Josh Rushing’s journalism career is unconventional.
Rushing, a former Marine spokesman during Operation Iraqi Freedom, holds a dual degree in subjects that are as far as you can get from journalism – classic civilization and ancient history.
Now he is an Emmy award-winning journalist for Al-Jazeera English, an internet outlet that shows the Arab conflict through different eyes while providing coverage of news issues worldwide.
“I decided that I had a civic obligation to resign my commission from the Marine Corps so that I could speak openly about what Al-Jazeera is and about what Al-Jazeera isn’t and why it’s important to the U.S,” said Rushing, who had risen to captain by the time he resigned in 2005.
Rushing’s decision was met with pressure to stay in the Marines as he was only six years away from retirement, but his desire to give Americans a complete picture of the world and what Al-Jazeera stood for won.
“I felt like I could actually do more good for the country by getting out and by being that voice out in the American media saying ‘wake up, you need to understand this better, this is important’,” Rushing said.
Since 2009, Rushing has been the host for Al-Jazeera English’s documentary film/correspondent reporting show, Fault Lines, covering issues around the globe.
On Monday, a screening of Fault Lines, with commentary by Rushing, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. in the Gaylord College Auditorium at the University of Oklahoma.
“A classic Fault Lines is a story that has life or death stakes where somebody is held accountable, a clear line of accountability and it has to have a U.S. tie in some way,” Rushing said.
Rushing’s stories have taken him from the Arctic Circle to the front lines of the Islamic state to death row in Oklahoma, reporting pressing issues through the eyes of the people living them every day. Something Rushing does better than most, according to Gaylord College visiting professor and ABC correspondent Mike Boettcher.
“The various stories that he does are stories you’re not going to see every day on the news, and I think a good reporter, like Josh, brings you along on a journey,” Boettcher said.
With his unusual rise to journalistic success, Rushing was invited to be a speaker for Gaylord College’s Hearst Speaker Series called “Unconventional Journalists.” Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Yvette Walker worked hard to make sure Rushing was a part of this series because of his story and his drive to follow what he believes in.
“He was Marine. He loves the United States. It was his duty, but there came a time when he had something else to say and he felt like he had to honor that,” Walker said “I think that’s a very strong message for students to hear.”