Jim Dwyer (journalist)

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Jim Dwyer
Jim Dwyer, November 2016
Jim Dwyer, November 2016
Born (1957-03-04) March 4, 1957 (age 63)
New York City, New York, United States
OccupationJournalist, author
EducationBS, General Sciences, Fordham College; MS, Journalism, Columbia University
Notable works
  • More Awesome Than Money: Four Boys, Three Years, and a Chronicle of Ideals and Ambition in Silicon Valley
  • False Conviction: Innocence, Guilt and Science
  • 102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers
  • Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution and Other Dispatches from the Wrongly Convicted
  • Subway Lives: 24 Hours in the Life of the New York City Subway
Notable awardsPulitzer Prize for Commentary, Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Reporting (team)

Jim Dwyer (born March 4, 1957) is an American journalist who is a reporter and columnist with The New York Times, and the author or co-author of six non-fiction books. A native New Yorker, Dwyer wrote columns for New York Newsday and the New York Daily News before joining the Times.[1][2] He graduated from the Loyola School (New York City), earned a bachelor's degree in general science from Fordham University in 1979 and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1980. He appeared in the 2012 documentary film Central Park Five and was portrayed on stage in Nora Ephron's Lucky Guy [2013].


In 1992, Dwyer was a member of a team at New York Newsday that won the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Reporting for their coverage of the 1991 Union Square derailment,[3] and in 1995, as a columnist with New York Newsday, he received the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.[4] Besides the Times and Newsday, he has worked at the Hudson Dispatch, the Elizabeth Daily Journal, The Record of Hackensack, and The New York Daily News. He joined the Times in May 2001 and contributed to the paper's coverage of 9/11,[5][6][7][8][9] the invasion of Iraq,[10] and how intelligence was allegedly manipulated to create the illusion that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.[11] He has been the About New York columnist at the Times since April 2007. Dwyer is the author or co-author of six books, mentioned below.


More Awesome Than Money[edit]

More Awesome Than Money: Four Boys, Three Years, and a Chronicle of Ideals and Ambition in Silicon Valley [November 2015], is a non-fiction account of four boys who set out to save the world from Facebook's monopoly by building an alternative social network called Diaspora (social network). Writing in The Daily Beast, Jake Whitney described the book as "a thrilling read, astoundingly detailed and researched, alternately suspenseful and heartbreaking."[12] The book follows the four New York University undergraduates as they are inspired by the law professor and historian Eben Moglen to create a better social network, through a deluge of support they receive on Kickstarter in 2010, the death of co-founder Ilya Zhitomirskiy in 2011, up until the transfer of the project in 2013 to a community of free software developers who continue to refine it.[13] Their work is placed in the context of the dynamic relationships between the open web, digital surveillance, and free society, and the continuing efforts of groups like the Mozilla Foundation to prevent domination of the web by commercial interests. "In the shadows, more and more idealists express their opposition in code -- hackers with a moral compass," Marcus Brauchli wrote in the Washington Post, calling the book a "lively account" that "finds heroism and success, betrayal and even, ultimately, tragedy in the hurtling pursuit of a cause."[14]

False Conviction[edit]

False Conviction: Innocence, Science and Guilt [2014], is an interactive book created in collaboration with Touch Press, the leading developer of "living books," and the New York Hall of Science.[15] Using video, animations, and text, the book explores the science behind errors in the courtroom and criminal investigations and shows routine safeguards that other fields use to guard against them. The reader can play interactive games in the book that show how everyday mistakes can turn into false convictions. "Nonscientists will find the book's discussion of these complex scientific questions clear and accessible, and scientists will find them deep and detailed enough to maintain interest and spark further inquiry," Hugh McDonald wrote in the museum journal, Exhibitionist. "False Conviction makes its case for reform...and does so strongly and engagingly....These compelling stories of tragedy, science and the search for the truth are available for a much broader audience than if they were the subject of a classic bricks and mortar exhibition. With False Conviction, The New York Hall of Science proves that museums can move beyond their own walls to create compelling investigations of complex issues at the intersection of science and society."[16] Conceived by Eric Siegel, the chief content officer of the Hall of Science, and Peter Neufeld, the co-founder of the Innocence Project, the book was developed by the Hall of Science, in consultation with the Innocence Project, with a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's program for Public Understanding of Science, Technology & Economics.[17]

