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Spring 2017


The Next Phase for

Humans of Rutgers

Scoring Skills with JMS Sports Specialization

Designing Digital Media Active Learning in Safe Spaces The student-produced alumni magazine of the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University

Photo credit: Jessica Lee

Masthead Managing Editors Natalie Maszera Elizabeth Sarofiem

Online Managing Editors Alanna Doherty Ziajah Nellom

Advertising Celtis Fox

Michael Anderson

Cover Designers Grace Ibrahimian Crystal Nunoo

AlumNotes Peter Lopez Table of Contents Rachel Kremen Photo Editors Brittany Chan

Deanna DiLandro Louis Harned Safaa Khan

Infographics Jessica Lee

Kennia Vasquez Chloe Philips

Masthead Crystal Nunoo

Grace Ibrahimian

Copy Editors Bryan Alcox

Joseph Miller Zeno Kim Kurticia Collazo

Cover Photo Jeremy Berkowitz

About AlumKnights AlumKnights magazine is created as a part of the Rutgers University course Media Publishing and Design. Approximately 20 students take the course each year. To complete the course, each student writes several drafts of an article about the Journalism and Media Studies Department, and learns how to use Adobe InDesignÂŽ, Adobe PhotoshopÂŽ and WordPress. Visit the AlumKnights WordPress site at If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Professor Rachel Kremen at

Table of Contents 4 AlumNotes 7 In Memorium 8 Johnny Football 10 Producing the Modern Journalist 12 A Human of Rutgers Leaves Humans of Rutgers 14 The Sean P. Carr Memorial Scholarship 16 Bringing the Safety Pin to the Classroom 18 Calling the Shots 20 Altering Perspectives 22 Fit for Branding 24 Composing in the Classroom Page 24

AlumKnights Magazine | Spring 2017



AlumNotes 90's

‘93 Jonathan Jaffe is a graduate of the Rutgers Journalism and Media Studies major, Jaffe runs the day-to-day activities of his public relations firm, Jaffe Communications. With clients as large and far-reaching as Verizon and Amazon, he and his team strive to help them achieve their business module. Jaffe is also still part of the Rutgers community. He also runs a news website,, that focuses on issues within the Rutgers and New Brunswick community. His scarlet fever has not broken, as he proudly holds season tickets for the Rutgers football games. ‘96 Lisa Ferdinando works as a reporter at the Pentagon, Ferdinando writes features and news articles about current military and defense issues. Additionally, she is a reservist at the U.S. Coast Guard in Baltimore, Maryland. Four years ago, before becoming a reservist and reporting at the Pentagon, she wrote for Voice of America in Washington, D.C.

00's ‘06 Brooke Katz, after graduating with high honors in the JMS track Broadcast News and Reporting, started her professional career in Kentucky as a morning anchor and traffic reporter. Last May she moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to work as a morning anchor at WCNC. She was promoted within a year of arriving at the station. At WCNC Katz is responsible for the entire life of a news story: coming up with story ideas, writing and reading stories, story placement, as well as the overall look of the newscast. Katz still uses the advice she received from Rutgers Director of Undergraduate Studies, Steve

Miller. “Never say no to an opportunity,” he said, “You don’t know where it’s going to lead you.” Katz is also active on social media with more than 7,000 followers between her Instagram and Twitter pages. In her downtime she teaches aerobics, her hobby since high school. ‘06 Cindy Rodriguez co-founder and host for Morado Lens Podcast, a . The feminist podcast that embraces the importance of inner bruja, sex, love and culture. “We just want Latinas who listen to radio or podcasts to feel like they see themselves,” Rodriguez said. She wants to create shows that “talk about things we care about.” In addition to her podcast work, she was an editor for Vivala, CNN, and The Huffington Post and was recently hired as the head of content by, an online voting platform. ‘06 Taryn Sauthoff currently works for Comedy Central in New York City, where she has been for the past five years. As the supervising producer, Sauthoff is responsible for making sure content airs across all online and on-demand devices. She previously served as a digital producer for The Colbert Report and as a senior producer.

10's ‘10 Julia Nutter completed a double major in Political Science and Journalism and Media Studies, passion and enthusiasm for broadcasting and production landed Julia Nutter a full-time job at NBC. After completing an internship there, she was hired as Rachel

5 Maddow’s assistant, and eventually worked her way up to the role of producer. Nutter says her time at WRSU, Rutgers Radio, greatly contributed to her skillset. Her advice for JMS undergraduates is to find any outlet near the Rutgers community that will allow them to get hands-on experience. No matter what their passion may be, Rutgers has something related to it. All someone has to do, she says, is find the organization, sign up, and be a part of it. ‘11 Hilary Berk has earned the position of associate producer for Daytime Emmy Award-winning “The Dr. Oz Show,” where she has worked for more than two years. She previously held positions on “The Bill Cunningham Show” and at ABC News Radio. She holds degrees in Journalism and English from Rutgers University. ‘12 Maricar Santos graduated with a double major in Journalism and Media Studies and Spanish. “I’m not ethnically Latinx,” Santos said. “I just decided to study Spanish because I’m really interested in learning about other cultures.” She also has a minor in Sociology. Since September 2016, she has been the associate editor of the Working Mother magazine and website, where she writes articles on career, parenting, and lifestyle topics. ‘13 Kelly Velocci works as the associate managing editor at Cottages & Gardens Publications. She started as an editorial intern for the organization during her last semester at Rutgers. Rising in rank since then, she has worked closely with New York designers, both established and up-and-coming, for the magazine. In her current role, she helps write and produce the New York and Hamptons publications. ‘14 Habeeba Husain as a freelance writer for SLAM magazine, has become an integral voice for minorities in the sports media industry. Husain covered Muslim basketball star Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir’s journey to overturn the International Basketball Federation’s ban on headscarves and headgears. “FIBA plans to review and approve the change in May 2017,” she says. Husain has also contributed to a variety of other newspapers and magazines, including Narratively and the Times of

