“You want to do stories that drive a conversation”

Adrian Walker, a metro columnist at the Boston Globe for the past 20 years, writes about Boston City Hall, the Statehouse, and local and state politics. He also contributed to the Spotlight series on race last year, which was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.

Walker shared his experiences last month at “Pizza, Press and Politics,” a speaker series hosted by the School of Journalism at Northeastern University.

Walker talked about making the transition from being a reporter to a columnist, a job where the writer has more freedom.

“I remember when I got my column, one of my mentors said ‘all the things that were cut out your stories all these years, you can say now.’” That was a major change for Walker.

But even though he’s free to express his own opinion, Walker still reports a lot. “To tell the world what I thought today is kind of boring, so I do pretty deeply reporting-based columns,” said Walker.

Walker also works on other projects, such as the Spotlight team’s award-winning series on race.

“One of the thing we really hoped the series would do is start conversations about race,” and it did, he said. “We discovered that people really want to have that conversation.” The Spotlight team spent a lot of time visiting many communities, where they held forums to discuss issues surrounding race.

Asked how to write about race issues, Walker said: “For me, the mission is still trying to make people comfortable.”

Ziqi Gao
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