2017 Theodore H. White Lecture on Press and Politics with Nancy Gibbs: “The Divided States of America”


Associated Program:
John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum
Nancy Gibbs
Kevin Cullen
Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy

The 2017 Theodore H. White Lecture on Press and Politics
delivered by
Nancy Gibbs
Editorial Director, Time Inc. News Group

David Nyhan Prize for Political Journalism
presented to
Kevin Cullen
Boston Globe columnist

Nicco Mele (Moderator)
Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
Director, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, HKS

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Nancy Gibbs, Editorial Director of Time Inc., presented the 2017 Theodore H. White Lecture on Press and Politics. She addressed the changing political climate and how this affects the journalism industry. Gibbs discussed how the growing public mistrust in the media and in the work of journalists may prove dangerous when it comes to keeping the powerful accountable to the people. Nicco Mele, Public Policy Lecturer at the Kennedy school opened the event and presented the David Nyhan Prize for Political Journalism to Kevin Cullen, a Boston Globe columnist.

Speaker Bios

Nancy Gibbs is the Editorial Director of Time Inc., and former Editor of Time Magazine, which has 50 million readers worldwide. Gibbs joined Time as a fact checker in 1985 and worked as a writer and editor before holding senior management positions. She was named Time’s 17th managing editor in 2013. She was the first woman to hold the position. Gibbs is one of the most published writers in the history of Time, having been an essayist and lead writer on virtually every major news event of the past two decades, including four presidential campaigns and the September 11 attacks. She has written more cover stories for Time than any other writer in its history and won the National Magazine Award for her cover story of Time’s black-bordered September 11, 2001 special issue. She is the co-author, along with Time’s Michael Duffy, of two best-selling presidential histories: The President’s Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity (2012), which spent 30 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list, and The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House (2007).

Kevin Cullen is a columnist for The Boston Globe. He worked as a local, national and foreign correspondent before becoming a columnist. He served as bureau chief in Dublin and London. He has worked at the Globe‘s Spotlight Team, and was part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize in Public Service in 2003 for exposing the cover-up of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests. In 2014, he won the Mike Royko Award as best columnist chosen by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, was part of the team awarded the Pulitzer for breaking news for coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, and was a Pulitzer finalist in commentary. He is the only two-time winner of ASNE’s Batten Medal for writing about the marginalized. He is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller, Whitey Bulger, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He was a 2003 Fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard.

Nicco Mele is the director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. He took over leadership of the Center in 2016 after serving as Senior Vice President and Deputy Publisher of the Los Angeles Times and as the Wallis Annenberg Chair in Journalism at the University of Southern California. He is the author of The End of Big: How The Internet Makes David the New Goliath and co-founder of EchoDitto (now Echo & Co.), a leading internet strategy and consulting firm. Mele also is a board member of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard and a Senior Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy.

About the Awards

Theodore H. White Lecture on Press and Politics

Inaugurated in 1989, the Theodore H. White Lecture on Press and Politics is delivered annually by a prominent journalist, politician or historian. 

David Nyhan Prize for Political Journalism

For 30 years, David Nyhan was a columnist and reporter at The Boston Globe. The Nyhan Prize honors a journalist who embodies David’s commitment to challenging the powerful and acting as a voice for those whose voices are seldom heard.