Trenton. Recently, she started a blog that focuses on current events, travel, and “#blessings” in her life. ‘15 Rachel Bernstein, a 2015 Journalism and Media studies graduate, has joined the Rutgers Institute for Women’s Leadership coordinating workshops and events as the Program Coordinator for the Alison R. Bernstein Media Mentors Program. The Institute for Women’s Leadership 9-unit consortium uses its role as a catalyst and incubator for innovative programs that focus on linking theory and practice in fields such as health, media and technology, and philanthropy in the nonprofit sector, while continuing to build interdisciplinary leadership education opportunities that deepen understanding of critical issues affecting women. This is Bernstein’s second year running the program, and she is currently organizing a symposium titled, “The New Normal? Women, Media, and Politics,” which will be fundraising for the Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture, and Feminist Studies. The establishment of this chair will take the support of foundations, Steinem’s many friends and colleagues, and Rutgers alumni who have an interest in advancing the chair’s unique research and educational initiatives that are provided by the Institute for Women’s Leadership. ‘15 Jhessier Espana shows it is a smooth ride on the road to success, and Espana is behind the wheel. His journey began as an intern for Complex Networks in January 2014, where he was officially employed as an executive sales assistant in September 2015. In 2016, Espana managed client entertainment during the first Complex Con, a festival bringing together music, pop culture and more. He handled all reservations, including hotel, transportation and happy hour for the entire weekend of the event, becoming one of the MVP employees of the year. Espana is now the entertainment account director, responsible for driving revenue to the company through strategic brand partnerships and social promotion. His client list includes those associated with Complex television shows, movies, sports and music. AlumKnights Magazine | Spring 2017

6 ‘15 Chelsea Pineda was recently promoted to associate video producer at Insider, the lifestyle division of Business Insider, Inc., where she edits, produces, and shoots short videos that highlight cover art, food and design. She recently produced a short video featuring a 99-year-old Filipina tattoo artist whose traditional technique attracts people from all over the world. This video has received over 63 million views: her biggest hit to date. Aside from Insider, Pineda has also found a passion in music photography and was recently hired as an in-house photographer for Webster Hall, a historic New York music venue. ‘16 Mariam Aliyu is a Journalism and Media Studies and Philosophy graduate from Rutgers, New Brunswick; Aliyu completed her studies a semester earlier than expected. Graduating early awarded her the opportunity to focus on sitting the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), in order to pursue a career in law. Aliyu is currently travelling through European cities, including London, Germany, and Paris.

towards digital and social media responsibilities. ‘16 Morgan Parris is a multimedia journalist and reporter for KVRR-FOX News. She is currently stationed in Fargo, North Dakota, where she works with two other Rutgers graduates. While at Rutgers, she worked for the RU-tv master control department and moved up to become a production crew member. Throughout her undergraduate years, she completed various internships, including a position as a digital media intern for NBC’s Today Show. Now, as a multimedia journalist, Parrish pitches story ideas, creates her own content and reports the news for KVRR-TV. ‘16 Chisa Egbelu is the CEO and founder of a new non-profit crowdfunding platform, The platform serves as a means for college students to combat ever-rising tuition through crowdfunding. Egbelu spent most of his postgraduate time building his company and networking, visiting Twitter, Google, and IDT headquarters, and partnering with other organizations dedicated to eliminating issues surrounding higher education. The company, which officially launched in January, recently won a business pitch competition at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. In their first month, PeduL also announced a national search for 20 college students to become “PeduL Fellows.” The fellowship program helps students create their own crowdfunding campaigns to fund their college education.

‘16 Yrbenka Arthus is a rising star in the editorial world, Arthus is making her name at Time Inc.’s Essence magazine. Arthus dreamed of working at Essence her first semester in JMS and reached out to the Editor-in-Chief, who then became a role model throughout her years at Rutgers. The alumna works in brand communications, dealing with brand experience and the relationship between the audience and the brand. She also works with the company’s competitors, remaining aware of their concepts and impact. “Now more than ever, it seems like the possibilities are endless - I like something about every part of the entire picture,” said Arthus, who also hopes to advance

‘16 Angie Saber, a graduate from the class of 2016, double-majored in Journalism and Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies. The JMS program at Rutgers University equipped Saber with essential skills that she attributes to how invested the professors are in teaching students skills to succeed. “I am very thankful for being able to attend such a university,” she says. With these degrees, she has actively taken strides as a current adviser to the League of Arab States Mission for the U.N. She continues to apply her passion for education in graduate school at New York University, studying International Relations. Angie looks forward to her internship this summer for the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau at the State Department, and she hopes the next graduating class remembers to always vocalize their career goals. .


