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Dan Kennedy
Dan Kennedy is an associate professor of journalism at Northeastern University in Boston and a nationally known media commentator who writes for the Nieman Journalism Lab,, the Huffington Post and other publications. He is a panelist on Beat the Press, an award-winning weekly media roundtable on WGBH-TV. A former media columnist for the Guardian, CommonWealth magazine and the Boston Phoenix, he is a past winner of the National Press Club's Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism. His most recent book, The Wired City: Reimagining Journalism and Civic Life in the Post-Newspaper Age (University of Massachusetts, 2013), is an examination of the New Haven Independent and other local and regional news sites.

Entries by Dan Kennedy

News for the Newsless: Snapchat Seeks to Become the Anti-Twitter for the Young and the Underinformed

(1) Comments | Posted October 2, 2015 | 8:09 AM

Two years ago, then-CNN reporter Peter Hamby lamented the negative effect he believed Twitter and other social media were having on presidential campaign coverage. In a 95-page research paper (pdf) he wrote while he was a fellow at Harvard's Shorenstein Center, Hamby put it this way:

With Instagram and Twitter-primed...

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The Real Battle Over Ad-Blocking Is Between Big Tech And Independent Media

(3) Comments | Posted September 24, 2015 | 9:25 AM

The stakes in the raging battle over ad-blocking software are high -- but they're not quite what you might think.

On the surface, it all seems straightforward enough. In one corner are executives at struggling news organizations who want to be sure that visitors to their websites actually see the...

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Will the Media Call Out Donald Trump on His Anti-Vaxxer Nonsense?

(79) Comments | Posted September 18, 2015 | 10:18 AM

By any reasonable standard of what constitutes acceptable public discourse, Donald Trump's presidential campaign should have ended on Wednesday at about 10:50 p.m.

That's when he set his extravagantly sprayed hair on fire by indulging in some truly dangerous myths about vaccines. It was, by any measure, a deeply irresponsible exercise....

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No, Donald Trump Did Not Tell Bill O'Reilly That the 14th Amendment Is Unconstitutional

(9) Comments | Posted August 20, 2015 | 9:39 AM

My Facebook feed is filling up with posts from liberal friends informing me that Donald Trump is, among many other bad things, an ignoramus when it comes to the Constitution.

Trump allegedly stepped in it on Tuesday, telling Bill O'Reilly of Fox News that the 14th Amendment wouldn't necessarily...

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Ballot Selfies, Perverts and Censorship: Presenting the 2015 New England Muzzle Awards

(0) Comments | Posted July 6, 2015 | 8:49 AM

A New Hampshire legislator who sponsored a bill making it a crime for voters to post "ballot selfies" on social media. A Massachusetts district attorney who told members of Congress that online privacy measures would only serve to protect terrorists and sexual deviants. A Maine principal who

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Ed Markey's Hate-Speech Bill Earns Him Top Spot in 2014 New England Muzzle Awards

(0) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 12:08 PM

US Senator Ed Markey doesn't seem like your typical enemy of free speech. Progressive and amiable, the Massachusetts Democrat is known mainly for speaking up on behalf of liberal causes such as fighting climate change and preserving funding for public broadcasting.

Earlier this year, though, Markey sponsored a bill

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Aaron Kushner's Latest Cuts Raise Serious Doubts About His Orange County Venture

(4) Comments | Posted June 4, 2014 | 1:14 PM

If you're going to make an audacious bet on the future of newspapers, as Aaron Kushner did with the Orange County Register, then it stands to reason that you should have enough money in the bank to be able to wait and see how it plays out.

Kushner, unfortunately, is now...

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The View From New Haven: What Went Wrong With Digital First

(0) Comments | Posted April 2, 2014 | 4:19 PM

The end may be near for one of the most widely watched experiments in local journalism.

Early today, Ken Doctor reported at the Nieman Journalism Lab that Digital First Media was pulling the plug on Project Thunderdome, an initiative to provide national and international content to the...

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Does Aaron Kushner Have Enough Money to Go the Distance?

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2014 | 7:15 PM

Has Orange County Register owner Aaron Kushner run into nothing more than a bit of turbulence from which he can recover? Or do the layoffs he announced last week show that his plan to resuscitate the newspaper business by hiring more journalists and doubling down on print is fundamentally...

