January 30, 1920|
Maraş, Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey)
|Died||March 11, 2016
Berkeley, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||Clark University|
|Occupation||Journalist, media critic|
|Works||The Media Monopoly|
|Awards||Pulitzer Prize (1953)
Peabody Award (1950)
Ben Haig Bagdikian (January 30, 1920 – March 11, 2016) was an Armenian-American educator and journalist. He was a significant American media critic and the dean of the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
Bagdikian, whose full name was Ben-Hur Bagdikian, 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.
Bagdikian joined The Providence Journal in Rhode Island in 1947. In 1950, Bagdikian received a Peabody Award for a series of his commentaries and criticisms of broadcasts by Walter Winchell. The award cited Bagdikian as a "brilliant young reporter". In 1953, Bagdikian was part of a Providence Journal team that shared the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of a bank robbery. In 1957, he teamed up with an African-American reporter to cover racial divisions the American South.
During 1963 to 1967 Bagdikian was a Washington-based contributing editor of The Saturday Evening Post. He also wrote freelance articles about the civil rights movement, politics, poverty, housing, migration and other subjects.
In 1971 whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg gave Bagdikian 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.
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."
Awards and honors
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.
Among Bagdikian’s awards have been the Peabody Award 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.
- In the Midst of Plenty: A New Report on the Poor in America, Boston: Beacon Press, 1964.
- The Information Machines: Their impact on Men and the Media, New York: Harper & Row, 1971, ISBN 978-0-06-090258-2
- The Effete Conspiracy and Other Crime by the Press, New York: Harper, 1974. ISBN 978-0-06-090343-5
- Caged: Eight Prisoners & Their Keepers, New York: Harper, 1976. ISBN 978-0-06-010174-9
- The Media Monopoly, Boston: Beacon Press, 1983. ISBN 978-0-8070-6179-4
- New Edition with extensions The New Media Monopoly, Boston: Beacon Press, 2004. ISBN 978-0-8070-6187-9
- Double Vision: Reflections on My Heritage, Life, and Profession, Boston: Beacon Press, 1995. ISBN 978-0-8070-7066-6
- "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.
- Bagdikian, Ben. "Ben H. Bagdikian". Reporting civil rights. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
- Schudel, Matt (2016-03-11). "Ben H. Bagdikian, journalist with key role in Pentagon Papers case, dies at 96". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
- McFadden, Robert D. (11 March 2016). "Ben H. Bagdisian, reporter of broad range and conscience, dies at 96". The New York Times.
- "Providence Journal, Its Editor and Publisher, Sevellon Brown, and Ben Bagdikian, Reporter for the Series of Articles Analyzing the Broadcasts of Top Commentators". Peabody: Stories that Matter. The Peabody Awards. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
- Jablon, Robert (12 March 2016). "Media commentator Ben Bagdikian dies at 96; shared Pulitzer at Providence Journal". The Providence Journal. The Associated Press. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
- The Ben Bagdikian Fellowship Program | Mother Jones
- "Honorary Degrees: 1900s". The Corporation of Brown University. Brown University. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
- Ben Bagdikian at the Internet Movie Database
- Bagdikian's ZNet Homepage. Includes Znet commentaries by him, and Znet articles by or about Ben Bagdikian.
- Bagdikian's biography at The Library of Americas' Reporting Civil Rights web site
- Bagdikian's biography at the Harvard Square Library's Notable American Unitarians web site
- Bagdikian's articles at FindArticles.com
- PBS interview about Media Monopoly