April 27, 2015
It is with extreme sadness that we note the passing on April 23rd of Dr. Carl Jensen, media critic, beloved professor, and founder, in 1976, of Project Censored. He was eighty-five.
Carl Jensen was born in Brooklyn, NY. He served in Air Force intelligence during the Korean War, and later worked in advertising during its Mad Men-era heyday. In the late sixties, realizing that his current occupation did not match his intellectual and humanitarian ambitions, he went back to school an earned his PhD in sociology from UC Santa Barbara.
In the mid-seventies, observing the increasing stranglehold corporate interests had on US news media, Carl saw the need for an independent organization capable of monitoring the news and exposing the corporate bias reflected in how events were — or weren’t — portrayed there. He envisioned a project that would track the most crucial developments in national and international affairs, while simultaneously interrogating the mainstream media’s frequent failures to report it. Crucially, he realized that the university would be the ideal home for such a media-monitoring project, and so, at Sonoma State University (where Carl was a professor of sociology and communications studies), Project Censored was born.
Now, nearly forty years later, Project Censored is going strong, with affiliate programs on campuses from coast to coast, an impressive list of awards for media stewardship (including the 2008 PEN/Oakland Literary Censorship Award and the 2014 Pillar Award), and a catalog of more than twenty Project Censored yearbooks, each one full of under- and unreported stories of the news affecting our everyday lives. The Project Censored annual report has grown into an indispensable digest of the year’s most important news that doubles as a diagnostic check on the health of our democracy. And it is a testament to Carl’s vision and intellectual courage that Censored will continue to offer underreported news and unflinching media critique for years to come.
Seven Stories Press has enjoyed an intimate relationship with Project Censored from its very start. We’re tremendously proud to be the publisher of the Project’s annual report, as well as several other of Carl’s books of media criticism and vital reportage.
Carl was a unique voice, at once vociferously critical and deeply humane. He is survived by his wife Debra and his four children, Sherman, John, Lisa, and Pia. A memorial service is currently being planned; we will provide information as soon as it is available.
Rest in power, Carl. We’ll miss you.