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Schechter, Danny Died on March 19, in New York City. Danny Schechter, aka "The News Dissector" aka "troublemaker," grew up in the Bronx, in the progressive, union-sponsored Amalgamated Houses. His immigrant grandparents were garment workers who brought their socialist ideals with them from the Old Country. His mother, Ruth Lisa Schechter, was a secretary who became a poet. His father, Jerry Schechter, was a pattern-maker who became a sculptor. Danny attended DeWitt Clinton H.S., where he served as the editor-in-chief of the legendary Clinton News. From there it was on to Cornell, Syracuse, the London School of Economics, and Harvard as a Neiman Fellow. But this is only a small part of his life's journey. He joined the Northern Student Movement in high school and became actively involved in the Civil Rights Movement, going down to Mississippi in 1964. He became a leader in the movement to end the Vietnam War, was a member of SDS and began a lifelong commitment to South Africa in 1967 as an original member of the "London Recruits." He fought tirelessly against Apartheid from then on. Danny never hesitated to put his convictions on the line. In the 1970s, he turned back to his first love—journalism–and became the "news dissector" at radio station WBCN in Boston. He wove news and music together in collages that not only reported the day's events but also helped explain how the world worked. He was a huge influence on those who valued his independent perspective—and trusted him. He went on to become a prolific, Emmy award-winning TV producer and filmmaker, who made "South Africa Now", 6 films about Mandela, and spent decades criticizing and cajoling the media to do a better job covering the news. He interviewed Bob Dylan. He walked with Jesse Jackson. He embraced the Dali Lama. Malcolm X nicknamed him "Danny X." He was invited by Nelson Mandela to his inauguration. He was determined to let "justice roll down like waters" and to see all people free. His commitment and integrity were never for sale. Friend to thousands. Great and loving dad to Sarah, brother to Bill, and uncle to Ethan and Jamie. He was so much fun. So much energy. A solar flare. A meteor across our sky. If there is an afterlife, you should soon be receiving a blog post from our beloved Danny Schechter, "the news dissector." In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Danny's name to Cornell University, Cornell University Office of Alumni Affairs, 130 E. Seneca Street, Ithaca, NY 14850. Please specify that the donation is for the "Civil Rights History & Memorial Project," which will honor Cornell students–like Danny–who went down south during the 1960's. We do not want this history to be lost, but to live on and inspire students today. A celebration of Danny's life will be held in New York City, at a date to be announced.
Published in The Boston Globe on Mar. 22, 2015
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