Events: Past

From the Newsroom to Hollywood: Matt Bai

Matt Bai

Matt Bai, author of "All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid" and former political columnist, discussed his transition to Hollywood screenwriting with Brandeis journalism students and faculty during his visit to Professor Neil Swidey's Reinventing Journalism class. Bai explained that, unlike in journalism, storytelling in screenwriting for feature films can reside outside the realms of truth and reality. "You cannot get knowledge of history from art," Bai said about the divide between journalism and screenwriting.

Bai's book, about the Gary Hart scandal where the media exposed the presumptive democratic presidential primary candidate's potential extramarital affair and pushed him out of the race, informed the topic of his first screenwriting project, "The Frontrunner."

Matt Shearer: TikTok and Journalism

Matt Shearer

Matt Shearer of WBZ and TikTok fame came to campus on March 14. His talk focused on finding fresh ways to tell true stories. Neil Swidey and Adriana Lacy moderated the discussion and fielded lots of questions from our students about Matt's innovative and often hilarious work. Photo by Khimaya Bagla.

Murder in Boston

Ann Silvio, Evan Allen, Adrian Walker, and Neil Swidey

On March 7, we welcomed Globe reporters Adrian Walker and Evan Allen to the Brandeis campus. The discussion focused on the remarkable podcast and narrative series they produced with their colleagues, reexamining the Carol DiMaiti Stuart murder three decades later. Neil Swidey and Ann Silvio kicked things off but soon handed the mic over to our journalism students, since they had no shortage of smart questions. It was a serious discussion, but Evan and Adrian's easy rapport also produced plenty of lighter moments. Photo by student Khimaya Bagla.

The Hunt for the COVID Vaccine

April 5, 2022

photograph of the book coverWall Street Journal writer, bestselling author, and 1988 Brandeis grad Gregory Zuckerman discussed his new book, "A Shot to Save the World: The Inside Story of the Life-or-Death Race for a COVID-19 Vaccine" with the Brandeis Journalism Program at 2p.m. Tuesday, April 5.

Named one of the best books of 2021 by The Economist, The Financial Times and the New York Post, Zuckerman’s book was published by PenguinRandomHouse and optioned by HBO. His previous bestselling books include "The Man Who Saved the Market." 

The webinar, held in conjunction with the Brandeis Journalism Program’s new course on Science Journalism, the Pandemic and Disinformation, also feature an introduction by President Ron Liebowitz. A recording of the talk will be available here shortly.

A.B.I.: Always Be Investigating

March 21, 2022

"Frontline" producer Michael Kirk joined Ann Silvio’s Documentary Journalism class on March 21. Kirk is a multi-award winning producer, writer, and documentarian — covering a vast array of investigative topics, including a most recent episode chronicling Putin’s Road to War.  He also produced a documentary called Pelosi's Power that premiered on March 22. Kirk discussed his career and took questions from Brandeis students.

Conversation with Betsy West

March 7, 2022

photograph of Betsy WestBetsy West joined the Brandeis Journalism Program in an online discussion of the new documentary, "My Name is Pauli Murray." West co-directed the film, which tells the story of Murray's life. Murray, a lawyer and former Brandeis professor, was a lifelong activist for racial and gender equality. Known for having friends in high places — including James Baldwin, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Eleanor Roosevelt, Langston Hughes, and many more — Murray tended to exercise her influence behind the scenes. Now, through West's film, Murray's legacy is being rediscovered.

West also be discussed her other films, including "RBG," "The Lavender Scare" and "Julia."

This Brandeis forum took place at 3-4 p.m. March 7 in conjunction with Ann Silvio's course, Documentary Journalism: Reporting and Storytelling for Broadcast. 

West's visit is sponsored by the Dean of Arts and Sciences, the American Studies program and the Journalism Program.

