Hope graduate and Trustee Jim McFarlin ’74 is one of six outstanding journalists being inducted into the 2023 class of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.
The Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame recognizes reporters, editors, publishers, owners, photographers, broadcasters, educators and others who have made outstanding contributions to the profession. McFarlin, who is an award-winning author and freelance journalist with extensive newspaper and media-relations experience, will be honored with the other members of the class at a banquet on Sunday, April 23, at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at Michigan State University in East Lansing.
McFarlin began his career at The Grand Rapids Press; then went to The Flint Journal, where he won an Associated Press award as an investigative reporter; and was subsequently at The Detroit News from 1979 to 1995, serving as pop music critic, radio columnist and eventually the paper’s television critic. He was one of the first people of color in America to cover contemporary music for a major daily newspaper, and one of the first African Americans to cover television for a mainstream media outlet.
After leaving newspapers, he worked as a radio and television host and voice talent, and spent five years as editorial supervisor at Campbell-Ewald Advertising. Most recently, he has pursued a variety of projects as a freelance writer. His work has appeared in publications such as People, Life, USA Today, Electronic Media, Black Enterprise, Men’s Book Chicago and Drive, the national Subaru owner’s magazine.
McFarlin has launched five magazines and has written or edited more than a dozen books; including “The Booster,” a never-before-told story of the University of Michigan’s “Fab Five,” published in 2018. He also maintains two blogs, the award-winning “JK — Just Kidneying,” chronicling his experience as a kidney transplant recipient and advocate for renal awareness and organ donation; and “Big Glowing Box,” continuing his interest in pop-culture criticism and commentary.
He is active in his church, Mattis Avenue Free Methodist in Champaign, Illinois, and serves as an ordained wedding officiant throughout the Midwest. The onetime ESRD (End-Stage Renal Disease) patient representative for the state of Illinois, he is active in a wide range of kidney and transplant focused organizations statewide and nationally, and won the 2011 Robert Felter Memorial Award from The Renal Network Inc. for his communication efforts on behalf of kidney patients.
McFarlin majored in communication and minored in theatre at Hope, where he participated in the Cosmopolitan Fraternity, Pull tug-of-war, track and field, and the “Anchor” student newspaper and “WTHS” radio station. He has continued to be active in the life of the college, including as a feature and news writer for News from Hope College magazine since 2015 and the Spera journal featuring faculty research since 2018; and as a member of the Hope College Board of Trustees since July of 2019 and of the Hope College Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2008 to 2014. Hope honored him with a Distinguished Alumni Award in May 2019.