Past Member

John S. Driscoll

Former Visiting Scholar

John S. (Jack) Driscoll was Editor-in-Residence at the MIT Media Lab from 1995 to 2008.  Previously he was at the Boston Globe newspaper for nearly 40 years, seven as editor.

His main areas of concentration have been in electronic publishing and community computing.  He has acted as an adviser for the Melrose Mirror, a monthly published by the SilverStringers, a seniors group begun in 1996 in Melrose, Mass., and for the Junior Journal, a monthly written, edited and published by children from around the world between the ages of 10 and 18 for seven years.  Both groups have become models for numerous online magazines published by seniors and teens in the US and abroad.  In 2005 he founded Rye Reflections.

In 2008 Driscoll published a how-to book based on experiences with the SilverStringers, Junior Journal and Rye Reflections, entitled Couch Potatoes Sprout; The Rise of Online Community Journalism. He published a 390-page family memoir in 2012, entitled Picnic for Twelve.

Driscoll worked on a variety of projects at the Media Lab, including FishWrap, MUSIC, Salient Stills, Audio Notebook, NewsMaker and two MediaStreams undertakings in connection with the Gulf War and Boston's Central Artery.

He served on the board of directors or advisory board for several startup companies, including RevBox, ProjectCool Inc., which was purchased by DevX, and Perspecta, purchased by Excite.

Driscoll was a news reporter, sportswriter, copy editor and supervisory editor over a period of 43 years for weekly and daily newspapers and for United Press.

He was a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board of Trustees from 1991 to 1995 and was 1994 national chairman of the Future of Newspapers Committee for the American Society of Newspaper Editors as well as being a member of its board of directors.

Prior to becoming editor of the Globe in 1987, Driscoll was executive editor from 1982 to 1987.  From 1976 to 1982, he was managing editor of the Evening Globe, the Daily Globe and the Sunday Globe.  He was Vice President of the Globe for 16 months before retiring September 1, 1994, to form his own company, Driscoll & Associates, in Rye, N.H.

In his role as managing editor he was supervisor or reporter in several prize-winning efforts, including involvement in five Pulitzers, Associated Press Managing Editor's Public Service Award, Sigma Delta Chi, the George Polk, Sidney Hillman and Sevellon Brown Awards, New England's top honor.  In 1987 Driscoll was awarded the Yankee Quill Award by the New England Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi.  In 1977 he was an editor and reporter for the national team investigating Arizona corruption after the murder of reporter Don Bolles.

At the Globe he also was a member of the Board of Directors, a member of the Executive Committee, chairman of the company-wide Planning Committee and represented the Globe and New York Times on the MIT Media Lab's NiF consortium.

He has been a contributor to several national journalism magazines and is one of the authors of the section on Massachusetts in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

In 1994 he was editor and one of the writers of a book on the future called Come the Millenium; Interviews on the Shape of the Future, published by Andrew & McMeel of Kansas City.  He also directed a roundtable discussion among journalists and educators on the future of journalism education that was edited into a 45-minute videotape called Blown Into Bits.

More recently he has edited two books.  One is by Ly Y, a Cambodian refugee who, with his family, was driven out of Phnom Penh in 1975, lost a young son from dysentery during the forced march and spent four years in a labor camp.  Entitled Heaven Becomes Hell, A Survivor Tells of Life Under Khmer Rouge, it was published by Yale University's Southeast Asia Studies Department as part of its Monograph Series.  The second, published in 2002, was written by the late Bill Jodrey, then 87, a member of the SilverStringers, and chronicles his life as a hobo in 1932.  The book is entitled, Diary of a Hobo.

For 25 years his church activities included teaching and coaching teenagers.  He has been active at the LaSalette National Shrine in Ipswich as founder in 1992 of the Justice Alliance to foster better understanding among heterosexuals and homosexuals and as a member of the steering committee for Faith/Work forums and retreats.  He also has been a member of two non-profit boards for inner-city organizations: the Judge Baker Center for Children and the Christian Initiatives for Technology and Education (CITE), whose focus is minority teenagers.  He also has been on the Board of Directors of Learning Skills Academy in Rye, N.H.

He was a graduate of Northeastern University, a visiting scholar at MIT, and holds an honorary doctor's degree in letters from the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  

Original biography, with photos.