A former investigative journalist, Joel Kaplan covered city hall for The Chicago Tribune and was a member of the newspaper’s investigative team. From 1979 to 1986, he was a reporter for The Tennessean in Nashville, where he covered the state legislature. In 1986, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for a series on then-U.S. Rep. Bill Boner.
Kaplan was a Nieman Fellow (1985) at Harvard University and a Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School (1991), where he received a master’s in the study of law. He also earned a master’s in journalism from the University of Illinois.
He served as ombudsman for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and was responsible for reinforcing objectivity, balance, fairness and transparency within public media.