By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Tag: Northeastern University Page 2 of 16

A tribute to Mike Dukakis

Michael Dukakis is not only a national treasure, he’s been a treasure at Northeastern University since the early 1990s. On Thursday he was honored by three of his successors.

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How two Northeastern journalism professors are reinventing local TV news

Thanks to everyone who attended our Northeastern University conference Friday on “What Works: The Future of Local News.” We’ll be posting more in the days ahead, but we wanted to begin by sharing some information from Professors Mike Beaudet and John Wihbey on the Reinventing Local TV News Project. They weren’t able to show videos, so we’re sharing them here.

Above is their “Meet the Fellows!” video, an introduction to the content producers for the third phase of their project. And here’s a piece that was published by Storybench, our School of Journalism digital publication covering media innovation. It links to links the first three underreported stories produced by project fellows in New York, Chicago and Boston.

The project’s video library is available for your perusal as well. And there are written reports for anyone who wants to dig deeper.

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Reminder: Our conference on the future of local news is tomorrow

A final reminder about our conference on the future of local news — a free, all-day event that will be held tomorrow (March 15) at Northeastern University. We’ll have sessions on topics ranging from data visualization to university-community partnerships, as well as a book talk by Ellen Clegg and me. We hope you can attend. Registration and more information is online here.

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Please join us for an all-day conference at Northeastern on the future of local news

Ellen Clegg and I want to share with you some news about a great upcoming event — a free, all-day conference that’s open to the public and will be held at Northeastern University on Friday, March 15. It’s called “What Works: The Future of Local News.” You can register and find more information by clicking here. You can come for all or part of it, and the day will include a light breakfast, a boxed lunch and a reception at the end of the day. Full details are in the flier below. We would love to see you there!

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Anti-smoking activist targets legalized sports gambling

I’m really glad to see that my Northeastern colleague Richard Daynard, the famed anti-smoking activist, is now taking on the scourge of legalized sports gambling. Aaron Pressman reports in The Boston Globe:

On Friday, Daynard was part of a team that filed a class-action lawsuit against DraftKings in Middlesex Superior court alleging the Boston company’s “$1,000 bonus” promotion for new sign-ups was deceptive advertising inducing people to use “a known addictive product.”

“I expect there will be other cases filed by us and by other people because, certainly, this DraftKings pitch is not the only misleading and deceptive pitch out there,” he said. “I’m sure in this state and other states, there are similarly misleading pitches.”

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Two daily newspapers in Rhode Island will merge

Photo (cc) 2023 by Dan Kennedy

Sad news coming out of Rhode Island, where two daily papers are being merged into one. Ian Donnis of The Public’s Radio reports that The Call of Woonsocket and The Times of Pawtucket will become The Blackstone Valley Call & Times as of Nov. 1. “Our commitment to being a daily news provider for Northern Rhode Island has not changed,” according to a story Donnis cited that was on the front page of The Call. The article referenced “current business trends and increases in printing costs” as the reasons behind the merger.

In addition, The Call’s Sunday edition will be discontinued, to be replaced with a Saturday weekend edition in the merged paper. And get this: Donnis writes, “Between them, The Call and The Times have two news reporters, two sports reporters and a photographer.” Now that is small. The papers are owned by Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers, which acquired them in 2007.

As I’ve written here before, I was a Northeastern co-op student at The Call from 1976-’78, working full-time for about a year in three- and six-month stints. The way co-op works is that you’re replaced by another student when the semester ends and it’s time to return to school. I alternated with Karen Bordeleau, a future executive editor at The Providence Journal who’s now at Arizona State University.

The Call was excellent, a place where I learned a lot under great mentorship. It’s sad to see what’s become of the paper, as well as The Times, but Woonsocket and Pawtucket are economically depressed cities, and they no longer reach out into the more affluent suburbs to the extent that they did at one time. According to U.S. Census data, the median household income in Pawtucket is $56,427, and in Woonsocket it’s $48,822. Both of those figures are well below the state median of $74,489.

In the mid-’70s, The Call covered what we referred to as “Call Country,” which comprised more than a dozen communities in northern Rhode Island and southern Worcester County. I don’t know what the circulation area is today. Nor do I know how many paid subscribers the papers have because the Alliance for Audited Media has ended instant access to those numbers.

Donnis doesn’t mention any layoffs, and it’s hard to see how they could get much smaller. I just hope the Call & Times will be able to at least do as good a job of serving their communities as the two separate papers do now.

Note: Ian has posted a correction on the ownership of the two papers, and I’ve updated this post accordingly.

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Northeastern’s leadership issues statement on the war between Israel and Hamas

Northeastern University has issued a statement about the war between Israel and Hamas. I’d like to share it with you:

To all Members of the Northeastern Community,

The terror and bloodshed inflicted by Hamas’s attacks on Israel are cause for the deepest sorrow and most vehement condemnation. As war now ravages Gaza and Israel, we mourn for all the innocent lives that have been lost. To the many members of our community directly affected by these horrific events, you have our utmost solidarity and support.

Three of our students who were in Israel at the time of the attacks are safe and secure. We are also in touch with students, faculty and staff with connections to the region to ensure their wellbeing in this traumatic time.

We realize that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ignites strong views on all sides. As an academic institution, we welcome peaceful dialogue and debate that is inclusive of all viewpoints. But we should all be united in our condemnation of terrorism and the killing of innocent civilians.

Northeastern is a global community of learning, and our fundamental values are rooted in knowledge over hate, harmony over division, and reason over brutality. These values will continue to guide us as we move forward together.

These resources are available to all who may need them during this painful time …

As we hope for a peaceful resolution to the violence and suffering, let us affirm our commitment to our shared values. Northeastern will always stand against hatred.

