John Christensen has written for The New York Times, The Saturday Evening Post, Atlanta Magazine, Northeast Magazine and newspapers in Atlanta, Hartford, Honolulu, Louisville, Providence and Winston-Salem. He was also a senior writer at CNN.com.
He won a national award from the Education Writers Association and has been nominated for Pulitzer Prizes for investigative reporting, sports commentary and feature writing. He was interviewed for the book Online Journalism: Reporting, Writing & Editing for the Internet by Professor Richard Craig of San Jose State University.
He is the author of Perfect Swing, Imperfect Lies: The Legacy of Golf’s Longest Hitter and Serve: The Washington Tennis & Education Foundation Story. He contributed to a book about Martin Luther King Jr. entitled Voices: Reflections on an American Icon in Stories and Song and to the CNN book, Katrina: State of Emergency.
He has been a regular contributor to Spinal Column, the quarterly magazine of the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, and its website, and has reported on hard news, sports and the environment. He has been a music critic and sports columnist; reviewed books and films; and written editorials and environmental columns. He also contributed content to the websites for two CNN-TV specials: “Millennium,” and the award-winning series, “The Cold War.”
He has interviewed a Nobel Peace Prize laureate (Linus Pauling), two Pulitzer Prize winners (biographer Leon Edel; poet W.S. Merwin), three baseball Hall of Famers (Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays) and a four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback (Joe Montana).
Other interviews include artist Billy Al Bengston, photographer Aaron Siskind and sculptor Isamu Noguchi; musicians Count Basie, Yo-Yo Ma, B.B. King, Johnny Cash, the Allman Brothers, Tammy Wynette and ZZ Top; athletes Magic Johnson, John McEnroe, and Sugar Ray Leonard; golfer Gene Sarazen; authors Carl Sagan, Frank Herbert, Philip Caputo and Michael Pollan; and poets Galway Kinnell, Gary Snyder and Diane Wakoski.
He interviewed spiritual leader Ram Dass, authors Neale Donald Walsch and Paul Reps, and profiled Pope John Paul II and the Dalai Lama. He interviewed the first man to reach the top of Mt. Everest (with Hilary), Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, and the first man to ski down it, Yuichiro Miura. Also: supermodels Jerry Hall and Marie Helvin; Morganna, the Kissing Bandit; Playboy’s 25th anniversary playmate; TV personality Dick Clark; and actor Vincent Price.
He also had unexpected encounters with Muhammad Ali, Jane Fonda, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Janet Jackson.
His assignments have included rafting the Ohio River, canoeing the Canadian Boundary Waters, kayaking the Na Pali coast of Kauai and flying in an F-4F Phantom fighter jet. He was arrested and jailed while reporting on a story, and cleared by trial. He has hitchhiked across the country, walked on fire, been present at three shootings — one of them a murder — and survived two life-threatening incidents.
As an actor, he has appeared in numerous commercials and hosted an archival video series featuring Professor Jagdish Sheth of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.
Between jobs, he has packaged sunglasses in a warehouse, been salesman of the month while telemarketing for Special Olympics, and trained in a corral with a 1,000-pound horse under the guidance of a “horse whisperer.”