Joseph N. Boyce was born in 1937 in New Orleans. At age 15, he moved with his mother to Chicago, where he lived another 20 years. He joined the Chicago Police force in 1961, where he served the next five years as a patrolman, district vice detective, evidence technician and police academy law instructor.
In 1966, Boyce became a reporter for the Chicago Tribune and the first person of color to work for that paper’s daily edition.
In 1970, Boyce joined Time magazine as a correspondent in its Chicago bureau. In 1973, he was promoted to San Francisco Bureau Chief, becoming the first person of color to ever head a Time Inc. bureau. In 1979, Boyce became chief of Time’s Atlanta bureau, responsible for news coverage in 11 southern states. In 1985, Boyce became deputy chief of Time’s New York bureau.
In 1987, Boyce was hired by The Wall Street Journal as a senior editor, responsible for social and policy issues and urban affairs coverage. Boyce retired from The Journal at the end of 1998 but still works with it as a consultant. Throughout his journalism career Boyce has been a proponent of diversity and journalism education.
Boyce attended John Marshall Law School.