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What Ezra Klein's Possible Departure Illustrates About the Future of News

(4) Comments | Posted January 7, 2014 | 11:11 AM

What should a 21st-century news organization look like? A single entity, run from the top, with a common set of values? Or a loose network of related projects, sharing a brand and to some extent a mission but operating semi-independently?

With the likely departure of Ezra Klein from The Washington...

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A Compelling Case for 'Knowledge-Based Journalism'

(1) Comments | Posted December 18, 2013 | 10:07 AM

In the early 1990s the media identified an existential threat: violent crime. Sparked by high-profile cases such as the murder of a 12-year-old girl, Polly Klaas, and the fatal shooting of six passengers on a train in Long Island, news outlets from local television to Time magazine...

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Four Takeaways From John Henry's Message to Boston Globe Readers

(1) Comments | Posted October 28, 2013 | 5:54 PM

John Henry's nearly 2,900-word message to readers of the Boston Globe could have been little more than an exercise in public relations, standing up for what is good and deploring what is bad.

There's a lot of that, of course. We're only into the second paragraph before he dutifully...

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What Happened at the Guardian Could Happen in the U.S., Too

(30) Comments | Posted August 20, 2013 | 10:54 AM

As you have no doubt already heard, Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, wrote on Monday that British security agents recently visited the newspaper's headquarters and insisted that hard drives containing leaked documents from Edward Snowden be smashed and destroyed in their presence. The incident, Rusbridger said, took place...

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Some Pressing Questions for New Boston Globe Owner John Henry

(2) Comments | Posted August 3, 2013 | 11:04 AM

The speculation had been building since Wednesday, when the Boston Globe reported that Red Sox principal owner John Henry had restructured his bid to buy the paper.

It reached a peak on Friday afternoon, when legendary baseball reporter Peter Gammons -- himself a Globe alumnus -- posted a...

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If Edward Snowden Is in Trouble, So Is Journalism

(20) Comments | Posted June 12, 2013 | 12:04 PM

The editors of the New York Times appear to have forgotten an important principle: The First Amendment is for all of us, and does not grant any special privileges to the institutional press. Thus if Edward Snowden is prosecuted for leaking classified documents about the National Security Agency's secret surveillance...

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The Boy Scouts' Half-Measure May Hasten the End of Discrimination

(32) Comments | Posted May 24, 2013 | 8:30 AM

The compromise announced by the Boy Scouts of America on Thursday is untenable. And that is precisely why it's good news.

More than 60 percent of the organization's national leadership voted to approve a policy ending discrimination against openly gay scouts while keeping in place the ban against gay...

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Beyond the Tea Party: How the IRS Is Killing Nonprofit Media

(7) Comments | Posted May 16, 2013 | 12:33 PM

Outrage over the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of Tea Party and other right-wing groups continues to boil -- yet a potentially more consequential IRS practice has scarcely gained any attention.

Over the past few years the IRS has virtually stopped approving 501(c)(3) status for nonprofit news organizations. Given the...

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Media to President: You're a Liberal!

(26) Comments | Posted February 13, 2013 | 7:51 AM

The state of the union may or may not be strong, but the State of the Union was liberal.

That was the view of media commentators from the left, right and center the morning after President Barack Obama delivered his fourth State of the Union address. The president called...

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Aaron Swartz, Carmen Ortiz and the American System of Justice

(36) Comments | Posted January 13, 2013 | 7:43 PM

The suicide of Internet activist Aaron Swartz has prompted a wave of revulsion directed at U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, who was seeking to put him in prison for 35 years on charges that he illegally downloaded millions of academic articles.

Swartz, 26, who helped develop the RSS standard and was a...

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The Demise of Boston Talk and the Ongoing Collapse of Corporate Radio

(15) Comments | Posted January 3, 2013 | 7:52 AM

At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jim Braude and Margery Eagan signed off for the last time from the morning talk show they had hosted on Boston's WTKK Radio. A few minutes later, the station reemerged as Power 96.9, a faceless entity blasting out robo-music of some sort. And Boston found...

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