John Temple

John Temple



Duties begin on 8/1/2024


I am a journalist, author and screenwriter who loves teaching, reading and thinking about storytelling in all forms. I began my career as a newspaper reporter in Pittsburgh, Greensboro, North Carolina, and Tampa, Florida, covering crime, medicine and education. I studied creative nonfiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh and taught journalism and screenwriting at West Virginia University for 22 years before coming to Hawaiʻi. I’ve written four books and have written for both television and film (more about my writing below). I love teaching journalism, from basics (like how to select quotes) to more advanced topics (like how to persuade reluctant sources to cooperate). I’m passionate about finding ways to borrow narrative techniques from fiction writers and screenwriters and apply them to journalism.


  • MFA, Creative Nonfiction, University of Pittsburgh, 2003
  • BA, English, University of Pittsburgh, 1993


News writing; investigative reporting; narrative techniques; adapting journalism for the screen.


My writing chronicles dramatic true stories of American life. American Pain: How a Young Felon and His Ring of Doctors Unleashed America’s Deadliest Drug Epidemic (2015) was named a New York Post “Favorite Book of 2015” and was a 2016 Edgar Allan Poe Award nominee. Up in Arms: How the Bundy Family Hijacked Public Lands, Outfoxed the Federal Government and Ignited America’s Patriot Movement (2019) chronicled Cliven and Ammon Bundy’s notorious armed standoffs with the federal government. I was a staff writer on the 2023 Showtime drama series Waco: The Aftermath, portraying the searing impact of the 1993 Branch Davidian standoff, which helped radicalize Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. I have spoken across the country about the opioid epidemic and the patriot movement and have written for the Washington Post, the Daily Beast, HuffPo. More information on my website.