Originally published in 2015; John Ahlhauser died on March 29, 2016.
Indiana University Journalism Professor Emeritus John Ahlhauser drew on his award-winning professional experience during his 20 years in the classroom at his alma mater, where he had received his master’s in journalism in 1973 and a doctorate in 1978.
As a photojournalist, Ahlhauser covered presidential inaugurations and the civil rights movement for his hometown paper, the Milwaukee Journal. He tackled an array of topics, from politics and religion to homes, furniture and fashion.
But the paper also sent him on the road to document national events. Some of his notable assignments included the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the inaugurations of Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, the 1964 civil rights movements in Mississippi and unemployed coal miners in West Virginia.
Ahlhauser supported the profession through his work with national organizations. He has held every office at the National Press Photographers Association, including a year as president from 1967 to 1968. Ahlhauser co-founded the Stan Kalish Picture Editing Workshop in 1990, serving as its chair for the next eight years. In retirement, he was president of the National Press Photographers Foundation.
Ahlhauser has been honored for his work in both journalism and academia. In 1977, he received NPPA’s highest honor, the Joseph Sprague Award. The organization also presented him with its Robin Garland teaching award in 1981. An alumnus of Marquette University, Ahlhauser received the school’s ByLine award in 1985. In 1991, he was inducted into the Milwaukee Press Club’s Media Hall of Fame, and he has won service awards from the Wisconsin, Indiana and Kentucky news photographers associations.
Ahlhauser retired to Milwaukee, where, in a continuation of his dedication to social justice, he volunteered with an outreach program for inmates in the Milwaukee County Jail. He visited every Monday night for seven years, until declining health prevented him from continuing.