My Name Is Pauli Murray: Watch Party

February 28, 2022

Image of poster for Pauli Murray FilmIn preparation for Betsy West joining Ann Silvio's Documentary Journalism: Reporting and Storytelling for Broadcast course at 3-4 March 7, the Brandeis community was invited to a screening of "My Name Is Pauli Murray," a documentary West co-directed, at 7-9 p.m. Feb. 28 in Schwartz 112. The film tells the story of Murray's life. Murray, a lawyer and former Brandeis professor, was a lifelong activist for racial and gender equality. Known for having friends in high places — including James Baldwin, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Eleanor Roosevelt, Langston Hughes, and many more — Murray tended to exercise her influence behind the scenes. Now, through West's film, Murray's legacy is being rediscovered. 

The event was sponsored by the Dean of Arts and Sciences, the American Studies Program, and the Journalism Program.

Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan Speak in JOUR 89a

November 17, 2021

Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalists (and married couple) spoke to Fred Barbash's journalism class Contemporary Media: Internship and Analysis via Zoom at 12:15 p.m. Nov. 17. They discussed their varied careers, from local reporting to foreign correspondent postings in Mexico City, Tokyo and London. All members of the Brandeis Journalism community were welcome to attend. For more details, see December Newsletter.

Astead W. Herndon Joins JOUR 113a

October 19, 2021

The New York Times national political reporter Astead W. Herndon met with Neil Swidey's JOUR 113A Long-form Journalism: Storytelling for Magazines and Podcasts on Oct. 19. For more details, see December Newsletter.

Gillian Flynn Joins JOUR 114b

October 12, 2021

Gillian Flynn, the journalist-turned-novelist-turned-screenwriter behind "Gone Girl," visited Josh Wolk's Arts Journalism, Pop Culture and Digital Innovation course at 3:30 p.m  Oct. 12 in Olin-Sang 101.  For more details, see October newsletter.

Dave Jorgenson Joins JOUR 89A

October 6, 2021

The Washington Post's "TikTok Guy" and executive producer Dave Jorgenson joined Fred Barbash's JOUR 89A 1 Contemporary Media: Internship and Analysis. For details, see October newsletter.

Spring 2021: Notable Speakers Join Brandeis Journalism Classes

photo of Ann ScalesThe Journalism Program has welcomed some very accomplished guest speakers to classes this semester, with many more to come. Neil Swidey’s Science Journalism & the Pandemic course hosted Ann Scales, a former White House correspondent and newsroom editor who is now the director of media relations for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. She spoke about her experiences being on the front lines of public health communications during a pandemic. And she shared insights about what she has learned from being a journalist and then someone whose job it is to field questions from journalists. 

photo of Alvin ChangAlvin Chang is a leader in data visualization and explainer videos, now with The Guardian. He previously worked for Vox, ESPN and other newsrooms. He spoke to students about the art and science of storytelling through data. 

photo of Swati SharmaSwati Sharma is the newly named editor-in-chief of Vox Media who was most recently managing editor of The Atlantic. She discussed her work as a newsroom leader in both audience development and explanatory journalism.  Swati Sharma, also discussed her track record as a leader in both audience development and explanatory journalism.

photo of Lisa TuiteLisa Tuite is the retired longtime The Boston Globe head librarian who played a key behind-the-scenes role in the investigation depicted in the movie "Spotlight." She stressed to students that they have a wealth of free resources available through the Brandeis Library, especially the powerful database favored by journalists, Nexis Uni. Students can find that database here.

Journalism through the Lens of New Media

March 23, 2021

photograph of Anne Kornblut

Anne Kornblut, Head of Global Curation for Facebook and a Pulitzer Prize-winning former editor and reporter at The Washington Post, spoke about journalism through the lens of new media — and legacy media. 

February 4, 2021

Israel in the Spanish-speaking Media: The Case of Latina Entrepreneurship

HBI Project on Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies

Participants joined LAJGS in conversation with Leah Soibel, Fuente Latina founder and CEO, and Susanne Althoff, journalist and author of "Launching While Female" (2020).