102 Minutes[edit]

102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers [2005], co-written with Kevin Flynn, an editor at The New York Times Company, was a 2005 National Book Award finalist.[18] The book chronicled the 102 minutes that the twin towers of the World Trade Center stood after the attacks of September 11, 2001 began. The sources included interviews with survivors, tapes of police and fire operations, 911 calls, and other material obtained under freedom of information requests including 20,000 pages of tape transcripts, oral histories, and other documents.

Actual Innocence and Two Seconds Under the World[edit]

Dwyer is also the co-author of Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution and Other Dispatches from the Wrongly Convicted [2000], a "pathbreaking" exploration of the causes of wrongful convictions.[19] More than a decade after its publication, an article in the University of Chicago Law Review said: "As had never been done before, 'Actual Innocence' presented story after story of wrongful convictions (and near executions) of the indisputably innocent, with each chapter devoted to exposing each of these flaws in the justice system. 'Actual Innocence' was nothing short of a revelation, a wake-up call concerning the reality of wrongful convictions and the truth-telling power of DNA evidence. It was not merely descriptive; it was also prescriptive, setting out a lengthy recipe of reforms needed to prevent future wrongful convictions." He is co-author of Two Seconds Under the World [1994], an account of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center that explored the early signs of fundamentalist terrorism, and poor coordination by investigating agencies, including the FBI.

Subway Lives[edit]

Dwyer is the author of Subway Lives: 24 Hours in the Life of the New York Subways [1991], which the critic Jonathan Yardley said was "as good a book about New York as you could hope to find." It follows the lives of six New Yorkers and is set on the day the last graffiti-covered train was in service. Writing in The Washington Post, Yardley said: "Subway Lives is a book that not merely tells you everything you secretly wanted to know about subways; it also allows you to see New York from a novel, revealing vantage point...In every way, it's a terrific book."[20] In the Los Angeles Times, Devon Jerslid wrote: "'Subway Lives' may be hard-boiled, but it's best understood as an epic poem, and Dwyer himself comes across as a faintly Homeric figure, a late 20th-Century urban bard who finds something heroic in (and under) the mean streets of Gotham."[21] Much of the material for the book came from his job as the subway columnist from 1986 to 1989 for New York Newsday.

Film and theater[edit]

The filmmaker Ken Burns described Dwyer as the Greek chorus of the 2012 documentary, Central Park Five, made by Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon, on the wrongful convictions of five teenagers in an attack on a jogger.[22] The actor Michael Gaston portrayed Dwyer in Lucky Guy, a play by Nora Ephron about Dwyer's friend Mike McAlary, the late Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist, that ran on Broadway in 2013, starring Tom Hanks as McAlary.[23] Dwyer wrote about McAlary and his conversations with Ephron for The New York Times.[24]

Distributed generation: solar panels and co-generation[edit]

Dwyer developed a 50 kW photovoltaic system and 135 kW cogeneration system that, in combination, provide most of the power for the 217-unit cooperative apartment building where he lives in Manhattan.[25]



