Stephen Burgard, Northeastern Journalism School Director, Dies

Stephen D. Burgard, the director of the Northeastern University School of Journalism died earlier this week while on sabbatical, school officials announced Tuesday.

Bruce Ronkin, interim dean of Northeastern’s College of Arts, Media and Design, addressed the community in an email expressing his “deep sadness” with the passing of Burgard, according to The Boston Globe.  Ronkin did not offer any more details on how or when Burgard, 66, passed but wrote of Burgard’s imprint on the school and larger Northeastern community.

Burgard joined the Northeastern faculty in 2002 after a decorated career of 26 years as a reporter and editor.  From 1990 to 2002, Burgard worked as a member of the editorial board at the Los Angeles Times where he contributed to the newspaper’s coverage of the Rodney King trial and the “Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the 1994 Northridge earthquake,” reported The Boston Globe.

“He was a vital part of our community, and he will be dearly missed,” Ronkin wrote in his letter to students and alumni.  “I hope that we can draw strength from each other and from the larger Northeastern community.”

Dan Kennedy, the acting director of the journalism program at Northeastern, spoke to The Boston Globe saying that Burgard was on sabbatical for the fall term but planned on returning as director of the program in January.  Kennedy credited Burgard with helping transition the journalism school to a more digitally focused program to meet the needs of the changing profession.

“We saw the interest was there,” Burgard said in an interview last year with New England Newspaper & Press Association last year, referencing the shifted focus towards digital journalism.  “Now we have moved toward requiring multimedia courses in the whole curriculum.

He continued to explain, “we began by recognizing that the Internet was here to stay, and then began making changes.”

The journalism school at Northeastern is regularly listed as one of the best in the country partly due to their commitment to matching students with employers to gain “real-world reporting experience.”

Burgard leaves behind three adult children.

“He [was] kind of a big, blustery guy, but he [was] also somebody who clearly cared about the people he worked with,” Kennedy said to The Boston Globe.  “He was more than a mentor.  He was a friend.”

About Sean Flynn

Sean Flynn is a recent graduate from City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. His work has appeared in The Buffalo News, Condé Nast Traveler, The New York Times 'Fort Greene Local', The Daily Meal, and FoxNews.com.
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