The event addressed the entrepreneurial and journalistic aspect of Fuente Latina’s mission to bring Israeli news coverage to a global Hispanic audience, exploring Leah Soibel’s role as a Latina entrepreneur and the organization's women's centered journalism programs. A recording of the event is available.

Co-sponsors: Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis International Business School, Brandeis Journalism Program

Moderated by Dalia Wassner, PhD, Director, HBI Project in Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies


  • Leah Soibel, founder and CEO of Fuente Latina, is a Hispanic American and Israeli who has more than a decade of experience on the ground in Israel, the U.S, Latin America and Spain working with Spanish-language journalists and opinion leaders from around the world.
  • Susanne Althoff, Assistant Professor at Emerson College and past editor-in-chief of Boston Globe Magazine, is author of "Launching While Female: Smashing the System that Holds Women Entrepreneurs Back" (Beacon Press, 2020).
Wesley Morris

Photo Credit: Chad Batka, courtesy of the New York Times

Examining Intersectionality, Identity and Black Culture in America with Wesley Morris of The New York Times

November 18, 2020

Wesley Morris, the Pulitzer winning culture writer, critic and podcast host for the New York Times, as well as one of the featured writers on the "1619 Project," spoke at Brandeis 5:30-7 p.m. via Zoom. Co-sponsored by African and African American Studies with the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences, American Studies, and the Mandel Center for Humanities. Student moderators Kwesi Jones, Monica Keel, Lesedi Lerato Mataboge, and Sophie Brill Weitz led the discussion and then fielded questions from the audience. The moderators are featured below.

Watch the Video

Examining Intersectionality: Student Moderators

November 18, 2020

Student moderators Kwesi Jones, Monica Keel, Lesedi Lerato Mataboge, and Sophie Brill Weitz led the discussion and then fielded questions from the audience. 

photograph of Kwesi Jones

Kwesi Jones: Senior, double-major in Film & Television and African/African-American Studies.  photograph of Monica KeelMonica Keel: Graduate student in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.  She double majored in Spanish & French, and minored in Sociology at Manhattanville College. 

photograph of Lesedi Lerato MatabogeLesedi Lerato Mataboge: First-year student with an interest in  a major in Politics with minors in Legal Studies, Studio Art, and Journalism. 

Photograph of Sophie Brill WeitzSophie Brill Weitz: Senior, Education Studies major and triple minors in Journalism; Creativity, the Arts, & Social Transformation; and Social Justice and Social Policy.

Campaign 2020: Yes, Historians Will Be Writing About It

October 14, 2020

The late publisher of The Washington Post once famously described journalism as the “first rough draft of history.” On the eve of the second presidential debate, join Brandeis journalism professors Eileen McNamara and Maura Jane Farrelly as they attempt to write a very rough draft of the 2020 presidential campaign and how it may be understood by future Americans. You may find a recording of the event.

Watch the Video

Photograph of Alex Goldstein with Ayanna Pressley

Alex Goldstein with Ayanna Pressley During Her Campaign

Meet the Minor: Alex Goldstein '06

September 30, 2020

Meet the Minor Night featured
Ayanna Pressley advisor Alex Goldstein ’06


The "Meet the Journalism Minor Night" featured noted political strategist Alex Goldstein ’06. Alex Goldstein attributes a big part of his success in the political world to learning how to think like a journalist during his time at Brandeis. As the founder and CEO of the political strategy firm 90 West, Goldstein played a leading role in the groundbreaking campaign of Ayanna Pressley, the first woman of color elected to Congress from Massachusetts. He previously served as a senior advisor to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who was the first elected African-American governor in state history — and only the second in U.S. history. More recently, Goldstein started the Faces of COVID, an ambitious initiative to provide intimate portraits of the thousands of lives lost to the pandemic. Watch Goldstein’s recent segment on MSNBC about the initiative.