Very sad news tonight as The Boston Globe is reporting that one of its former editors, Jack Driscoll, has died. Among other things, Mr. Driscoll was among the most distinguished journalism graduates of Northeastern University — back before we had a formal journalism program.
Mr. Driscoll retired from the Globe in 1993 and had a long, productive retirement at the MIT Media Lab and as a pioneering citizen journalist. Kevin Cullen has the details.
Last weekend I spent an hour or so with The Boston Globe’s amazing Valedictorians Project, which tracked more than 100 Boston valedictorians from about a dozen years ago to see how they are doing today. Like all great digital presentations, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would prefer the print version. The integration of videos and data, as well as the ability to access short bios of every valedictorian, really make the digital version stand out.
Of course, there’s a lot of important reporting here, too. There is much to contemplate, but what struck me more than anything was the cultural shock that many of these young people experienced when they made the transition from the Boston Public Schools to college. We all need to do better.
I could go on and on, but I’ll close with this: Two of our students in the School of Journalism at Northeastern were among those providing research assistance: Zipporah Osei and Patrick Strohecker. A third Northeastern student, Alexander Lim, is with the newly renamed Khoury College of Computer and Information Sciences. Congratulations to all!
I’m teaching a course in May and June called The Media in the Age of Trump, and I’m trying to flesh out my reading list. I’ll be asking my students to subscribe to The Washington Post (because it’s free for anyone with an .edu email address), and I have a number of worthwhile readings already chosen. Although I probably won’t assign all of these, I am listing them below.
What else would you recommend? In a perfect world, I would have two or three in-depth, evidence-based pieces arguing that President Trump is getting a raw deal from the press.
My super Northeastern journalism students in Digital Storytelling and Social Media have reviewed and mapped their favorite independent coffee shops for WGBH News. You can find it here. A great job by everyone.
WGBH News, the online arm of Boston’s largest public media organization, published nine multimedia projects from my Digital Storytelling and Social Media class this past fall. From oyster farming in Wellfleet to activism aimed at assisting immigrants in Greater Boston, Northeastern journalism students hit the streets and back roads to report, write stories, take photos, and shoot and edit videos.
Here is what you will find by our students at WGBHNews.org:
Janine Eduljee:“Despite Long Lines, Early Voting Proved To Be A Hit In Massachusetts”
Timothy Foley:“Poetic Justice: How Boston Pulse Is Helping Students Find Their Voice”
Mayeesha Galiba: “Mass. Coalition Fights To Promote The Rights Of Immigrants And Refugees”
Elise Harmon: “New England Activists Rally For Victims Of Violence In Syria”
Christie Macomber: “Standing Up For Standing Rock: The Harsh Realities Of Environmental Racism”
The great journalist and civil libertarian Nat Hentoff died on Saturday at the age of 91. In 1996 I had the privilege of interviewing Hentoff and his former colleague Dom Cerulli for Northeastern University’s alumni magazine. Hentoff and Cerulli, who died in 2013, were both Northeastern alumni, and both served as the editor of the jazz magazine Down Beat in the 1950s. I can’t find the clip, but I did manage to dig up my last rewrite before I turned the article in to my editor. I cannot defend the way the piece opens; all I can say is that I’m glad I’ve continued to improve as a writer. Hentoff was a giant. His death creates a deep void, especially at this moment of crisis.
It was the 1950s, Manhattan, 52nd Street. And it seemed like the whole world was in a groove.
Check it out—over there, at the Five Spot. It’s Thelonious Monk, plunking out the chords to “ ’Round Midnight” on the house piano.
Charlie Parker’s seen better days. You know how it is: sometimes he shows up, sometimes he doesn’t. But he’s still Bird, and if he can borrow an alto sax he’s supposed to be playing tonight at Birdland, the club they named after him.
Dizzy Gillespie’s around, of course, only now he’s not playing much bop. He’s got himself this new trumpet that’s bent up toward the ceiling, and he’s doing some Afro-Cuban thing.
Like the old guys? Well, they’re still holding forth. Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, you name it.
Miles Davis, that skinny kid trumpet player who used to be in Bird’s band, is starting to turn heads. And Charles Mingus has a band that’s making the biggest, wildest noise you’ve ever heard.
“It was magical. It was incredible,” says Barry Kernfeld, editor of “The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz” (St. Martin’s, 1994).
It was also a hell of a lot to keep track of.
And from 1952 to ’59, two of the most important witnesses to this musical revolution were a couple of Northeastern guys, Nat Hentoff (Class of 1944) and Dom Cerulli (Class of 1951). They were the New York eyes and ears of Down Beat, a Chicago-based magazine that was—and still is—the most authoritative publication covering jazz.
Presidential endorsements are a way for newspapers as community institutions to express their values and their vision. I’ve written plenty of endorsements over the years, and I was never under any illusion that what we had to say about the presidential candidates was going to change anyone’s mind. Rather, it is a way for a newspaper’s editorial board to say, “This is who we are. This is what we believe.”
Gawker’s problems began in October 2012, when the gossip site ran a portion of a sex tape featuring wrestler Hulk Hogan, which Hogan claimed violated his privacy and infringed on his publicity rights.
It was later revealed that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel—an outspoken critic of the website—provided financial backing for Hogan’s suit, which came to a close earlier this year, when a Florida court ruled in Hogan’s favor and the jury handed down a $140 million verdict that ultimately doomed the media company.
Here, Dan Kennedy, associate professor in the School of Journalism and a nationally known media commentator, weighs in on the effect of shuttering the gossip site on the broader media landscape and the “troubling” mechanics behind the suit that served as its demise. Its termination, he says, could empower “wealthy interests” to use the legal system to drive media organizations out of business.