Stephen D. Burgard, 1948-2014

Former Director

Stephen Burgard, an author, journalist and educator passed away on October 26. He was director of the School of Journalism at Northeastern University in Boston since 2002.

He joined the faculty of Northeastern as an associate professor that year after 26 years as an editor and reporter at daily newspapers across the country, and became  full professor in 2012.  At Northeastern, he helped organize a new college of Arts, Media and Design, founded in 2010.

Professor Burgard was a member of the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times from 1990 to 2002, serving as editor of the editorial pages in the Orange County Edition, where he won many awards for his editorial writing. He helped lead the newspaper’s editorial page coverage of the aftermath of the 1992 Rodney King verdict riots in Los Angeles. He was part of the staff effort that won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. He wrote the newspaper’s editorials on politics and religion in the 2000 presidential campaign and after September 11.

Professor Burgard taught journalism ethics, and is interested in the relationship between the press and religion. His first book, Hallowed Ground, was one of’s Top Ten Religion Books of 1997. The Journal of the American Academy of Religion called that book “a road map for the future.”  In 2010, his second book, Faith, Politics and Press In Our Perilous Times was published by Kendall Hunt, and is currently in its second edition. It is his edited collection of essays on covering religion contributed by leading experts.

Research Interests:

  • The relationship between democratic institutions and both religion and the press
  • Journalism standards in the online age

Current project: co-authoring a book with colleague Benjamin J. Hubbard, chair emeritus of comparative religion at California State University, Fullerton. The book’s working title is: Reclaiming the Political Center: How Ideology, Religion, and Values Divide Us, and What We Can Do about It.

At Northeastern, he has written for Columbia Journalism Review, the Christian Science Monitor, and other publications, and is a frequent commentator on the press.

Research appointments:

This fall 2014 Prof. Burgard was on sabbatical and was a Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School.

He was also a Visiting Research Fellow, Center for the Study of Democracy, UC Irvine, winter quarters 2005-13.  Prof. Burgard was also coordinator of  the center’s “Religion and Politics” lecture program, supported by the Calf Island Foundation.

He graduated from Brown University in 1970, and has a master’s degree from the Boston University College of Communication.

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