In Memorium Photo credit Jamie Corbman Photography

Jaclyn Sabol Patton Jaclyn Sabol Patton of Fairfield, CT, was born in 1982 to Elizabeth and Ken Sabol. She passed away peacefully in 2017 at the age of 34. A Rutgers JMS graduate, Sabol Patton accomplished more than most even aspire to. After graduation, she joined the Broadway national tour of Contact. She later joined the NJ Nets NBA dance team, became a sideline reporter and hosted her own talk show, “Jac of all Nets”. Additionally, she coached senior citizen halftime shows that were turned into a Netflix documentary a Broadway musical, with Sabol Patton serving as a consultant and dance coach on the latter. During her time with the NBA, she also performed as a guest judge, coach, and choreographer on the hit Chinese show ‘Dance Passion’. In 2007, she was voted by NBA fans to be the Nets representative on the first All Star Dance Team and was the first female emcee for NBA All-Star Weekend. She chose to leave the NBA to undergo treatment when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2010. She then began working as an Account Director at MediaMax Network. It is there that she met the love of her life and true soul mate, Todd Patton. Married after just a few months of dating, the two share irreplaceable memories and a life together that was filled with love, support and a true honoring of their vows. They enjoyed traveling to new places, spending time with friends and family and building their new life together based on the foundation of true love. She was actively involved with the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), serving as emcee for fundraisers. She was truly the voice of the NBTS, encouraging and inspiring both brain tumor survivors and care givers. .

Gianna DeVeitro Gianna DeVeitro of Deptford, NJ passed away on on May 13, 2017 at the age of 24. DeVeitro was the beloved daughter of Tina DeVeitro and Jonathan Tomlinson and the devoted sister of Jayden DeVeitro, Sophia, Athena, JJ and Zeke. She was also the dear granddaughter of Margaret DeVeitro and Nancy Tomlinson. DeVeitro graduated from Rutgers in Spring 2016 with a major in JMS, a minor in Digital Communications, Information and Media, and a specialization in Sports Journalism. An avid sports fan, she served two seasons as a manager for the Scarlet Knights Women’s basketball team. DeVeitro also interned at Mount Sinai’s KidZoneTV in the Fall of 2015, where she interviewed former professional baseball players. DeVeitro was an integral part of creating the channel’s three live shows per day for patients at Kravis Children’s Hospital, working behind the scenes and on camera. When her internship ended, DeVeitro continued on at the channel until she graduated from Rutgers in the Spring. “She was a very energetic, very caring person,” said Mathea Jacobs, KidZoneTV manager. “It was very clear from her work with the kids how much she cared.” During her time at Rutgers, DeVeitro also worked for Professor Steve Miller as a student tutor. “She was the brightest light in any room who danced by like a blur,” wrote Miller, in tribute. “She was a sensational person of whom everyone took notice. Like a comet, Gianna was a ball of fire who could do anything she wanted and touch all who saw her.” . AlumKnights Magazine | Spring 2017

Features Photo credit: Cletis Fox


Johnny Football

The Sports Specialization: Spring Training for JMS By Cletis L. Fox



eing born into a New York Giants season- ticket holding family, Johnny DiNapoli, ‘16 has always been a diehard sports fan. As a freshman taking the infamous Expository Writing course, DiNapoli penned a paper on Yankee Stadium that pointed him towards the Journalism and Media Studies (JMS) major. Now he’s in the early stages of a flourishing career in sports journalism. “Sports are a very serious subject and have a large part in our media and society,” says Steve Miller, director of the JMS undergraduate program. So it’s not surprising that Rutgers developed a specialization in Sports Journalism for interested JMS majors. Within the specialization, students can learn many different facets of the industry including, but not limited to, writing, television production, and photography. Miller sends daily emails with internship opportunities to JMS students and SC&I offers up to three credits for both paid and unpaid internships.

to be writing and you’re always going to have constant communication with people.” DiNapoli specifically mentioned the JMS course Public Relations and Information, where he learned how to write press releases, feature stories, and boilerplates. DiNapoli also praised the course Multimedia Sports Reporting taught by Part-Time Lecturer Michael McCarthy, who also writes for Sporting News and is a frequent contributor to Fox Sports. The two ended up coming into contact during DiNapoli’s time at Fox Sports.

"Every job you have, you're always going to be writing."

Toward the end of completing his degree and specialization, DiNapoli interviewed for a writing position as a Media Relations Intern at Fox Sports in New York City. His soon-to-be bosses were impressed by the fact that he went to Rutgers and by the amount of writing he had done in class. After accepting their offer, DiNapoli was soon working twice a week with publicists and the head of communications for Fox Sports New York City.

“During the World Series, I was on a conference call with MLB players John Smoltz, Alex Rodriguez, and Frank Thomas when Professor McCarthy gets on the phone and starts asking the players questions about the Series,” notes DiNapoli, “It was so cool to hear a professor I had last semester in the action doing real sports reporting.” DiNapoli is currently interviewing for full-time positions and feels confident that his time at Rutgers will serve him well. With his passion for sports, JMS degree and Sports Specialization, he might just be the next Bob Costas. .

