News, Obituaries

Political journalist dies at 61

Arthur Jones, an award-winning journalist and former Boston University visiting professor who later served in the press offices of President Bill Clinton and former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, died Oct. 2 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He was 61.

Jones, who attended BU and Columbia University, died of complications from leukemia treatments he was receiving, according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology press release.

He also taught night classes in BU’s journalism department from 1981 to 1983, according to his wife, Karen Jones, whom he married in 1993.

Karen Jones said her husband often told stories about his first teaching experience at BU.

“He had his whole two-and-a-half-hour course written on three-by-five note cards,” she said. “The class was 6 to 8:30. He looked up — it was only 6:15 . . . he just winged it.”

The night course covered general reporting and journalism, Karen Jones said, and many non-journalism majors took the class as an elective. Some even changed majors as a result of the course.

“Anyone I ever met who took courses with him, they said that they ended up going into journalism because of him,” she said.

Jones began his journalism career as a sports reporter, Karen Jones said. He later worked at the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe. While at the Globe, he was part of the staff that won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for public service. The publication won the award for “its massive and balanced coverage of the Boston school desegregation crisis,” according to the Pulitzer Prize website.

Jones transitioned into television journalism and was part of a CBS WBZ-TV news team that won a 1980 Emmy award for coverage of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Karen Jones said.

He then “switched sides,” she said, and worked as a spokesman in the offices of former Dukakis and former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn.

Jones served as deputy press secretary at the White House during the Clinton administration, according to a Globe obituary.

In 2003, Jones and his wife moved to Newton after he was appointed MIT News Office director.

His wife said Jones considered returning to his teaching career.

“But when we moved back up here to Boston and he was working at MIT, it was the academic environment he always hoped and dreamed he would retire from,” she said.

Jones, an avid gardener and Red Sox fan, became sick shortly after the couple’s move to Boston, Karen Jones said.

“He made everyone he touched feel special,” she said. “He’s loved, and he’s going to be missed by very many people.”

In addition to his wife, Jones is survived by his mother, Ruth Stokes; two daughters, Kofi and Keely; a sister, Rita Dady; a brother, Frizelle; a stepbrother, Eric Stokes; and a granddaughter, according to an MIT press release.

An October memorial service is scheduled to be held at MIT.

Staff reporter Allison Manning contributed reporting to this article.

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