Great Minds, Great Conversations: Trial by Fire: Writing the Book that Reopened One of America’s Deadliest Criminal Cases
“There’s no replacement for someone who holds the powerful accountable, who gets them on the record. Journalism’s goal is more important than ever.” —Scott James ’84
In February 2003, nearly 400 people packed into a small Rhode Island club for a rock concert, where a pyrotechnic display ignited into a fire that left 100 concertgoers dead and hundreds more injured. Despite a federal investigation, there were no trials and no justice for the survivors and the families of those who were killed.
In Trial by Fire: A Devastating Tragedy, 100 Lives Lost, and a 15-Year Search for Truth (St. Martin’s 2020), Scott James ’84, Emmy Award-winning journalist and author, reinvestigates the case of the nation’s deadliest rock concert and searches for the truth.
Please join Scott James, Adelphi University President Christine M. Riordan, and moderator Liza Burby, author and faculty adviser to The Delphian, Adelphi University’s award-winning student newspaper, for a conversation about what compelled James to reinvestigate this case, his writing process, the role of journalism, and whether we can trust the safety regulations and justice systems that are meant to protect us.
About the Speakers
Scott James ’84
Scott James ’84 majored in communications at Adelphi and served as editor of The Delphian, experiences that he says have laid the foundation for his successful career as a journalist and author. His latest book, Trial by Fire: A Devastating Tragedy, 100 Lives Lost, and a 15-Year Search for Truth, covers the investigation of the February 2003 Rhode Island fire that killed 100 concertgoers and injured hundreds more. Scott is the recipient of three Emmy Awards for his work in television news, and since 2009, his reporting has appeared in The New York Times. He’s also the author of two bestselling novels, SoMa and The Sower, written under the pen name Kemble Scott.
Christine M. Riordan, PhD
Christine M. Riordan, PhD, is Adelphi University’s 10th president and the first woman to serve in the role. She is an internationally recognized expert in leadership development, team building, and diversity and inclusion and is recognized for her groundbreaking initiatives to personalize and transform the higher education experience. Dr. Riordan has published nearly 70 academic and business press articles and is authoring Shift Happens: How to Adapt and Thrive in a Rapidly Changing World of Work.
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