in Nebraska and western Iowa. Brooks led the World-Herald’s coverage of the University of Nebraska’s efforts to convert the former Nebraska State Fairgrounds into a world-class private/public research park. He was first to report that Creighton University earned permission to sell alcohol to students on campus (the first Nebraska college in history allowed to do so.) Brooks also covered the Nebraska Community College System’s lengthy legal battle with Omaha’s Metropolitan Community College.
Brooks also worked as the business, K-12 and higher education reporter for the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier. In his time there, Brooks chronicled Bristol, Tennessee’s school system and its plan to merge two elementary schools into one larger building. Brooks gained notoriety in 2007 after reporting how Bristol, Virginia school officials released a controversial letter attached to Virginia Middle School students' report cards. In 2007 he won second place in education writing from the Virginia Press Association for a pair of well-written articles on the federal No Child Left Behind Act. He also covered a publicly traded pharmaceutical company.
Brooks, a 2006 Chips Quinn Scholar, is a former NYTimes.com and Associated Press writer, and his byline has been published in newspapers and magazines across the country. Brooks draws inspiration from writers Tom Hallman, Jr., Thomas French and Leonard Pitts, Jr.
Brooks began his journalism career in 2000 as a varsity sports reporter for his high school newspaper in Romulus, Mich. He holds a bachelor’s degree in News/Editorial Journalism and General Political Science from Central Michigan University and a master's degree in Literary Reportage from New York University. He has received countless hours of education research and policy analysis training from the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media and the Education Writers Association. In 2009 he was considered one of the best beat reporting bloggers in the nation.
At NYU Brooks learned advanced techniques in narrative storytelling, like how to turn “sources” into characters and “quotes” into dialogue and how to snatch a reader’s interest and keep it for thousands of words. He took classes in immersion journalism and expository writing led by award-winning editors and writers from the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Harper’s and the New York Times. While in New York City, he was a freelance writer for Capital New York and AOL/Patch.com.
Brooks’s hobbies include playing basketball, wandering around bookstores and eating fruit tarts. For fun, he exercises, toys with small electronics and pretends he’s a page designer. A Detroit native, Brooks adamantly reads John Steinbeck, Gay Talese, Anton Chekhov and other great authors.
I’m writing this short post because I have new Twitter followers and Tumblr followers who have expressed concern with my future in journalism.
Ever since my very public brouhaha with Gannett and the Wilmington News Journal, I have been bombarded with great job offers. I have been on many job interviews and spoken with many editors in person and over the phone. It took a little bit of weighing my options, but I am happy to say I have accepted one and have started my new job. In this post, however, I won’t be making another press release about my employment. I’m writing to simply say everything worked out fine. This new reporting position (for a daily newspaper) puts me in a beat that I love and in a state far away from Delaware.
I’m sure you would like to know where I’m employed now, but I’m sorry, you won’t be finding out from this post. I need to focus on my reporting and writing, not more infamy. Perhaps the best way to find out is to follow me on Twitter or Tumblr or, at the very least, set up a Google Alert for my byline: Khristopher J. Brooks
But finally, I want to thank everyone in the message boards and comments sections all over the web for supporting me through this and encouraging me to find a new job elsewhere. Even the people who thought what I did was “boneheaded,” thank you for keeping the conversation lively and raising the issue surrounding my dismissal. No more about my employment, now get ready to read my work.