In this position, DiNapoli was responsible for putting together twice daily reports of when Fox Sports was mentioned by other sports news outlets. These lists were compiled and distributed to all Fox Sports’ offices in every media market, including the headquarters in Los Angeles. DiNapoli was also responsible for creating content for the company’s website. This included writing stories and media releases regarding programming and company news. He also created biographies for on-air personalities such as Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe, who appear on the hit show Shannon and Skip Undisputed. “I’m really glad I learned the writing skills I did at Rutgers,” he says. “Every job you have, you’re always going AlumKnights Magazine | Spring 2017



Producing the Modern Journalist JMS students learn innovative media skills in the new Digital Media Production course. By Zeno Kim


eeping pace with industry trends, JMS students at Rutgers University are learning the foundational skills to produce websites, podcasts, webisodes, and multimedia projects through the department’s new Digital Media Production course.

camera. Though any camera will work, the professor currently offers a rental contract for students who wish to use professional cameras or other equipment, such as tripods, microphones, and light kits.

Alongside a website and podcast, students must also create a webisode and series of shots with an available

The final project is completed over several weeks as students work in groups of four to develop, edit, and

Students work in groups to create their webisodes by Introduced in the spring 2016 semester, Digital Media developing a script, shooting the video, and editing Production allows students to craft the technical skills their final product for publication. They must also that are necessary for journalism today. The course fo- incorporate skills that they previously learned, such cuses on content creation and online platform distribu- as opening the video with a title graphic and using tion, and class periods are often divided into lectures, recorded audio. demonstrations, and lab time for assignments. As an introduction to the video section of the course, “We focus on a specific topic for three classes before Bennett arranged a trip to ITV Studios for his students moving onto a new topic,” states Professor Neal Benthis semester. There, students received hands-on exnett, who has taught the course for the last three seperience with television cameras and played different mesters. In the first four weeks, students created their broadcasting roles. own websites before moving on to producing podcasts. “That’s the thing I really like about Professor Bennett’s Websites are designed using Wix (http://www.wix. class,” says Nunoo. “We learn the practical in the classcom/), a free website creation tool that requires no room, but then we learn how to properly apply it in the prior coding experience. The sites are graded on their real world.” own merit and used throughout the semester to house other assignments, as well. Technical skills must carry over in each unit as the final project encompasses everything that the students “The website will be used to embed the podcasts, learned throughout the semester. video, and other digital content, such as social media links, RSS feeds, and forms,” states Bennett. “It’s a multimedia project that brings all of the elements together in one final project,” Bennett says. “They “We get to build our portfolios and take them outside need to create a campaign or story that includes a new of the class,” says Crystal Nunoo, a JMS senior who is website, podcasts, webisodes, and social media. This is taking the course this semester. “It’s a great way for me also the time when I introduce them to transmedia,” or to strengthen my digital background.” multiplatform storytelling.

Photo credit: Safaa Khan


Professor Neal Bennett conducts a professional camera workshop for his students at ITV Studios.

present their campaign to the class. By this point, students have learned how to use various software programs and distribution platforms from previous assignments, and they can incorporate what they have learned into a final presentation that accounts for a quarter of their grade.

technical aspects of production, and it becomes more of a challenge for them when they’re presented with tasks that require them to use tech.”

As many JMS students begin the course without prior production experience, Digital Media Production can offer a challenge.

“I think the takeaways from these courses are the ability to take what they are learning in media studies and apply it to real life productions,” says Bennett. “From producing to editing, students need to be proficient with technology. More now than ever before, new employees are required to wear a few different hats in this industry.” . Photo credit: Left - Deanna Dilandro, Right -Safaa Khan

“Most are just being introduced to the tech in their junior or senior year of college,” explains Bennett. “I find that the students are limited with their exposure to the

Despite this, the course has been very popular with JMS students since it was introduced last spring.

AlumKnights Magazine | Spring 2017

Features Photo credit: Nancy Adler


A Human of Rutgers Leaves Humans of Rutgers

Humans of Rutgers Founder, Jeremy Berkowitz, reflects on his experience as he prepares to pass on his legacy.


eremy Berkowitz came to Rutgers in 2013 undecided. Discovering a knack for communicating with strangers, paired with a passion for photography and admiration for the Humans of New York page, the Rutgers freshman began a project of his own: Humans of Rutgers. A collection of images and stories from students, faculty and staff, and New Brunswick residents, the project now boasts almost 10,000 followers on Facebook and more than 2,500 followers on Instagram. Berkowitz’s project is now a staple in the Rutgers

community. The page has become more than sharing people’s story—it’s an important part of Berkowitz’s identity. The photojournalist says while there are times when he goes around campus to approach subjects on the go, the project also allows room for planned interviews from subjects that follow the page and have expressed interest in sharing their story. “It’s been the only constant my whole Rutgers experience,” said the senior. “It’s helped me grow as a photographer and I’ve learned I’m comfortable talking to people…being Humans of Rutgers has

“My post on [Rutgers journalism professor] Steven Miller reached just under 100,000 people,” said Berkowitz. “This was the first time I really felt like the project was getting recognized. It was great to speak with someone so integral to the Rutgers community, and especially to the journalism community at RU.” While a majority of the page centers on the New Brunswick campus, he also interviewed Rutgers students interning in New York this past summer. His extension of the program in New York not only added more diverse, fresh content, but also expanded the concept of the project to outside the limits of a college town.

