Frank Bruni is a prominent journalist and bestselling author who served as a staff writer at the New York Times for over 25 years. During that time, he worked as a White House correspondent, the Rome bureau chief, the paper’s chief restaurant critic, and op-ed columnist—a role he maintained for 10 years that brought him national renown. Still affiliated with the paper, he is now a contributing opinion writer and maintains a weekly newsletter offering reflections on the mess (and magic) of politics and life.
Bruni is the author of four New York Times bestsellers including, most recently, The Beauty of Dusk, a memoir detailing his adjustment to the sudden loss of vision in one eye and the acceptance of the reality that the same fate could befall the other at any moment. The result is a poignant and uplifting education in vulnerability, resilience and optimism. It reached #5 on the nonfiction bestseller lists and earned rave reviews from people and publications including Oprah Winfrey, Katie Couric, People magazine, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. His next book, The Age of Grievance, on the ways in which grievance dominates America’s political and cultural discourse, will be published in April 2024.
The first openly gay op-ed columnist at the Times, Bruni is a recipient of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association’s Randy Shilts Award for his career-long contributions to the LGBTQ community and the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Newspaper Columnist. Prior to joining the New York Times, Bruni worked at New York Post and Detroit Free Press, where he was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist in feature writing. He appears frequently as a television commentator on CNN, Real Time with Bill Maher, MSBNC, and more.
Frank Bruni is the Eugene C. Patterson Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. His courses teach journalism and media with emphasis on ethics and morality.
Why is the Media in Such Disfavor—and What Can Be Done About It?
Frank Bruni answers this important question from the vantage point not only of an extraordinary 35-year career in journalism but also of academic inquiry into the issue: He teaches a course at Duke devoted to this challenge. In this speech, Frank traces the arc of intensifying media distrust and suggests how we might reverse it, restoring the media’s crucial role in our democracy.
The Myth of Elite Colleges
In his 2015 New York Times bestseller Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania, Frank Bruni dove deep into the world of higher education, a subject he wrote about extensively as an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times. His new perspective as a professor at Duke University has both broadened and sharpened his thinking about the promise and pitfalls of college, which he invites audiences to reflect on in this heartfelt and important speech.
The Age of Grievance
Everywhere you turn these days, you see the pressing of grievances and hear the language of grievance. Everybody’s singularly maligned. Everybody’s uniquely marginalized. Everybody’s speaking with the unfiltered anger that matches that mindset. Our politics no longer seem to be about diverse people looking for ways to lift everybody up at once. They’re about tribes and micro-tribes jockeying for advantage. That makes centrism unfashionable, compromise unthinkable and common cause impossible. We’re in a culture of self-pitying, self-righteous crisis, and Frank Bruni, a longtime New York Times journalist and bestselling author, examines this – the subject of his next book, to be published in late 2023 – in this thoughtful speech.
Frank Bruni: Snapshots of Decades in Journalism
Across 35 inimitable years in journalism, Frank Bruni has been a White House reporter, a foreign correspondent (Rome), the Times’s chief restaurant critic for five years and an Op-Ed columnist for over a decade. Frank has covered everything from campaigns to earthquakes to the Vatican. He has hunkered down in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle with Army soldiers, stretched his legs on Air Force One with President George W. Bush and – thanks to all of that and more – has war stories galore. In this engagement, he tells those tales and on not just the glamour but also the necessity of journalism.
Forging Optimism and Resilience in the Face of Personal Crisis
In late 2017, Frank suffered a stroke of his right optic nerve, lost most vision in that eye and learned there was a 20 percent chance that he’d go blind. The story of his adjustment became the New York Times bestseller The Beauty of Dusk, praised by everyone from Oprah Winfrey to medical ethicists. Frank shares his story in this speech and casts what happened to him in universal terms. We all encounter sudden hardship, face limits as we age and can fashion a perspective with constructive, happiness-making measures of confidence and gratitude. Additionally, Frank offers advice for patients on getting the most from health care providers and for health care providers on doing right by the vulnerable people in front of them.
Throughout Frank Bruni’s long career, he has done interviews with celebrities and in-depth celebrity profiles. From those many and varied encounters, he got a unique glimpse into the vanity of public figures and a fascinating education in the hide-and-seek of this particular form of journalism. In this lively engagement, he tells the tales of his time with George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Jodie Foster, Sigourney Weaver, Vanessa Redgrave, Pete Buttigieg, Mark Wahlberg and many other political and entertainment-world stars.