  1. ^ Ben Cosgrove (2016-03-11). "The best job in journalism? Sorry, it's already filled by Jim Dwyer". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2020-05-07. Dwyer, 59, has covered his native New York since the 1980s, writing for Newsday–where he won a Pulitzer for “his compelling and compassionate columns about New York City”–The Daily News, and, for the past 15 years, the Times.
  2. ^ "Times Topics Page: Jim Dwyer, New York Times Online". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-05-07. The winner of the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for commentary and a co-recipient of the 1992 Pulitzer for breaking news, Mr. Dwyer is also the author or co-author of six books.
  3. ^ "1992 Pulitzer Prize Winners and Their Works in Journalism and the Arts". The New York Times. 1992-04-08. Retrieved 2020-05-06.
  4. ^ "J-School Grads Awarded 4 of 14 Pulitzer Prizes," Columbia University Record, April 28, 1995"
  5. ^ Dwyer, Jim (2001-10-09). "Objects/The Squeegee: Fighting for Life 50 Floors Up, With One Tool and Ingenuity". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-05-06.
  6. ^ Dwyer, Jim; Lipton, Eric; Flynn, Kevin; Glanz, James; Fessenden, Ford (2002-05-26). "102 Minutes: Last Words At the Trade Center; Fighting to Live As the Towers Die". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-05-06.
  7. ^ Dwyer, Jim; Flynn, Kevin; Fessenden, Ford (2002-07-07). "Fatal Confusion: A Troubled Emergency Response; 9/11 Exposed Deadly Flaws In Rescue Plan". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-05-06.
  8. ^ Jim Dwyer (2003-08-29). "The Port Authority tapes: Overview; Fresh Glimpse in 9/11 Files Of the Struggles for Survival". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved 2019-09-23. As for Mr. De Martini and Mr. Ortiz, the transmissions disclose only fragments of their efforts, but taken with the accounts of the people they saved, add to a powerful narrative of heroism and loss.
  9. ^ Jim Dwyer (2011-09-08). "In Love With Death". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019-09-23. That morning, Raffaele Cava, age 80, was working on the 90th floor of the north tower. After the plane hit, no one could open the exits, so he went to another office and sat with Dianne DeFontes and Tirsa Moya. The hall floors were melting. Suddenly, two men in the stairwell pried open the door, walked in and ordered everyone to go. They were Frank De Martini and Pablo Ortiz, Port Authority employees who worked one flight down, and who took it on themselves to climb up and down 14 floors, getting scores of people out. They never left.
  10. ^ Dwyer, Jim (2003-03-04). "The Screaming Eagles Fly to the Gulf". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-05-06.
  11. ^ Dwyer, Jim (2004-07-09). "Defectors' Reports on Iraq Arms Were Embellished, Exile Asserts". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-05-06.
  12. ^ Whitney, Jake, "How Four Upstarts Built and Crashed the Anti-Facebook," The Daily Beast, November 12, 2014
  13. ^ Rosen, Christine, "The Boys Who Tried To Protect Our Privacy," Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2014
  14. ^ Brauchli, Marcus, "Book Review: 'More Awesome Than Money,' on the founders of an alternative social network by Jim Dwyer," Washington Post, October 31, 2014
  15. ^ Ibooks Catalogue
  16. ^ McDonald, Hugh, "Book Review: False Conviction: Innocence, Guilt and Science," p 80-81, Exhibitionist, Spring 2015
  17. ^ "Sloan Foundation New Media Website". Archived from the original on 2014-01-16. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
  18. ^ USA Today: Doctorow, Didion Among National Book Award Finalists
  19. ^ [1] Nirider, Laura H., Tepfer, Joshua A., Drizin, Steven A., "Review: Combating Contamination in Confession Cases," The University of Chicago Law Review Vol. 79, No. 2 (Spring 2012), pp. 837-862] accessed March 24, 2016.
  20. ^ Yardley, Jonathan (November 24, 1991). "Notes from the Underground". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  21. ^ Jersild, Devon (December 25, 1991). "Poetic Prose of Underground New York". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  22. ^ Kenneth Turan (2012). "Review: Devastating 'The Central Park Five' details injustice". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-05-06. 'I wish I had been more skeptical as a journalist,' says regretful New York Times columnist Jim Dwyer, one of the film’s key voices. 'A lot of people didn’t do their jobs: reporters, police, prosecutors, defense attorneys.... Truth, reality and justice were not part of it.'
  23. ^ Linda Winer (2013-03-31). "'Lucky Guy' review: Tom Hanks smartly follows reporter's tale". Newsday. Retrieved 2020-05-06. Juggling the fast-talking chronicles are many recognizable bylines -- Jim Dwyer (Michael Gaston), Michael Daly (Peter Scolari) and Bob Drury (Danny Mastrogiorgio).
  24. ^ New York Times, March 28, 2013, "From Tabloid Myth To Opening Night"
  25. ^ Home Energy, July-August 2008, "Energy Savings In A Manhattan Co-Op"

External links[edit]