“I had so much fun doing it and shared so many stories,” he says. “I think if it changed a bit, I would be disappointed, but it wouldn’t be in my hands anymore and I feel proud of the content I’ve produced while here.” Berkowitz has already begun training students from the school newspaper, The Daily Targum, to follow in his footsteps. “So far I’ve taken a couple of students around campus and it’s been cool to show them what I do and how I do it. I’m definitely still working towards passing it off for good,” sad Berkowitz. While Berkowitz isn’t going to continue his involvement in the project after graduation, he reflects back on it as a major part of his college education. “It wasn’t technically a project for school, but it was a Rutgers project for me because it shaped my career path and passions so strongly,” he said, adding that he’s eager to work on similar projects in the future. “I’m most interested in working with people, taking portraits, and sharing people’s stories about their lives, cultures, or hardships.” . Photo credit: Jeremy Berkowitz

made me more of a conversationalist and made me more approachable and more comfortable approaching people.” Many students know the page, but a majority of them don’t know the face behind it. This allows each introduction and approach to be new, unique and organic. He became something of a super hero with a secret identity.

Photo credit: Jeremy Berkowitz

Photo credit: Jeremy Berkowitz


AlumKnights Magazine | Spring 2017



The Sean P. Carr Memorial Scholarship How the JMS department and alumni united to honor one of their own. By Bryan Alcox


ean Carr was a devoted insurance reporter in Washington, D.C. when he passed away in 2014, at age 43. Throughout his life and career, Carr displayed a passion for reporting and exposing wrongdoing, and that passion was palpable in both his work and his character. “Certain people, reporting is in their blood,” said Tim Sullivan, a friend of Carr’s. “Certain people, it’s the total summation of their character, and that was Sean.” Carr was a graduate of the Rutgers journalism program, where he met Sullivan as a peer. While at Rutgers, the two also forged bonds with their professor, Steven Miller, that lasted long after Carr and Sullivan graduated. Due to the close relationship, both Sullivan and Miller were affected by the loss of their friend. Receiving the news, Jennifer Baljko, a fellow journalism student and classmate of Carr’s, stated she “felt his loss immediately.” Baljko, considering the difficulty her own family had paying college tuition, reached out to Sullivan and Miller alongside Carr’s wife. All supported memorializing Carr through a scholarship. As a result of the collaborative efforts from so many of the JMS department members, along with the help of the Rutgers Foundation, The Sean Carr Memorial Scholarship was established. “All this is indicative of how much Sean was loved,” said Miller, “and how much Sean contributed to everybody and everything.” Carr’s contributions can be traced back to when Sullivan began writing at Rutgers in 1990, at the Cook College newspaper, The Green Print. Carr was a news editor, and became the editor in chief a year later. “He totally took me under his wing,” said Sullivan. The two

forged a friendship as Sullivan began to study journalism, and both spent time at Rutgers exploring their journalistic capabilities. Sullivan recalled, for example, a collaborative investigative reporting piece on police harassment, wherein he and Carr sought out to expose RU Police Department officers with complaints against them. “There’s something very special about the people you meet in college, because the years are formative,” said Sullivan, reflecting on the effect Carr’s mentorship had on him. “Not only did he make me a better writer, he made me a bolder person.” After finishing at Rutgers, Carr remained brave in his reporting. “It was fun listening to him question officials,” said Baljko, who also crossed paths with him professionally at The Home News Tribune in East Brunswick during the 1990s. “What I respected most was that he wouldn’t let people weasel out of answers. He had a way of getting underneath an issue, and getting people to talk to him.” As an example, Sullivan recalls a story Carr managed to break not long after their time at school together, about a local school board committing ethics violations. Later on, during his time in Washington, Carr studied insurance as it applied to a variety of issues, from healthcare to climate change, and communicated the impact they had on both a small scale and large. Furthermore, Sullivan also recalls work Carr did surrounding problems that eventually led to the 2008 financial crisis, exploring concepts such as bad derivatives and unsecured loans. “He was smart enough to see the problems early,” said Sullivan. Carr’s work stood out, and his death prompted those close to him to reflect on a gap he had filled in the

Photo credit: Donna Dior

15 Miller (left) and Sullivan (right) recording “You’d Be Laughing Now,” with an image of Carr on the music stand.

field of journalism. “Something’s been forgotten,” said Miller, considering the overall state of the field. “Journalists are supposed to serve the public, and not their pocketbook.” Miller, now the director of undergraduate studies for JMS, noted the importance of ethical journalism in a period when journalists face intense financial and social pressure. In order to effectively keep a democracy alive, journalists must seek out and distribute information that can be difficult to obtain. “Sean, to us, exemplified that,” said Miller. “He never stopped going after the story, and if you’re not going to honor that, what else are you going to honor?” At the end of the summer of 2016, as Miller and Sullivan discussed how they could make appeals for the scholarship fund, Miller wrote lyrics for a song in Carr’s honor, called, “You’d Be Laughing Now.” Sullivan and Miller agreed that a song would be the ideal way to crystallize Carr’s memory. “Music is very therapeutic,” said Sullivan, expressing the significance in the choice of medium. “Sean was a really big music fan, and he and I went to a lot of concerts together.” Sullivan pulled in Donna Dior for the project. She’s the other member of his duo, The Monarchy. Miller played guitar. As a means of extending the goodwill imparted by the song, they created the Sean Carr Memorial Scholarship Fund GoFundMe page. There, anyone who wishes to contribute to the scholarship fund can, in turn, receive a recording of the song.

