Journalist | Bestselling Author | Duke University Professor
Frank Bruni has been a prominent journalist for more than three decades, including more than 25 years at The New York Times, the last 10 of them as a nationally renowned Op-Ed columnist who appeared frequently as a television commentator on CNN, Real Time with Bill Maher, MSBNC and more. He was previously a White House correspondent for the Times, its Rome bureau chief and, for five years, its chief restaurant critic.
Frank is also the author of four New York Times bestsellers, including, most recently, The Beauty of Dusk, which describes an extraordinary medical and emotional odyssey: He woke up one morning with blurry vision and later discovered that a stroke had destroyed the optic nerve in one of his eyes, leaving the other eye vulnerable to a similar fate and Frank at risk of total blindness. The Beauty of Dusk casts that experience as an inspirational education in vulnerability, resilience and optimism. It reached #5 on both the hardcover nonfiction and the combined print and e-book nonfiction bestseller lists and earned rave reviews from a range of people and publications including Oprah Winfrey, Katie Couric, People magazine, The New York Times and The Washington Post.
In July 2021, Frank became a full professor at Duke University, teaching media-oriented classes in the Sanford School of Public Policy. He continues to write his popular weekly newsletter for the Times and to produce occasional essays as one of the newspaper’s Contributing Opinion Writers. He lives in Chapel Hill, N.C.
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.
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.
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.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A LIBERAL ARTS EDUCATION
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.
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.
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.
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