Hall of Fame
Nicholas Daniloff, a professor at the Northeastern University School of Journalism and already a member of the New England Newspaper and Press Association’s Hall of Fame, has been named the 2013 winner of the NENPA Journalism Educator of the Year Award.
Daniloff will be recognized at the awards luncheon at the New England Newspaper Conference Oct. 10 in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Natick, Mass.
“He stands for some of the best standards of journalism, and he has been able to pass that on to younger generations,” Stephen Burgard, director of the journalism school at Northeastern, said in an interview with the Bulletin.
Daniloff said in a separate
interview with the Bulletin that winning the award came as a “pleasant
surprise … Being given an award by NENPA is quite a thrill.”
Daniloff was released and allowed to leave the Soviet Union after lengthy negotiations between the Reagan administration and the Soviet government that traded Daniloff for a member of the Soviet Union’s U.N. mission, Gennadi Zakharov. Zakharov had been arrested for alleged espionage in the United States, just before Daniloff was taken into custody in Russia.
Daniloff’s experience has been chronicled in The New Yorker, The New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, and other publications.
When Daniloff returned to Washington from his release in Moscow, he took a leave of absence to write a book. He wrote and had published “Two Lives, One Russia,” in part an account of his arrest in Moscow.
Also while Daniloff was on leave, Northeastern offered him a teaching position in its School of Journalism.
It was an “offer (I) couldn’t refuse,” Daniloff said.
He began teaching at Northeastern’s School of Journalism in 1989, and was director of the school from 1992 to 1999.
During his time as director of the journalism program, Daniloff was a member of the board of directors of the New England Press Association, which is now part of the New England Newspaper and Press Association, and helped to strengthen the pre-existing ties between Northeastern and the association.
Burgard said the association’s relationship with Northeastern that Daniloff nurtured during his time as director of its journalism program has been key to helping the journalism school develop as an academic program with strong ties to the “real world.”
As a result, in part, of Daniloff’s advocacy for maintaining and strengthening Northeastern’s relationship with the association, Northeastern journalism students have instant access to practical training and hands-on work in the field.
The gap between the worlds of professional reporting and of academia can be broad: “Journalists have a sense of urgency; academics, as far as I can see, have no sense of urgency. Academics are dismissive of journalists, and journalists, in return, are dismissive of academics,” Daniloff said.
“Academics, in their research, go deep and narrow; journalists go broad and often superficial,” he said.
Burgard, who nominated Daniloff for the Journalism Educator of the Year Award, said in explaining his nomination that there are three pillars of academic journalism: Being a great teacher, being a great researcher and writer, and providing valuable service to the university.
Burgard said Daniloff excels at all three, putting into practice “the vision of what journalism education ought to be” for students at all levels of their careers.
Daniloff has been a valuable resource for both students and teachers at Northeastern, bridging the academic and professional worlds, Burgard said.
Daniloff has not only been a powerful teacher for students graduating into the workforce; he also has mentored working journalists through the at-times disorienting shift from professional reporting to academic life, Burgard said.
As chairman of the journalism school’s Tenure and Promotion Committee, Daniloff has helped his colleagues successfully make the transition from reporting to teaching, Burgard said.
Daniloff was awarded a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University in 1973.
Besides the autobiographical “Two Lives, One Russia,” published in 1988, Daniloff has written two other books, “The Kremlin and the Cosmos” (1972), and the memoir “Of Spies and Spokesmen: My Life as a Cold War Correspondent” (2008).
He is working on a fourth book. It will examine Russia’s second war with Chechnya through the lens of audio communications between the president of Chechnya and his foreign minister, a situation whose tangled internal layers of religious and political allegiances have marked similarities to the current situation in Syria.
The book is scheduled for publication in December.
Daniloff teaches Ethics and Issues, a required course for journalism undergraduates. He will be retiring from the university in the spring, at the end of the current academic year.
'Being given an award by NENPA is quite a thrill.'
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