The GoFundMe page was just one in a series of efforts to contribute to the scholarship fund. After the Rutgers Foundation helped secure the fund’s founding donors, Miller also organized a fundraising concert by The Monarchs at the Cook Campus Center. Miller also took part in the concert that night, playing guitar for “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd, as a dedication to a drunken night in college when Carr told Sullivan he wanted the song played at his funeral. Ultimately, the money raised for the scholarship will promote Carr’s core values. “I would hope that anybody that is a part of Sean’s scholarship finds the same pursuit of the truth that he did,” said Sullivan. “I also hope the scholarship instills a sense of community and connectedness between Rutgers alum and undergraduates,” said Baljko. “I think this scholarship is a way to give back and help a few students out.” The scholarship has already made a difference. Two have been awarded to date, a third is being awarded soon, and people are continuing to donate to the fund. “This is a way for Sean, and what Sean did,” said Miller, “to live forever.” If you would like to make a donation to the Sean Carr Memorial Scholarship fund, please visit the GoFundMe page at . AlumKnights Magazine | Spring 2017



Bringing the Safety Pin to the Classroom How this JMS Professor is Creating a Safe Space for Students to Voice their Opinions By Safaa Khan


and becoming more and more personal. Professors like her are utilizing current events as teaching elements, and are allowing students to question today’s political and social climate to create real-life case studies.

As a Ph.D. candidate and instructor for the Journalism and Media Studies program, she understands the need for guidance and well thought-out discussions intended to help students grow. While her courses usually consist of slide shows, class discussions, and projects, they are vastly different than most lecture-style courses as they are meant to get students thinking about social and ethical issues within the consumerism and media world.

“I personally have never pretended that the world is separate from the classroom, or that we check our bodies at the door when we enter academia. I am deeply affected by the social and political climate, and I expect my students are, too. Learning is more than just a cerebral activity, and the world takes a toll on the body and therefore the mind. In all my classes, I find I am teaching more than just one subject; I am encouraging my students to develop and - most importantly - be able to clearly, logically articulate a political consciousness, no matter what their political leanings.”

n Tuesday November 8, 2016 – election day – Professor Vyshali Manivannan cancelled all of her classes. “My classes often have recent or first-time voters, and I want to give them the day to experience and celebrate their newfound civic responsibility—in addition to making it easier to simply get out there and vote,” she explained.

"Good teaching isn't about being a 'sage on the stage' but being a 'guide on the side'"

“I have always believed that teaching is not about learning by rote, or being assessed based on the regurgitation of facts, but about active, embodied learning— not learning what to think but how to think, and how to internalize new habits of critical inquiry, thought process, and writing. It’s like my father, who was a physics professor, used to say: that good teaching isn’t about being ‘a sage on the stage’ but being ‘a guide on the side,” said Manivannan. She believes that the role of an educator is intensifying

Following the results of Brexit, a new movement spread throughout the United Kingdom in which people wore safety pins. As a sign of solidarity, the safety pins were meant to let people from minority and marginalized groups know that the wearers stood by them as allies. After the United States 2016 Presidential election, people in the U.S. hopped on this bandwagon as well. Professor Manivannan came into class the following week and told her students about the movement and

Photo credit: Safaa Khan


Vyshali Manivannan shows off her safety pin tattoo as she hosts office hours before her class, Writing for Media.

how she’d decided to participate: she had a safety pin tattooed on her collar bone. “I think I needed, for myself, a signifier that I belonged to a collective that did not want this, that was willing to stand up against it and unite to protect the willing to stand up for them.” Being so distraught by the negative repercussions of the election results, she saw the need for an outlet that would allow students to talk it out. “My attitude as a professor is that if something needs to be addressed, it will be, and we’ll catch up on course material later. In this particular climate, where profoundly disheartening news breaks every morning, I make time in my classes for students to voice what they’ve seen, articulate how they feel, and discuss ways of resisting or speaking back. My classes are already about dissecting, challenging, and articulating problems with or reasons to support the dominant ideology, so spending class time going over the news doesn’t seem too far off from my underlying course objectives.” Her tattoo is a symbol of both the movement and the spirit of her classroom: a safe space for students to question societal issues, come to realizations, and sim-

ply present their thoughts to the rest of the class. “Despite being in a large lecture hall, I felt really comfortable raising my hand and sharing my thoughts, even on controversial issues,” says Shazia Mansuri, a student in the School of Communication and Information. “Professor Manivannan never chose a side but always pushed us to challenge our ideas further and think critically about our opinions. It was really meaningful to be part of a classroom environment where everyone felt comfortable sharing their own lived experiences, because they were vital to the class curriculum.” The safety pin movement quieted and has even been criticized by some who think that it is ineffective as a social movement, but Vyashali has no regrets about her tattoo. “It shows others that I will stand up for them. Wearing the safety pin, or any other sign of solidarity, tells others you are not only a safe space, you are someone who is ready and willing to intervene. If I ever had any doubts, the tearful impromptu discussions I had with strangers on the subway, who saw the safety pin tattoo and flashed me a thumbs-up or commiserated with me or hugged it out before getting off at their stop—that sense that I was not alone in my convictions made it worth it.” . AlumKnights Magazine | Spring 2017



