Tag Archives: Boston University

Monday round-up

By Christopher B. Daly

Good Monday, readers!

–As so often happens, first up is B.U. Prof. David Carr.

His latest Media Equation column heralds the re-vitalization of The Washington Post under big-spending owner Jeff Bezos. Hooray for new money in the news business. Personally, I am very pleased to see my old

Katie Zezima Mediabistro

Katie Zezima

employer having the resources and the sense to hire smart young journalists like BU alumna Katie Zezima, now part of the Post’s political coverage team — covering the White House, no less — after her stints at the NYTimes and the AP. Good luck to the Post’s owner (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos) and the paper’s top editor (Marty Baron).

–Sticking with the Times for a moment, here is the Public Editor’s recent comment on the big flap between Amazon and Hachette, involving many writers on both sides.

Can someone help me get to the bottom of this issue? Is there a “good guy” in this fight? Who is really on the side of authors? Are all authors in the same boat?

–Interesting piece here about the European approach to archiving material on the Internet. Even better is 140929_r25505-320this recent New Yorker piece by Jeffrey Toobin.

–Delighted to see Peter Canellos, after being unceremoniously released by the Boston Globe, has landed an important new job at Politico. Why is Politico thriving? Maybe it’s because they hire talented people. . . (On the other hand, Politico has some of the most vicious comment-ers on the Internet, so if you want to hear “the other side” about Canellos, just read the comments. Phew!)

–The radio show “This American Life” by Ira Glass has launched a terrific new audio narrative that they are 537_lgcalling “Serial.” It is described as a “spin-off” and is available as a podcast. I listened to the debut installment this weekend, reported by Sarah Koenig and a team. It’s a terrific tale of the reporting of a doubtful prosecution of a “convicted murderer.” It ended on a real cliff-hanger, leaving me ready for more.

–The always worthwhile NPR program “On the Media” delivered again this weekend. I particularly enjoyed this piece on the work of Craig Silverman, the founder of the site “Regret the Error,” which paid attention to the neglected subject of news media carrcorrections. His latest cause: tracking rumors as they emerge online, at his new side Emergent.info. Good luck with that, Craig.

–The Nieman Journalism Lab asks “What’s up with those 100 layoffs in the New York Times newsroom?” Ken Doctor has some answers.

–History keeps happening: the culture wars shift ground to the teaching of history. Conservatives don’t like the new guidelines for teaching Advance Placement U.S. history courses in high school. Part of their beef is that the new approach, devised by “revisionist” left-wing academic historians, dwells too heavily on America’s faults. Imperiling our sense of patriotism (Is that really the take-away kids are supposed to get from studying history), this new approach focuses too much on negative stuff, like protests.

So, how do smart high school kids respond? THEY PROTEST!

I’d say that shows they have already learned something!


Leave a comment

Filed under AP history, history, Journalism, journalism history

To all student journalists: Stay Safe!

By Christopher B. Daly 

Are you a student journalist? Are you being asked to get out of the classroom and “learn by doing” through street reporting?

Are you a journalism professor? Do you send your students out to cover real events?

If so, you should know about a program we are developing in the Journalism Department at Boston University called “Stay Safe.”

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 11.01.42 AM








Here’s an introduction, based on a panel discussion we held in September for more than 100 students.

The idea is simple: When the April 2013 Boston Marathon turned in an instant from a feel-good feature story into a violent tragedy, many of us on the Journalism faculty realized that we need to do a better job to train our students in basic safety techniques. Working with veteran correspondents from our own faculty, as well as front-line professional reporters and photographers, we are trying to distill the hard-won experience of covering wars, riots, fires, blizzards, and other forms of mayhem into a set of practical guidelines. Before our students venture out again, we want to make sure they go out there equipped with the “best practices” we can share with them.

Have a look at the video. Still to come: a permanent space on the BU Journalism website with guidelines, training videos, links, and a display of recommended gear for all student journalists.

If you have suggestions, please leave them in the comments here, or email Chris Daly: chrisdaly44@gmail.com.

Thanks. . .  and stay safe!

Boston University journalism student Kiva Liu, working near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, moments before two bombs exploded.

Boston University journalism student Kiva Liu, working near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, moments before two bombs exploded. She survived.

