In addition to serving as a senior fellow at MDC, Ferrel founded and directs the Program on Public Life at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a professor of the practice at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He is a co-author of the State of the South series, as well as the book, The Carolinas: Yesterday - Today - Tomorrow.
Ferrel serves on the board of trustees of the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching. He was formerly southern correspondent, Washington correspondent, editorial page editor, and columnist at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. He also has written for The Economist, The New York Times, Governing, The Washington Post, America, The New Republic, and a variety of Southern magazines, journals, and newspapers. He is a contributor to books on public policy, tobacco in transition, and the politics of race.
Ferrel received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University and his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.