Calling the Shots

Self-motivated alumna Laura Reilly sets ambitious goals and paves the way toward them—with a few drinks along the way. By Joseph Miller


itting in the back corner of a bustling, candlelit bar in SoHo, Manhattan, 22-year-old Rutgers alumna Laura Reilly sips from a fruity alcoholic beverage at a table with two of her coworkers after work. They swap drinks with one another to try a wider palette of cocktails, discussing the beverages in detail. Although they are merely out for fun after a hectic day at work, they are also busy taking mental notes on their drinks for potential future assignments.

Photo credit: Deanna DiLandro

For Reilly, work and alcohol are inseparable. As editorial assistant for SuperCall, a website dedicated to cocktails as well as cocktail culture, alcoholic beverages are a core part of her daily work. From industry news to recipes, drinking rituals, and remote distilleries, Reilly spends much of her day writing about a wide range of alcohol-related topics. Her office even

contains a few bars filled with alcohol and kegs of beer, and new cocktail concoctions are presented for taste-testing. Given that this is her first full-time, paid journalism job, it may seem to many that she is living the dream. To Reilly, this is yet another stepping stone toward her dream job of travel writing. Reilly’s first foray into journalism began in high school. Having spent most of her life in Hazlet, New Jersey, she was accepted into Monmouth County’s Communications High School, focused on journalism and communications. The school taught her not only writing skills, but also video and photo editing, which would later prove valuable in landing jobs. She showed promise at a young age as well, winning the Columbia Gold Circle Award for a story in 10th grade. At Rutgers University, she double-majored in Journalism and Cultural Anthropology with a minor in Religion. Part of the graduating class of 2016, she says one of the most significant and helpful events of her college career was her internship at BBC Travel during her final semester. She worked as part of a small, Manhattan-based team—only three people, plus herself—so she had a wide range of tasks. She researched photography, picked photographs, wrote captions and copy edited. She also experienced a transitional period at the office, complete with a new editor and a revising vision. The transitions proved to be beneficial to her.

Photo credit: Deanna DiLandro


Reilly enjoys cocktails such as this one both on-the-job and in her free time. Opposite page: Reilly enjoys a cocktail at Mother’s Ruin, a bar, in New York City.

“That was cool, because I got to be a part of those decisions, giving my input and doing a lot of research on the competition,” she said about the changes in the office. “It was great.” Prior to getting her job at SuperCall, Reilly worked as a bartender. She applied for a job at Thrillist Media Group as it was beginning a new venture into cocktail culture with SuperCall. In addition to her education at Rutgers, her previous bartending experience helped land her the job at SuperCall.

“Writing about liquor, there’s a bit of an intersection with writing about certain stuff around the world, around the country.” Reilly is able to write stories geared toward travel destinations, such as famous bars and breweries, combining SuperCall’s niche of cocktail culture with her passion for travel journalism. Her job often allows her to go to bars and do some unique first-hand research for articles. Reilly recalled a fun experience last summer in which she and a co-worker went to a bar and tried nearly their entire menu of alcoholic milkshakes.

"I'm really passionate about drinking as an activity and as a cultural standpoint."

Her work at SuperCall entails a largely unstructured workday with writers managing their own time. Topics vary widely but are all in the niche of cocktail culture, with some pieces being more educational and others being more pop-culture related. Some of the stories involve travel destinations and cocktail culture from around the world, and Reilly always makes a conscious effort to combine her passion for travel journalism with her work. “I still want to be a travel journalist, and I incorporate as much as I can at my job at SuperCall,” Reilly says.

Reilly hopes to eventually dig deeper and expand beyond cocktail culture. “I want to start writing deeper about food, deeper about travel writing,” Reilly says. “But, for now, I love this niche. I’m really passionate about drinking as an activity and as a cultural standpoint.” Long term, she hopes to become an editor or producer. She would love to eventually have a television show about travel. She might not have reached her destination yet, but she’s certainly calling the shots. . AlumKnights Magazine | Spring 2017



