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Professor Emeritus Manny Paraschos Remembered as Witty, Ethical, and Influential

Manny Paraschos sits at a desk
Professor Emeritus Manny Paraschos was integral in bridging the gap from print to online journalism.

Professor Emeritus Manny Paraschos, who taught for 30 years at Emerson College educating a generation of print journalism students and leaving an indelible imprint on the College, passed away peacefully this past weekend with his wife, Janet Nyberg, and children Alexi and Sophia, by his side.

Paraschos, was beloved by colleagues, staff, students, and alumni, was remembered fondly for his personality and his commitment to the journalism program.

“I would always try to sit next to Manny at meetings,” said Interim Provost Jan Roberts-Breslin, who served as Grad Program Directors together on the Graduate Council for many years. “His dry humor made any meeting more entertaining. Underneath that wit, though, was a caring teacher, a loving family man and a consummate academic. He made sure that Journalism students had not only the skills, but also the intellectual foundation to excel in their field. He contributed so much to Emerson and will be missed.”

Paraschos retired from Emerson in 2018, and his book The Boston Journalism Trail, which identifies the locations and describes the history of 38 Boston landmarks of American Journalism, is still provided to incoming first-year journalism students. Paraschos also created a website for the same topic. 

As part of his research for the book, he collected dozens of original copies of newspapers and magazines that tell the stories of the founding of our nation, and the evolution of American journalism. After his retirement, Paraschos donated to the Emerson Archives those historic Boston newspapers that date back to the 18th century so that generations of Emersonians could continue to learn from them.

Manny Paraschos talks about his work at Emerson, his background, and more.

“He often thought of what had not yet been done and did it,” said Professor Emeritus Tom Cooper. Paraschos and Cooper co-published the magazine Media Ethics.

Cooper also enjoyed Paraschos’ quick wit, and sharp sense of humor.  

“When we would pose for the annual Media Ethics magazine staff photo, he would think of something witty to say just at the last moment so we would all be cracking up when the photo was taken,” said Cooper.

“Since I was the one who recruited Manny for Emerson, he always kidded me,” said Cooper. “If he was having a bad day trying to fix a computer printer that wasn’t functioning correctly, he would let me know it was all my fault for bringing him to Emerson… even though I was working in a different building and I had not touched his printer. Such ribbing was always a disguised form of affection.”

Paraschos served as the first Journalism Graduate Program director, and was the dean of Emerson’s European Institute for International Communication in The Netherlands from 1991 to 1994. In 1995 he was honored with Emerson College’s Distinguished Faculty Award.

He taught many classes at Emerson including comparative media law, mass media in modern society, multimedia journalism, international mass communication, global journalism, media ethics, press and propaganda, news reporting and editing, opinion writing, and more. He was integral in leading students into the emerging online world of journalism.

Professor of Journalism Janet Kolodzy joked at the Journalism faculty awards in 2018 when Paraschos was honored, that she was the “other Janet” in his life. Kolodzy knew Paraschos for decades, having previously worked together on a publishing project about prominent women in Arkansas, prior to their time together at Emerson.

Janet Nyberg and Manny Paraschos
Manny Paraschos with his wife, Janet Nyberg.

“Coming to Emerson and working with Manny again was a treat,” said Kolodzy at the faculty award. “He has been instrumental in chronicling the incredible history of American journalism on the streets right outside.” 

In the 1980s and 1990s, Paraschos was regarded as one of the lead print journalism professors at the College. He served as the founder and editor of the Journalism Students’ Online News Service (JSONS), which in 2001 was recognized by Apple as one of the best academic internet news sites in the country. He continued to work with JSONS until his retirement.

He was the author of several books including Media Law and Regulation in the European Union, co-author of Mass Media in Greece: Power, Politics, and Privatization, and was the editor of Greece and the American Press.

Paraschos was tremendously proud of his Greek heritage, and his most recent work involved researching The First Greeks of Boston. Associate Professor Roger House said Paraschos’ Greek pride occasionally resulted in him bringing homemade Greek pastries to the office. House added that Paraschos was special because he had both field experience in journalism and a PhD degree.

“Journalists have a tendency to be present-minded and approach events at face value,” said House. “Manny, however, had a great appreciation for the way the past can shape current affairs. He was a student of history and taught students to apply it to the understanding of current affairs.”

Assistant Professor Mike Brown said when he took a DNA test it came back that he was 1% Greek.

“Manny went absolutely nuts when I showed it to him and both of us would Joke about it over the years,” said Brown. “He would call me ‘brother’ and laugh. It was our special, private joke. I am absolutely crushed by his passing.”

Professor Emeritus Jerry Lanson said Paraschos welcomed him in 1999 when he replaced Parschos as Journalism chair. Lanson said they quickly became friends.

“I stayed with Manny and Janet a couple of times after we both retired in 2018, and I was struck by how rich his research life continued to be. He did research for his church, interviewing its parishioners about their history,” said Lanson.

Lanson said Paraschos was very proud of his children, Alexi, a musician and music teacher, and Sophia, a doctor. He also was proud of his wife’s painting, which she took up late in life.

“Dinner at his Paraschos’ house…was filled with lively conversation — about journalism, Europe, travel, history and politics,” said Lanson. 

Before working at Emerson, he taught at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where he chaired the Department of Journalism. In 1986-87, he was a Fulbright Scholar in Scandinavia, where he taught at the Norweigan Institute for Journalism, and lectured at universities in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

Paraschos was a reporter and United Nations correspondent for Ethnikos Kyrix and Embros of Athens, Greece, and worked for the North Little Rock  (Ark.) Times, the Fayette (Mo.) Democrat-Leader and The Columbia (Mo.) Missourian.e

He received a B.J., M.A. and PhD from the University of Missouri.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for contributions in his name. Paraschos’ commitment to his students was also reflected in the generous donations he made in 2018 and 2019 to support first-generation college students majoring in journalism. To this date, four Emerson journalism students have benefitted from his philanthropic support.

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