Which Lives Matter in the News: A Call for a Truer Mirror

David T. Z. Mindich, Ph.D. Professor and Chair, Dept. of Journalism, Temple University

Video link:

David Mindich @ Dartmouth, Wright Center for Computation & Just Communities


David T. Z. Mindich

Mindich is  the chair of the journalism department at the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University; before that, he was a journalism professor at Saint Michael's College in Vermont, where he served nearly a decade as chair.  The author of two books and numerous articles, Mindich was named Vermont Professor of the Year in 2006. For the 2015-2016 academic year, he was on sabbatical, living in New York City and working as a visiting scholar at New York University.

Before becoming a professor, Mindich worked as an assignment editor for CNN and earned a doctorate in American Studies from New York University. He has written articles for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wilson Quarterly, Columbia Journalism Review and other publications. He is the author of Just the Facts: How "Objectivity" Came to Define American Journalism and Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News (Oxford University Press, 2005), a book Walter Cronkite called "very important....a handbook for the desperately needed attempt to inspire in the young generation a curiosity that generates the news habit."  

Since the publication of Tuned Out, Mindich has given talks about young people and news to media groups (including the New York Times and USA Today) and at schools around the country.

Mindich founded Jhistory, an Internet group for journalism historians, in 1994. In 1998-1999, he was head of the History Division of the AEJMC. In 2002, the AEJMC awarded Mindich the Krieghbaum Under-40 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research, Teaching and Public Service.  In 2006, CASE and the Carnegie Foundation named Mindich the Vermont Professor of the Year. In 2011, he was named New England Journalism Educator of the Year by the New England Newspaper & Press Association.

Mindich had a recent radio appearance: Behind the Bylines: Advocacy Journalism in America.



On his first day as an assignment editor for CNN, David T. Z. Mindich was told that a fire in a welfare hotel does not have the same news value as a fire in the Waldorf Hotel.  This provoked a decades-long investigation of news values, including how journalism is impacted by national identity, bigotry, and what Mindich calls "cultural proximity."  The author of a book on journalistic objectivity, Mindich will outline how battles between "fake news" and truth played out in the coverage of lynching in the 1890s, pitting mainstream journalists against the crusading reporter Ida B. Wells.  These issues are still current today, in the era of BLM, George Floyd, and the calls to tell more inclusive and truthful stories.