As part of inaugural HUBweek events in Boston, the Nieman Foundation hosted a special evening of storytelling in historic Faneuil Hall on Oct. 6. Moderated by author and Nieman writing instructor Steve Almond, “Made in Boston: Stories of Invention and Innovation” featured seven of the area’s best journalists, authors and innovators who offered behind-the-scene perspectives on stories that originated in Boston and reverberated around the world.
The Nieman event was presented in conjunction with HUBweek, with support from Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and The Boston Globe. HUBweek was designed as a weeklong series of events and experiences to celebrate locally generated big ideas and bold solutions, the first-of-its-kind civic collaboration between The Boston Globe, MIT, MGH and Harvard University.
Speaking about arriving in Boston for the first time, and being invited to a party at the home of MIT scientist Marvin Minsky, co-founder of MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab:
“The hard thing about Boston, but ultimately, the really satisfying thing, is to get into the dance, you actually have to stand there and think a little bit. Like how? What? Oh. Oh! You have to think your way into the dance.”
Laurie Penny, a journalist and feminist who came to Harvard as a 2015 Nieman Fellow and recently returned to campus as a 2016-17 Berkman Fellow, is the author of Unspeakable Things and Cybersexism. She also writes and speaks on social justice, pop culture, gender issues and digital politics for numerous news outlets including The Guardian, The New York Times, Vice and Salon.
“In Boston I thought I would be entirely by myself…What I experienced, very quickly, is that we became a new affinity group: We developed community in a different way.”
Joichi “Joi” Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab, is an activist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and advocate of emergent democracy, privacy, and Internet freedom
Speaking about the unique learning atmosphere at MIT, and about the speech he gave at a recent MIT Media Lab graduation:
“‘…You’re about to go back into a world of normal people, and they will look at you as if you’re freaks, but you’ve got to remember what you’ve learned – stick together, and save the world.’”
Kara Miller is host and executive editor of the nationally syndicated public radio show Innovation Hub. She has also been a television commentator on WGBH and NECN, has written for numerous publications and has taught at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Speaking about how studying innovators throughout history inspired her to realize that solution to problems with Boston’s greatest innovation – the modern public education system – must also come from here:
“I think we’ve created these boxes, and Boston is at the epicenter of smashing the boxes.”
Hiawatha Bray, award-winning Boston Globe technology columnist
“This is the very birthplace of so many of the technologies I wanted to write about – and I figured, if I’m going to be an exile, I’m going to be an exile there.”
Judy Norsigian, co-founder of the Boston-based Our Bodies Ourselves collective that revolutionized women’s healthcare
“Women began to get angry about the situation that they faced, not just their treatment, but also their own profound ignorance about their bodies.”
“I get a weird email from a kid from Harvard and it said: ‘My best friend founded Facebook, and no one’s ever heard of him.’ So, I had heard of a guy named Mark Zuckerberg, but that wasn’t this guy’s name.”