1 Comment

Filed under Boston, broadcasting

College rankings

are obviously problematic, but not when they make your own school look good. Here is a recent global survey, weighted toward schools whose graduates are in demand in the worldwide economy.

It was no surprise, I suppose, that the top 5 were, in order: Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, Oxford, and Stanford. What came as a pleasant surprise was the No. 17 global ranking for the school where I teach, BOSTON UNIVERSITY. 

In fact, if you go through this list just looking at U.S. schools, the schools rank this way:

Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT, Columbia, Princeton, and then . . .  B.U.!

That would make B.U. the seventh-best university in America (at least in the eyes of the “thousands of recruiters” who participated in this survey, which was “compiled by Emerging, a human resources consultancy based in Paris, and Trendence, an institute that researches employer branding, personal marketing and recruitment” — pardon me, but I think I am allergic to half the words in that description of those two outfits).

This all sounds very sketchy, but I have to admit that I like the results.


1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Presidential debate: The global perspective

By Christopher B. Daly

I had the opportunity to watch the presidential debate last night with a unique group of non-voters: a dozen grad students enrolled in the Journalism Dept at Boston University. I teach all of these great young people in a special class for the new students from overseas.


As you can see, they were really dialed in and asked great questions.


I think quite a few of them were perplexed by Obama’s disappointing performance (but were too polite to dump on him!).

Note to academic advisers: tell your students not to take classes with professors whose eyes are shut.

Leave a comment

Filed under Journalism, Politics

Narrative (cont.)

It’s always heartening to see a good account of an event that you attended in person. Here is a story about the recent conference on narrative non-fiction at Boston University, written by Andrea Pitzer for the Nieman Storyboard.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

OPTIMISM AND JOURNALISM (in the same headline!)

By Chris Daly

I had the good fortune to attend the annual Conference on Narrative Non-Fiction, hosted at Boston University. It was a gathering of the tribe of people who do (and think about and care about) narrative non-fiction, long-form journalism, or any of the allied arts.

I was struck by the comments of Ken Auletta, the indispensable chronicler of the media business. Unlike a lot of the panelists, Auletta, a veteran New Yorker writer, said he saw reasons for optimism in the current situation. With his permission, I want to share his 14 reasons to look on the bright side:

1. e-books (which eliminate all the impediments associated with printing and distributing books — plus, no returns!)

2. (Apologies: I can’t read Auletta’s handwriting on this one, and it didn’t register as a separate item in my own notes.)

3. The Web puts a virtual library at every writer’s fingertips, greatly speeding up the pace and bringing down the cost of doing research.

4. Google books, which is bringing out-of-print books back to life.

5. Apps, which are teaching people that they should expect to pay for content.

6. Multimedia tools for story-tellers. (Auletta cited the pioneering use of video by the NYT in Art Buchwald’s obit)

7. The old media are beginning to “lean in” and engage with new tools and social media, rather than always deciding to “lean back” and feel sorry for themselves.

8. Writers have more platforms than ever before, so writers can pick the one that best fits a particular project.

9. The media have become more democratic, since readers now have a voice, which they can use for (among other things) contributing reports from places where there are no journalists.

10. Because the media are two-way, readers can help with fact-checking.

11. Because the media are two-way, readers can also help with suggesting story ideas. (“Hey, Auletta, why don’t you look into …”)

12. Blogging gives content-creators more options.

13. Links allow readers to find our work in all sorts of ways; they can stumble on something they didn’t already “subscribe” to.

14. The speed of publication allows some old media (like books) to keep up with developments in a way they never could hope to when it took 12 months to get a book into stores.

It’s quite a list, and many thanks to Ken Auletta for A), coming up with it, and B), sharing it.

Photos next:

Leave a comment

Filed under Journalism

Narrative conference

By Chris Daly

Boston University was the epicenter of thinking about narrative non-fiction last weekend. Great talks by Gay Talese, Bill Keller, Buzz (Fucking) Bissinger, Adam Hochschild and others — including a couple of brilliant speakers from the other side of the street, novelists Ha Jin and Allegra Goodman.

A favorite moment: seeing Gay Talese sitting in the right-field bleachers at Fenway. I snapped this shot with my phone camera. Next to Talese is the writer Isabel Wilkerson (the main organizer of the conference); taking his seat is our dean, Tom Fiedler.

As the sign says, "Make something great."

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized