James Geary

About James Geary

James Geary

James Geary is the deputy curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, editor of Nieman Reports, and former editor of the European edition of Time magazine. He is the author of “Wit’s End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It,” “I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World,” “Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists,” the New York Times bestseller “The World in a Phrase: A Brief History of the Aphorism,” and “The Body Electric: An Anatomy of The New Bionic Senses.”


A Farewell From the Editor

By Newsletter July 26, 2023

From the editor In Hong Kong you can buy a souvenir keychain with “I am a HongKonger” written on it in Chinese characters. Flip the keychain around, though, and the same characters in reverse read: “Add fuel!” “Add fuel!” is a … Read more

Political Polarization and the Press

By Opinion August 14, 2019

Nieman Foundation deputy curator James Geary delivered this talk to the Samsung Press Foundation in Seoul earlier this summer. I would like to talk to you tonight about football, American football, unfortunately, not the kind of football that is … Read more

Why Journalists Need To Be Witty

By Opinion October 31, 2018

When I worked at Time, my favorite kind of story was what we called a “conceptual scoop,” a synthesis of research and reporting from diverse sources and disciplines that presented a new way of thinking about a … Read more

1947: Nieman Reports

By Features September 20, 2013

James Geary, NF ’12, editor of Nieman Reports, on the magazine’s founding Nieman Reports, from the first issue to the most recent Nieman Reports, from the … Read more

Critical Condition

By Opinion March 12, 2013

“If you are counting full-time critic jobs at newspapers, you may as well count tombstones.” That was the response of Johanna Keller, director of the Goldring Arts Journalism Program at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, to a Nieman Reports query about the number of professional critics employed at dailies around the country. The figures on newspaper critics (News flash: they're not good) are one indication of the state of criticism today, but they are not the only one. Read more … Read more