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The Reed College of Media and College of Creative Arts will merge to form the new WVU College of Creative Arts and Media as of July 1, 2024. Get details.

John Temple


M.F.A. (University of Pittsburgh)

Professor John Temple is a nonfiction author, investigative journalist and screenwriter. His books and television writing chronicle dramatic true stories of American life and illuminate critical current events and issues.

American Pain: How a Young Felon and His Ring of Doctors Unleashed America’s Deadliest Drug Epidemic, 2015, documented how two young felons built the largest pill mill in the United States and 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.

Temple was a staff writer on the 2023 Showtime drama TV series Waco: The Aftermath. The five-part drama series portrayed the searing aftermath of the disastrous 1993 FBI standoff at the Branch Davidian compound, an event that galvanized the American militia movement and helped radicalize Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Temple has spoken across the country about the roots of both the opioid epidemic and the patriot movement and has written for the Washington Post, Daily Beast, HuffPo, and other major media outlets. He has appeared many times as an expert on national television, radio, and podcasts.

Temple also wrote The Last Lawyer: The Fight to Save Death Row Inmates (2009) and Deadhouse: Life in a Coroner’s Office (2005). The Last Lawyer won the Scribes Book Award from the American Society of Legal Writers. More information about Temple’s books can be found at

In Fall 2008, Temple founded the West Virginia Uncovered project, in which students and faculty provided multimedia training and content for small rural newspapers around the state. The McCormick Foundation, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the Ford Foundation provided support for the project.

Prior to teaching at WVU, Temple taught and studied creative nonfiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned an M.F.A. Temple worked as the newspaper reporter for six years. He was the health/education reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a general assignment reporter for the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C., and a government and politics reporter for the Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Fla.