Ben Bagdikian

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ben Bagdikian
Born (1920-01-30)January 30, 1920
Maraş, Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey)
Died March 11, 2016(2016-03-11) (aged 96)
Berkeley, California, United States
Nationality Armenian-American
Ethnicity Armenian
Occupation Journalist, media critic
Works The Media Monopoly
Awards Peabody Award

Ben Haig Bagdikian (January 30, 1920 – March 11, 2016) was an Armenian-American educator and journalist.[1]


Bagdikian, whose full name was Ben-Hur Bagdikian,[2] was born Jan. 30, 1920 in present-day Turkey. His Armenian family fled the country because of persecution when he was an infant. He graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1941 and became a journalist. He was a significant American media critic and the dean emeritus of the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. In 1983 Bagdikian published The Media Monopoly, which revealed the fast-moving media conglomeration that was putting more and more media corporations in fewer and fewer hands with each new merger. This work has been updated through six editions (through 2000) before being renamed The New Media Monopoly and is considered a crucial resource for knowledge about media ownership. Bagdikian is credited with having made the observation that "Trying to be a first-rate reporter on the average American newspaper is like trying to play Bach's 'St. Matthew Passion' on a ukulele."

In 1971 whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg gave Bagdikian — then an editor at The Washington Post — portions of the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret classified history of the Vietnam War. Bagdikian passed a copy of the documents to Senator Mike Gravel, who promptly read them into the Congressional Record.

Bagdikian died in Berkeley, California on March 11, 2016 at the age of 96.[3]


As author[edit]

As editor[edit]

  • "Man's Contracting World in an Expanding Universe", Proceedings of the Brown University Convocation held in Providence, RI October 21–23, 1959, Brown University, 1960.
  • "The Shame Of The Prisons", The Washington Post national report, with Leon Dash, 1972.
  • The Memoir of Lydia Bagdikian, by Lydia Bagdikian, Berkeley, California: Private printing. Based on notebook diaries of Ben Bagdikian's older sister Lydia, 1997.


Mother Jones, a nonprofit magazine and news organization that specializes in investigative, political, and social justice reporting, has created a program after Bagdikian called the Ben Bagdikian Fellowship Program for interns aspiring to become investigative reporters.[4]

Among Bagdikian’s awards have been the Peabody Award (broadcasting’s “Pulitzer”) for research and critiques of broadcast commentary; a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship; a Citation of Merit as “Journalism’s Most Perceptive Critic,” awarded by the American Society of Journalism School Administrators; and the James Madison Award, by the American Library Association Coalition on Government Information. His honorary degrees are from Brown University, University of Rhode Island, and his alma mater, Clark University. He has also received The Berkeley Citation, the equivalent of honorary degrees given at the University of California at Berkeley, where he was a faculty member and Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism. He is the recipient of the James Madison Award of the American Library Association Coalition on Government Information.[5]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]