Stephen Adler

Editor-in-Chief, BusinessWeek MagazineAdler Poster

Rush Award Lecture
The Future of Media

Thursday, February 28, 2008
7:00 p.m. – Stern Center, Great Room

This program will focus on how technology, law, and new consumer habits are changing the way we learn about the world, and what these changes will do to the way we live, work, and choose our leaders.

Issue in Context

Today, much of how we communicate is digitized. E-mail allows people who are often many miles apart to exchange news instantly. Instant messaging and video conferencing allows people to talk in real-time through their internet connection. Until very recently, the best mode of world-wide communication in real-time was a telephone call that was very expensive; but as the costs have dropped drastically over the past two decades, it is not unusual for elementary school children to have personal cell phones so that their parents can contact them directly any time. Before the telephone, a common method of contact was handwritten correspondence through what we now refer to as “snail mail.”
With electronic media available to increasing numbers of citizens around the world, how do people receive breaking news and crucial information? Important television news reports are broadcast live across continents; many newspapers printed and delivered to homes or bought at a newsstand can now be accessed on the internet either at no charge or with online subscriptions. What effects do these changes have on the way that the news media portrays current events? Do these depictions encourage the public to base their decisions and views on a single information source? Do laws regulate the information accessed by the public? How does the media impact the way we think about and view the world? Certain news stations may offer more conservative views than others. Some may choose to cover a story to a certain point but omit information the public might find useful. Some papers and television news stations portray stories from perspectives which might encourage people to rely on one source for all news coverage. Some laws may restrict the publication of certain information, resulting in limited public knowledge. Whether we like it or not, media is present in our everyday lives. We need to consider the positive and negative effects the ever-growing media has on us, and whether change is necessary.

About the Speaker
Stephen Adler is an accomplished journalist and has been the editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek since 2005. He began his writing career reporting for The Tampa Times and The Tallahassee Democrat. He then joined the American Lawyer Magazine, where he became editor and eventually editorial director of the American Lawyer newspapers group. Adler was a National Magazine Award finalist for his article on the Union Carbide accident in the American Lawyer in 1985. After a few years with the publication, Mr. Adler became legal editor of the Wall Street Journal in 1988. Adler and a colleague were given a merit award in the John Peter Zenger Media Awards Competition in 1993 for an article they wrote entitled “Common Criminals.” He received several promotions at the Journal, and in 1998 became assistant managing editor. During his time with the Wall Street Journal Mr. Adler directed reporting teams which won three Pulitzer Prizes. He was promoted to deputy managing editor in 2000, expanding the Journal on the internet and in other media, directing news coverage in the daily edition and supervising the Wall Street Journal Books imprint, a division of Random House Publishing.
In 1994, Times Books published Mr. Adler’s The Jury: Trial and Error in the American Courtroom, which won the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award in 1995. He also co-edited two books with his wife, Letters of the Century (1999) and Women’s Letters (2005), both published by Dial Press. Mr. Adler is on the board of directors for one of New York’s original settlement houses, the Goddard-Riverdale Community Center. In 1977, he received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and in 1983 earned his juris doctorate degree from Harvard Law School.

The Benjamin Rush Award
The Benjamin Rush Award for Humanistic Values in Corporate and Government Life, established in 1985, is one of the most prestigious annual awards presented at Dickinson College. The Award celebrates the achievements of officials and executives who have reached the highest levels in government service or the corporate world. It is named in honor of Benjamin Rush, the prominent colonial Philadelphia physician who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and founder of Dickinson.

The Award is conferred at a public ceremony on the Dickinson campus, during which the recipient presents the annual Rush Award Lecture. The lectureship guidelines stipulate that the recipient should comment on issues of significance to government or the corporate world, with some attention to the value of the liberal arts in preparing individuals for responsible citizenship. The recipient of the Award is presented with an honorarium and a bronze medal bearing Rush’s likeness. Prior to the Rush Lecture the college hosts a reception and dinner in honor of the recipient.