Photo of COM building

The last best home for journalism

CONFERENCE EVENT: “The Non-Fiction Book as the Last Best Home for Journalism”

DATE: Wednesday, October 29, 2008

PLACE: Boston University Howard Thurman Center

A group of distinguished editors, publishers and best-selling authors, including four Pulitzer Prize winners and a winner of the National Book Award, will gather Wednesday, October 29, at Boston University for a one-day conference, “The Non-Fiction Book as the Last Best Home for Journalism.”

Some of the nation’s most important journalists, editors, and publishers will discuss the recent spate of outstanding non-fiction books on important and timely issues from the war in Iraq to the squeeze on America’s middle class. They will explore the question of whether books are beginning to replace newspapers and television-news shows as a principal source of the nation’s best journalism.

The conference, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Howard Thurman Center, in BU’s George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Avenue.

Lunch, which will be hosted at The Castle, 225 Bay State Road, requires advance registration. Please email Lauren Glaser at to register or for more information.


10:00 – 12:00: Morning Panel: The Writer’s View
Fox Butterfield (moderator); Steven Greenhouse; Dick Lehr; Linda Robinson; Charlie Savage; Ron Suskind
12:00 – 1:30: Luncheon
Featured Guest Speaker Isabel Wilkerson

1:30 – 3:30: Afternoon Panel: The Publisher’s View
Wendy Strothman (moderator); Helene Atwan; Martin Beiser; Peter Osnos; Mitch Zuckoff

Isabel Wilkerson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her work in The New York Times, is the James M. Cox Professor of Journalism at Emory University. She will discuss her forthcoming book on African-American migration in the U.S. (Luncheon speaker)

Ron Suskind, author of the critically acclaimed book, “The Way of the World,” was the senior national affairs writer for the Wall Street Journal. His other books include “The One Percent Solution,” “The Price of Loyalty,” and “Hope in the Unseen.”

Steven Greenhouse is the labor and workplace reporter for The New York Times. His recent book, “The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker,” is an in-depth account of how American companies violate wage and hour laws.

Linda Robinson is an author in residence at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies and a contributing editor for U.S. News and World Report. Her most recent book is “Tell Me How This Ends: General David Petraeus and the Search for a Way Out of Iraq.”

Fox Butterfield, a Pulitzer Prize winner, served as The New York Times bureau chief in Saigon, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Boston and as a correspondent in Washington and New York. He is the author of the books “China: Alive in the Bitter Sea,” which won the National Book Award, and “All God's Children: The Bosket Family and the American Tradition of Violence.”

Peter Osnos is the founder and editor-at-large for PublicAffairs Books. Mr. Osnos spent twenty years working at the Washington Post, where he was Indochina bureau chief, Moscow correspondent, foreign editor, national editor, and London bureau chief. He has been a commentator and host for National Public Radio and a contributor to publications including Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, and The New Republic.

Wendy Strothman is a literary agent and owner of Strothman Agency. Ms. Strothman was also publisher of Houghton Mifflin’s Trade Division. Under her direction, the company won two Pulitzers, a National Book Award, three Caldecott and two Newbery Medals. She also edited books by John Kenneth Galbraith, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Paul Theroux, and Philip Roth.

Dick Lehr is a veteran journalist, author and professor of journalism at Boston University. Mr. Lehr, a Pulitzer finalist, was an award-winning investigative reporter for The Boston Globe. He is co-author of of the forthcoming “The Fence: A Police Cover-Up Along Boston's Racial Divide,'' "Black Mass: The Irish Mob, the FBI and a Devil's Deal,” winner of the Edgar Award and a New York Times bestseller, "Judgment Ridge: the True Story Behind the Dartmouth Murders,'' and “The Underboss: the Rise and Fall of a Mafia Family.”

Helene Atwan has been the director of Beacon Press since 1995. She serves on the board of PEN-New England and the National Coalition against Censorship (NCAC) and has lectured on publishing at the New York University Radcliffe College, Viking Press, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Martin Beiser, an award-winning editor at GQ magazine, is a senior editor at Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster.

Charlie Savage, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting at The Boston Globe, is the author of "Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy."

Mitchell Zuckoff is a former special projects reporter at The Boston Globe who was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for investigative reporting. He is the author of “Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend,” a New York Times Editors’ Choice book; and “Choosing Naia: A Family's Journey,” which received the Christopher Award and was named a Massachusetts Honor Book; and co-author of “Judgment Ridge: The True Story Behind the Dartmouth Murders,” which was a finalist for the Edgar Award. He is at work on a biography of P.T. Barnum.