WGBHNews.org and WGBH-TV
I am a regular contributor to WGBHNews.org, for whom I began writing in the spring of 2014. The full index of my articles is here. I have also been a panelist on WGBH-TV’s award-winning weekly media program, “Beat the Press,” since 1998.
Nieman Journalism Lab
I have been writing for the Lab about issues related to digital journalism and the future of news since the fall of 2011. The full index of my articles is here.
The Huffington Post
Starting in the fall of 2011, I began contributing occasional pieces of media and political commentary to The Huffington Post. The full index of my columns is here.
The Argument: Should MBTA halt plans for expansion? (The Boston Globe’s North Weekly, March 23, 2015)
Community news can nurture civic health. (Unitarian Universalist World, Nov. 1, 2014)
Book review: “Mayor for a New America” by Thomas M. Menino with Jack Beatty. (The Boston Globe, Oct. 14, 2014)
Book review: “Hack Attack” by Nick Davies. (The Boston Globe, Aug. 9, 2014)
The Muzzle Awards: Spotlighting 10 Who Diminish Free Speech. My 17th annual New England round-up of those who undermined freedom of speech and personal liberties. (WGBHNews.org, July 1, 2014; also published in The Providence Phoenix and The Portland Phoenix)
Disrupt This: Clayton Christensen, Jill Lepore, and What Disruption Theory Has to Say about the Future of News. A critical overview. (Medium, June 25, 2014)
Return of Hometown News: Old-School Reporters and Citizen Journalists Unite to Bring it Back. A look at how start-up local news sites are sparking civic engagement. (Yes! magazine, June 13, 2014)
The Muzzle Awards: Spotlighting 10 Who Diminish Free Speech. My 16th annual New England round-up of those who undermined freedom of speech and personal liberties. (WGBH News, June 27, 2013; also published in The Providence Phoenix and The Portland Phoenix)
Our “greatest day” turns to horror. A commentary on what the Boston Marathon and Patriots Day mean to Boston. (CNN.com, April 16, 2013)
How the Boston Phoenix Kept Its Readers but Lost Its Advertisers. An analysis of what led the Phoenix to close its doors. (PBS MediaShift, March 19, 2013)
Narrative Shortcomings: Errol Morris Argues That a Prominent Murder Conviction Was Dead Wrong. My review of Morris’ book “A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald.” (Bookforum, December 2012/January 2013)
Alt-Weeklies Struggle to Reinvent Themselves for the Digital Age. (PBS MediaShift, Oct. 2, 2012)
The 15th Annual Muzzle Awards. My yearly New England round-up of those who undermined freedom of speech and personal liberties. (The Phoenix newspapers, July 13, 2012)
Rory O’Connor Digs Social Media. An interview on the occasion of his new book, “Friends, Followers, and the Future: How Social Media are Changing Politics, Threatening Big Brands, and Killing Traditional Media.” (The Boston Phoenix, May 14, 2012)
Out of Print, a Book Reappears — and Earns Its Author Money. An essay about self-publishing my book on dwarfism, “Little People,” after the original hardcover edition had gone out of print. (Nieman Reports, Winter 2011)
Radio “joke” exposes bias against dwarfism. An op-ed piece about radio talk-show host Michael Graham and guests, who mocked a woman with dwarfism after she won a discrimination complaint against Starbucks. (The Boston Globe, August 25, 2011)
Deciphering the Life of a Complicated Thinker. A review of Douglas Coupland’s biography of Marshall McLuhan, “You Know Nothing of My Work!” (Nieman Reports, Summer 2011)
And a Dollar Short. A review of “Bad News: How America’s Business Press Missed the Story of the Century.” (Columbia Magazine, Summer 2011)
The 14th Annual Muzzle Awards. My yearly New England round-up of those who undermined freedom of speech and personal liberties. (The Phoenix newspapers, June 29, 2011)
The 13th Annual Muzzle Awards: The yearly New England round-up of those who undermined freedom of speech and personal liberties. (The Phoenix newspapers, July 2, 2010)
Media criticism: Journalism versus advocacy. A review of Arthur Hayes’ book “Press Critics Are the Fifth Estate: Media Watchdogs in America.” (Nieman Reports, Winter 2009-’10)
The Bay State’s Senator: For Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy wasn’t just a member of an American dynasty, he was a resilient leader. (Forbes.com, August 26, 2009)
How Ted Kennedy’s Legacy Affects You. (Blast Magazine, August 26, 2009)
The 12th Annual Muzzle Awards: The yearly New England round-up of those who undermined freedom of speech and personal liberties. (The Phoenix newspapers, July 10, 2009)
The 11th Annual Muzzle Awards: The yearly New England round-up of those who undermined freedom of speech and personal liberties. (The Phoenix newspapers, June 26, 2008)
Political Blogs: Teaching us lessons about community. The mediascape of blogs, people “want the news delivered to them in the context of their attitudes and beliefs.” (Nieman Reports, Summer 2008)
The Kitchen Cupboard (pdf). (ArchitectureBoston, July 2008)
From 2007 until 2011, I wrote a regular column for the Comment is Free section of the Guardian’s American edition, mainly about media and politics. In both 2008 and 2009, my column was a finalist for a Syracuse University Mirror Award in media commentary. The full index of my columns is here.
For three years I wrote the “Mass. Media” feature for CommonWealth Magazine, published by the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth, a nonpartisan research organization. The beat gave me an opportunity to delve into ways that new media can enhance civic engagement.
Second life. After 100 years as a print daily, the Christian Science Monitor reinvents itself for the Internet age. (Winter 2008-’09)
Local ink. Can GateHouse Media stop the shrinkage of community newspapers in the Bay State? (Fall 2008)
Point of entry. New England Ethnic News unites the region’s immigrant and ethnic communities. (Summer 2008)
Your blog of blogs. Adam Gaffin may be the most influential editor you’ve never heard of. (Spring 2008)
No-shout zone. Dan Rea moves into WBZ’s legendary nighttime talk-radio slot and sticks to the high road. (Winter 2008)
Plugged in, tuned out. Young Americans are embracing new media but failing to develop an appetite for news. (Fall 2007)
Full disclosure. The New England News Forum pulls back the curtain on local journalism. (Summer 2007)
Disappearing ink. How a new ownership model might ensure the survival of daily newspapers — including the Boston Globe. (Spring 2007)
The cable guys. Two stalwarts demonstrate what public-access television can do. (Winter 2007)
Citizen journalism’s pied piper. From Berkeley to Harvard, Dan Gillmor tries to bring the new media into being without bringing down the old. (Fall 2006)
Still on the air (pdf). Despite license and adviser troubles, a high school-based community radio station lives to broadcast another day. (Summer 2006)
Going local (pdf). Paul La Camera wants the formerly high-flying WBUR to put down civic roots. (Spring 2006)
Watertown’s Net gain (pdf). Lisa Williams’ H2otown is at the vanguard of citizen journalism. (Winter 2006)
From 1979 to 1989 I worked as a staff reporter and editor for The Daily Times Chronicle, of Woburn, Massachusetts. During that time I covered the Woburn toxic-waste lawsuit, a landmark federal case brought by eight families who accused industries of contaminating their water, causing illness and death. I have also written about the case for the Boston Phoenix.
My earlier blog, written for the Boston Phoenix from 2002 to 2005.