I am a freelance writer, journalist and meditation teacher living in Rochester, MN.
My dual interests in journalism and meditation began in 1979 when, as a young staff reporter at The New York Times, I learned how to meditate to keep my stress level under control.
Over the years, but especially after I learned insight meditation in 1995, I saw greater spiritual possibilities for meditation as a way to dissolve suffering at its roots, and to know our true nature as love.
Whether focusing on journalism or meditation over the years, my interest has always been to explore and understand the roots of suffering whether in the public or private spheres.
Today, I offer regular dharma talks and meditation retreats online through the Christine Center in western Wisconsin. In 2019, I published a book that I conceived and edited called "Relax and Be Aware: Mindfuiness Meditations for Clarity, Confidence and Wisdom."
In May 2020, I published a Tricycle Magazine interview, "Practice as Usual," with the Burmese monk and meditation teacher, Sayadaw U Tejaniya. The topic swas how to meditate during times of great stress such as the then-exploding COVID-19 epidemic.
In 2004, I founded The Rochester Meditation Center, an insight meditation center in Rochester, MN. From then until 2016 I offered weekly dharma talks and led silent meditation retreats as the center's guiding teacher. I retired from the center in 2021, and in January, 2022 will launch a new website, dougmcgill.com, and a weekly Substack newsletter called "Spirituality for Citizens."
"Spirituality for Citizens" will report on current news topics such as free speech and cancel culture, inequality, racial division and climate change, always from a dharma perspective.
I began my journalism career in 1977 as the editor of Statewatch, a biweekly newspaper published by the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group at the University of Minnesota. From 1979 to 1989 I was first a copyboy, and then a reporter at The New York Times covering city news, art world news, and business news. I was a Fulbright scholar in Tokyo from 1989 to 1990, writing for the Asahi Journal magazine on environmental issues.
After joining Bloomberg News as an editor in Tokyo in 1990, I served as Bloomberg's bureau chief in its London and Hong Kong bureaus. In 2000, I retured to live in my home town of Rochester, Minnesota, to take care of my late wife, Caren, who was diagnosed that year with a brain tumor and lived with ongoing care from the Mayo Clinic until her passing in 2008; and also to care for my mother, Jean McGill, who lived with dementia until she passed in 2020.
While living in Rochester from 2000 to 2012, I published The McGill Report, a journalistic experiment in global citizenship and journalism ethics.
In 2012 I wrote: "Each article and essay in The McGill Report offers a case study that tries to illuminate the normally invisible strands of mutual influence connecting a particular town, city or region in my home state of Minnesota to the rest of the world."
In 2005, I described my notion of "glocal" journalism to Bob Garfield on NPR's "On the Media" program. My journalism from southern Minnesota is collected in my 2006 book called "Here: A Global Citizen's Journey."
From 2003 to 2008, I taught journalism and media ethics at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota; and from 2008 to 20012 I taught journalism at Carleton College in Northfield, MN. In 2004 I taught a course in "The Role of the Media in Public Affairs" at the Hubert Humphrey Institute Public Affairs in Minneapolis.
In 2014, I published an online presentation about my mother's and my experience with her long dementia called "The Leaf Artist." To this day, I give a TED-style talk at nursing homes, churches, hospitals and community centers about my mother's dementia which was an unusually happy and in many ways an enlightening one for her, her family and friends.