I am a professor at Northeastern University’s School of Journalism, specializing in opinion journalism, media ethics and the future of local news. I write about developments in community journalism and co-host a podcast with my research partner, Ellen Clegg, at our website and podcast, “What Works: The Future of Local News.” Our book, “What Works in Community News: Media Startups, News Deserts, and the Future of the Fourth Estate,” will be published by Beacon Press in January 2024.
From 2007 to 2022, I wrote a weekly column on media and politics, first for The Guardian and later for GBH News. I’ve also written for The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Nieman Lab, Nieman Reports, CommonWealth Magazine, The Huffington Post and other publications. My blog, Media Nation, is a nationally recognized source of news and commentary. I also use Twitter and Mastodon to comment on media and politics, not always wisely or well. My handle is @dankennedy_nu (Twitter) and @firstname.lastname@example.org (Mastodon).
In 2019 I received the Yankee Quill Award from the Academy of New England Journalists for a “lifetime of achievement and distinction in New England journalism.” In 2018 I received the James W. Carey Award for Outstanding Journalism from the Media Ecology Association.
My book on a new breed of wealthy newspaper owners, “The Return of the Moguls: How Jeff Bezos and John Henry Are Remaking Newspapers for the Twenty-First Century,” was published by ForeEdge (a division of University Press of New England) in March 2018. “The Return of the Moguls” has been critically praised by the academic publication Journalism, the trade magazine Editor & Publisher, The Boston Globe and other publications.
My book on the New Haven Independent and other community news sites, “The Wired City: Reimagining Journalism and Civic Life in the Post-Newspaper Age,” was published by University of Massachusetts Press in June 2013. “The Wired City” has been critically praised by the Columbia Journalism Review, The Boston Globe, CommonWealth Magazine and other publications and websites.
From its launch in 1998 until it ended its run in 2021, I was regular panelist on “Beat the Press,” a weekly roundtable program on media issues hosted by Emily Rooney, on GBH-TV (Channel 2). In 2018 “Beat the Press” won the National Press Club’s Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism after previously winning it in 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2012. In 2014 “Beat the Press” won the Bart Richards Award for Media Criticism from Penn State.
From 1991 through 2005 I worked at The Boston Phoenix, mostly as the alt-weekly’s media columnist. While at the Phoenix, I won the 2001 Rowse Award and the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ 1999 award for media reporting. The Phoenix, at one time the largest weekly paper in New England, ceased publication in March 2013.
My book on the culture of dwarfism, “Little People: Learning to See the World Through My Daughter’s Eyes,” originally published by Rodale in 2003, is currently out of print. “Little People” was praised by The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Providence Journal, and Publishers Weekly, and was featured by NPR, Salon, and Child Magazine.
From 1979 through 1989 I worked as a reporter for The Daily Times Chronicle of Woburn, Massachusetts, where I covered the trial at the center of Jonathan Harr’s book “A Civil Action.” My account of the case and its aftermath is online here.
On July 21, 2007, my son, Tim, and I hiked to the northern and southern summits of Mt. Hancock, my 47th and 48th (and final) 4,000-foot mountains in New Hampshire, finishing a quest I had begun in 1968.
In May 2023 I received a National Outstanding Eagle Scout Award from the Spirit of Adventure Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Header image: Newsroom at NJ Spotlight News, part of NJ PBS, Newark, New Jersey. Photo (cc) 2022 by Dan Kennedy.