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Dan Higgins Reports on Rushdie Proceedings

Assistant Professor of Journalism Dan Higgins has been on assignment for The New York Times, covering the legal case of the man accused of trying to kill the author Salman Rushdie in an August attack. 

Higgins is using his work with the Times in his Canisius classroom, showing his advanced journalism students his submitted drafts, as well as revisions and notes from his editors at The Times, in addition to the published articles. His editor at the Times is a scheduled guest speaker, to further talk to students about the reporting and editing processes at one of the largest newspaper/online news organizations in the United States.

Rushdie was on stage at The Chautauqua Institution on August 12, when a man stabbed the author a dozen times. Rushdie survived but his injuries were severe. Police arrested a 24-year-old man, Hadi Matar, from New Jersey and charged him with attempted murder.

Rushdie was the subject of a fatwa, or religious edict, in 1989 after the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses. The Supreme Leader of Iran at that time, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, called for Rushdie’s death for the novel’s alleged blasphemy. Rushdie went into hiding for two decades and only recently began making public appearances.

His talk at Chautauqua was scheduled to be about how the United States has become a haven for exiled writers from around the world.

Matar has pleaded not guilty and remains in Chautauqua County Jail awaiting trial. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Submitted by: Dan Higgins, assistant professor of journalism, Department of Communications


Journalism Students, Alumni, Faculty Report on Buffalo Shooting

Members of the Canisius community working in the field of journalism have been reporting and broadcasting from the scene of the May 14 shooting on Jefferson Avenue, about a mile from campus. Current students, alumni and faculty have all been using their skills to inform the community, nation and the world about what has happened in Buffalo.

Aidan Joly ’22 has been writing for The Washington Post, including a byline on the front page of the Sunday, May 15 paper.

Emyle Watkins ’20 has been working in her capacity as a reporter for WBFO 88.7 FM as well as the national NPR program “All Things Considered.”  and has contributed to reports on the BBC World Service and BBC Radio Scotland about the tragedy.

Bradley Berchou ’20, a videographer for WIVB-TV Channel 4, has been filming interviews and images from the scene for a local audience.

Adam Duke ’19 and Eric Piotrowski ’20 are web producers at WGRZ-TV Ch. 4. Hannah Nelson ’22 is currently an intern at the same station. They have all contributed to their station’s coverage efforts.

Assistant Professor of Journalism Dan Higgins has been continuously contributing to The New York Times since the shooting on Saturday. He is also writing for The Daily Beast about the incident. On Tuesday, he appeared on BBC Radio Ulster’s “Evening Extra” to add context and commentary on President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden’s visit to the community.

Julia Barth ’23, the incoming editor-in-chief of The Griffin, has been shadowing Professor Higgins as he provides coverage for The Times and other national media outlets this week.

Submitted by: Dan Higgins, assistant professor of journalism, Department of Communications