Sincerely,

Joseph E. Aoun
President

David Madigan
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Kenneth W. Henderson
Chancellor and Senior Vice President for Learning

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Student journalists are essential to knowing what’s taking place on campus

I just want to give a quick shoutout to our great student journalists at Northeastern. The Boston Globe published a story Monday about problems with NU Bound, a program under which our students begin their education at campuses outside of Boston — especially Oakland, California, and London. Students talk about running into a housing squeeze as well as a sense that they’ve fallen behind academically and socially, according to Globe reporter Vivi Smilgius.

The Huntington News, our independent student newspaper, posted an article that covered similar ground on Oct. 2. Written by Jackson Laramee, the story is especially strong on the different academic culture in London, where students are given little in the way of graded assignments and professors, according one student, are disorganized and short on preparation.

And let’s not overlook The Daily Free Press at Boston University, where student journalists published a comprehensive report on problems at Ibram X. Kendi’s Antiracist Research Center that had other media scrambling to catch up.

Student journalists are doing a great job, and their work is essential to understanding what is taking place on college campuses.

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What news stories should get more attention? My students have some answers.

Canadian wildfire smoke in Minneapolis, May 2023. Photo (cc) 2023 by Chad Davis.

One of my favorite exercises in my media ethics classes is to ask students to identify news stories that they think have been undercovered. They always come up with thought-provoking material. Some stories got little or no attention; others were covered a great deal, but perhaps not quite as much as they should have been or with the wrong emphasis. I’ve got a big class this fall, and I can’t share everything, but I thought you’d enjoy reading a few highlights.

Digging deeper on wildfires. How could this summer’s wildfires have been covered any more than they already were? Every day we saw smoky haze drifting in from Canada, on TV, on news sites and, needless to say, in real life. But did you know that air pollution from such fires in the past few years has been so pervasive that decades’ worth of progress on air quality was undone? And that doesn’t even count data from 2023. (Source: New York Times)

The aftermath of the Maui fires. Again, what more is there to know? Well, quite a lot, as it turns out. The media have moved on, but Hawaiians are continuing to cope with the deadly fires, which destroyed the historic city of Lahaina. Among other things, we still don’t know what, exactly, caused the fires, and Hawaii will remain vulnerable to such events in the future because climate change has made the islands hotter and drier. (Source: New York Times)

• Money for veterans is missing. Now here’s a story that I haven’t seen anywhere else. The Massachusetts Veterans of Foreign Wars is demanding that a judge order VFW Post 144 to produce its financial records so an audit can be conducted into money that the post has collected in recent years. According to the state VFW, several hundred thousand dollars is unaccounted for, and some of it was intended to help veterans in need. (Source: Universal Hub)

• An unnoticed border closing. While the border between the U.S. and Mexico remains the focus of political wrangling, there have been relatively few reports that the Dominican Republican has closed its border with Haiti. It’s a story of great interest in Boston, as the city is home to large communities of immigrants from both countries — prompting Boston Globe columnist Marcela García to write about the situation recently. (Source: Washington Post)

Mexico decriminalizes abortion. The Mexican Supreme Court ruled recently that laws criminalizing abortion were unconstitutional, a significant step forward for reproductive freedom in that country. And with a number of states in the U.S. outlawing abortion following the end of Roe v. Wade, we can expect that many American women will seek abortions south of the border. (Source: New York Times)

The tip of the iceberg. The whole world watched in revulsion when now-former Spanish soccer president Luis Rubiales kissed Jenni Hermosos on the lips without her consent after the Spanish women’s soccer team won the World Cup. But that was not all the athletes had to overcome. The team was in revolt against its coach, Jorge Vilda, and star player Alexia Putellas was hampered by injuries. Still, they persisted. (Source: New York Times)

Cheating low-paid workers. The San Francisco Unified School District failed to pay more than 800 of its lowest-paid workers this past July, telling them that a payroll screw-up meant that their compensation would be delayed for two weeks. Those affected — lunch servers, janitors and clerks — earn an average salary of between $55,000 and $64,000 a year in one of the highest-cost cities in the country. (Source: Mission Local)

The opioid epidemic continues. According to researchers, the opioid epidemic is now in the midst of a “fourth wave” because of the rise in fentanyl-related overdoses. The fentanyl crisis receives regular coverage, but the extent of it, driven by mixing fentanyl with stimulants such as cocaine or methamphetamine, is not widely understood. The crisis resulted in overdose deaths exceeding 100,000 in 2021, the first time it had passed the six-digit mark. (Source: NBC News)

• Misunderstanding sexual racism. The Boston Globe has covered several stories involving sexual assaults against Asian and Asian American women but, according to one of our students, mischaracterizes those assaults as hate crimes. They are that, of course, but our student says they should also be be understood as examples of sexual racism. To do otherwise “fundamentally misunderstands the way that Asian women experience racism in the U.S.” (Source: New York Times)

An incomplete education. Across the country, right-wing authorities in states and communities have banned what they call critical race theory (an esoteric concept generally taught in graduate school), resulting in less education about Black history. This has been especially apparent in Florida, where the Stop Woke Act signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis has made it nearly impossible for public schools to engage in a rational discussion about the legacy of slavery. (Source: Time)

There were other stories as well, about the devastating floods in Libya, the state of the Boston Public Schools, the lack of broadband internet in rural areas, the Canadian House speaker who resigned after ignorantly hailing a Ukrainian Nazi, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the ongoing crisis between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the possible end of DACA, the depletion of groundwater, and the rise of waterborne pathogens. It was an impressive list of stories, and I feel fortunate to be able to spend time with such great students.

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A bit more on Chris Licht

My Northeastern colleague Mike Beaudet and I spoke with Tanner Stening of Northeastern Global News about the meltdown at CNN, culminating earlier this week in the firing of CEO Chris Licht.

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