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Book Night: ‘Second Thoughts: On Family, Friendship, Faith and Writers’ – An OPC Chat with Stephen B. Shepard
Join the OPC for virtual cocktails and conversation with author and journalist Stephen B. Shepard to discuss his book, Second Thoughts: On Family, Friendship, Faith and Writers. Shepard was editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek, the founding dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York, a senior editor at Newsweek, and co-founder of the Knight-Bagehot Fellowships at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
In writing the book, Shepard said he hoped to gain new understanding about the family of his boyhood; greater meaning about today’s journalism as it copes with profound change; new thoughts about the Jewishness he once rejected; renewed pleasure in re-reading fiction that matters; and deep understanding of male friendship.
In the chapter titled “The New World of Journalism,” Shepard describes how he and other traditional journalists took pride in acting as “trustworthy gatekeepers,” only to find themselves criticized in the digital revolution as being biased elitists. “We were dethroned, like some ancient monarch.” As social media grew, roughly half of all traditional journalists lost their jobs.
Shepard believes technological change must be kept in perspective. “The new technologies, as dazzling as they seem, are but a means to an overriding end. And that end is journalism.” In an era of media fragmentation, he stresses that in-depth reporting, community engagement and analysis are desperately needed. “I believe, in the smithy of my soul, that even if the medium ultimately changes—and it will—the intellectual need, the human need, for thoughtful journalism will never, ever go away.”
OPC President Paula Dwyer will lead the discussion.
RSVPs are essential. Please register now to receive a Zoom link via email about an hour before the program.