New York Times London bureau chief John F. Burns addressed the Bloomington Press Club March 29, a special date for the club to accommodate Burns’ visit to Bloomington as a guest of the IU School of Journalism.
Burns talked about the future of newspapers, lamenting the turmoil of print media but also expressing optimism that news journalism is not dying, that a world without newspapers is “unimaginable.”
Still, he also addressed the changes in the industry that have resulted in a new immediacy, thanks to the Web. For example, in addition to his duties as bureau chief and as a reporter, Burns contributes to the New York Times’ blog, “At War,” and appears on television news programs such as Charlie Rose and PBS’ NewsHour.
Burns also talked about his three decades of experience as an international correspondent for the newspaper. Along the way, Burns picked up two Pulitzer Prizes, the first in 1993 for his coverage of the siege and destruction of the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, and the second in 1997 for his coverage of the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan. He twice has won the George Polk Award for foreign reporting.
Burns’ latest assignment caps recent years on the ground reporting in Afghanistan and Iraq. He covered Afghanistan and went to Iraq to cover the last six months of Saddam Hussein’s regime. After troops captured Baghdad, he served as bureau chief there for the newspaper.
Burns addressed the community at large later in the evening at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, where he compared Ernie Pyle’s experiences as a war correspondent with modern-day war journalism. He was the second of the School of Journalism’s Speaker Series guests.