Danny Schechter, a 1978 Nieman fellow, is a journalist, author, television producer and independent filmmaker who also writes and speaks about media issues. He is currently the executive editor of MediaChannel.org, the world’s largest online media issues online network, and recipient of many awards including the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2001 Award for Excellence in Documentary Journalism.
His latest film is “IN DEBT WE TRUST: America Before The Bubble Bursts,” an
investigation of the impact of credit and debt on American society. He has produced and directed many TV specials and documentary films, including
2004’s “WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception),” about the media coverage of the Iraq War; “Counting on Democracy” (2002), about the electoral fiasco in Florida, narrated by Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee; the post 9-11 film “We Are Family” (2002) shown at the Sundance Film Festival; “Nkosi: A Voice of Africa’s AIDS Orphans” (2001), narrated by Danny Glover; “A Hero for All: Nelson Mandela’s Farewell” (l999); “Beyond Life: Timothy Leary Lives” (1997); “Sowing Seeds/Reaping Peace: The World of Seeds of Peace” (1996); “Prisoners of Hope: Reunion on Robben Island” (1995, co-directed by Barbara Kopple); “Countdown to Freedom: Ten Days that Changed South Africa” (1994), narrated by James Earl Jones and Alfre Woodard; “Sarajevo Ground Zero” (1993); “The Living Canvas” (1992), narrated by Billy Dee Williams; “Beyond JFK: The Question of Conspiracy” (1992, co-directed by Marc Levin and Barbara Kopple); “Give Peace a Chance” (1991); “Mandela in America” (1990); “The Making of Sun City” (1987); and “Student Power” (1968).
Schechter is co-founder and executive producer of Globalvision, a New York–based television and film production company now in its 18th year. He founded and execproduced the series “South Africa Now” and co-produced “Rights & Wrongs: Human Rights Television.” He has specialized in investigative reporting and programming about the interrelationship between human rights, journalism, popular music and society.
His career as the “News Dissector” began at Boston’s leading rock station, WBCN. Later he moved into television as an on-camera reporter for WGBH (Channel 2), in Boston, and then as a producer for WLVI (Channel 56) and WCVB (Channel 5). Schechter then joined the start-up team of CNN and later became a producer for ABC NEWS 20/20. He produced 50 segments for ABC and won two national Emmys, and was nominated for two others.
He is the author of eight books, including The Death of the Media (Melville Press); When News Lies: Media Complicity and the Iraq War (Select Books); Embedded: Weapons of Mass Deception: How the Media Failed to Cover the War on Iraq (Prometheus Books, October 2003); Media Wars: News at a Time of Terror (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003); The More You Watch, The Less You Know (Seven Stories Press) and News Dissector: Passions, Pieces and Polemics, 1960–2000 (Akashic Books and Electron Press).
A Cornell University graduate, he received his Master’s degree from the London School of Economics, and an honorary doctorate from Fitchburg College. After college, he was a full-time civil rights worker and then communications director of the Northern Student Movement, and worked as a community organizer in a Saul Alinsky–style War on Poverty program. Then, moving from the streets to the suites, Schechter served as an assistant to the mayor of Detroit in 1966 on a Ford Foundation grant.
Schechter has reported from 51 countries and lectured at scores of schools and universities, from Harvard to Hamline, from Minnesota to MIT, NYU to Georgia State, Santa Monica to the University of Hawaii, Princeton to Cornell.
He was an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia
University and taught investigative reporting at the New School. Schechter’s writing has appeared in leading newspapers and magazines, including The Nation, Newsday, The Boston Globe, Columbia Journalism Review, Media Studies Journal, Detroit Free Press, Village Voice, Tikkun, and Z, among others.
Goodbye to Mike Wallace and the news era he led
COMMENTARY | April 09, 2012
Danny Schechter’s recollections of lessons learned by watching Wallace at work. Wallace’s success, he writes, “often lay in the questions he hurled, not the answers he received.”
A writer's appeal to the UN: Treat the global financial crisis as a human rights crisis
COMMENTARY | March 13, 2012
Danny Schechter, a man of many journalistic talents, discusses being asked by an NGO in Geneva to testify about his findings – in this case, findings that issue a challenge to the U.N.
A media failure compounds the financial failure
COMMENTARY | October 23, 2009
The press is still missing the story of fraud that has taken place, avoids reporting the ‘hollowing out’ of the middle class, and pretty much has its eyes closed to the economic decline that almost certainly lies ahead, writes Danny Schechter.
Stop killing kids softly with loan rip-offs
COMMENTARY | April 17, 2007
Danny Schechter sees student loans as a noose around the neck – a collision between desire for a college education and an $85 billion-a-year industry with substantial corruption.
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