Altering Perspectives

There are many ways to communicate. Nat Clymer prefers photography. By Brittany Chan


n an era of selfies and snapshots, photography seems deceptively easy. What people often forget is that true photographers incorporate meaning in every little detail of their work. Good photos have a purpose that a hastily taken snapshot can’t replicate. This is a small part of what Nat Clymer, professor of photojournalism, tries to teach his student. As a child, Clymer was the youngest of three. He picked up photography as a hobby when he was just 9-years old. By high school he knew he was smart, just not in the traditional subjects and his deviation from the family norm didn’t give him a negative perspective of the world. He was, he says jokingly, “the white sheep of a family of lawyers.” Clymer says he “flunked out” of Rutgers during his first semester and attended a post graduate school in Boston to maintain continuity of study to avoid the draft during Vietnam and then went back to Rutgers for Summer Session to bring his GPA up. After he brought his grades, up he decided that he would be better off taking some time off from education so he enlisted in the US NAVY for four years. After his first year serving, he became designated as a Photographers Mate for the remainder of his four-year enlistment. During his time in the Navy, his job required him to take portraits, public relation’s photographs, phoPortrait of Audrey (left) and her mother (right) during a Flashes of Hope photoshoot several years ago. Credit: Nat Clymer

photography at a naval base in Europe, and classified work for intelligence gathering and NCIS. These experiences that came with serving in the Navy became a part of who Clymer is today, by seeing and speaking with people from all over the world, as well as understanding where they came from, and who they were. He found the world to be a place filled with people who all have their own stories to tell. After being discharged from the service, he went back to Rutgers and finished up his undergraduate work majoring in Human Communications and Shakespearean Literature. Upon graduating he had no idea what he was going to do so several friends told him about a job that had opened up for a photojournalist at a weekly paper in Somerville so he applied for that job until he could figure out what he was really going to do for the rest of his life. It was during this phase of his life that he first began to realize that he loved meeting all different types of people from all strata of society and he began to focus more and more on the portraiture that he had to take for the newspaper work. His work in portraiture has aided his main priority in life, “meeting and seeing all kinds of people.” But his view of the world clashed with his job in newspapers. Although this position allowed him to meet different kinds of people, the newspaper industry “saw the world in a cynical and negative light,” he said. Instead of embracing people, they aimed to expose them. “This wasn’t my style.” Clymer’s style, he says, comes from a mix of his experiences in the military, and his optimism and his interest in photography born during the Watergate era – when photography was seen as a powerful tool to promote change. He had a passion for photojournalism, but he wanted to promote

21 positivity, not negativity, so he left the newspaper and started his own photography business doing it the way he believed photography should be used and seen. Clymer has an underlying objective to connect with his subjects on a personal level. This helps people drop their “photo mask,” [what they think they should look like when they are being photographed] so their personality shines through. He tries to create portraits that show the subject as their true self, to provoke emotion from the audience. By intertwining his passion for photography, as well as his love of all different types of people, he creates an atmosphere that allows his subjects to feel comfortable, in order to capture the emotional elements that a photo should incorporate to tell a story.

that he had to be open to anything, and follow what he enjoyed. As a professor, his main goal is to help students find their passion, whether it is in photography, writing, etc. Clymer states, “It is really important to see passion. To find your passion, you need to know what passion looks like.” In taking Professor Clymer’s photojournalism class, I know what true passion looks like. You can see it in the way people speak, the way their eyes light up when they talk, their eagerness to share and educate, and how their personality reflects their passion. To view Nat Clymer’s professional photographs or inquire more information on his work, please visit his commercial website at and his artwork website at

Clymer also spends some of his time as a volunteer photographer with a national non-profit, Flashes of Hope, which provides families of pediatric cancer patients with free black and white portraits of their children. He opened the first Chapter in the New Brunswick area where he puts his passion and communication skills to the test. Similar to all of his shoots, he wants to get the children to open up so he can capture the moment. These are about kids being kids, not kids being cancer patients. Every day, we see tens of thousands of images, whether it is in passing, while reading a magazine or newspaper, or while watching television. This short glimpse alters our thoughts without us even realizing it. He believes all images need to be examined with a keen eye, in order to understand the purpose and meaning behind the picture. He emphasizes that our generation today is focused on things that do not matter, such as how many Facebook friends we have and how many ‘likes’ on a photo we get. He says, “these have no bearing on life.” He incorporates this lesson in his photojournalism class by making his student think about the world around us, which is how a photographer thinks when taking photographs, “you can’t just look at your phone and expect to be a human being— you have to talk and expose yourself to other people to create friendships and networks.” Young adults these days are going towards a career that they ‘believe’ will bring success. Although he never expected to become a photographer, he notes

Sources: PayScale, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Academic Invest, Adorama Learning Center. Created by Kennia Vasquez AlumKnights Magazine | Spring 2017



Fit for Branding

JMS and Dance graduate Selena Watkins returns to campus as an adjunct dance professor at The Mason Gross School of the Arts.


n a Brooklyn dance studio, Selena Watkins travels across the room to Caribbean music, with a bandana in one hand and sweat glistening from her body. In her class, Socanomics, 25-30 students are behind her, meticulously watching her every move. She is no doubt the leader of the class, as she wears palm tree print on her pants and holds a stage presence that commands attention. She begins by leading a group of women in a warmup that consists of isolations and stretching. She then accelerates into more dynamic movement, with body rolls, hip movements, plyometrics and choreography. Inspired by her dance major and her parents’ Antiguan roots, Watkins created her own genre of high intensity dance workouts, called Socanomics. The workout focuses on strengthening and toning the entire body while having a blast. “I created Socanomics organically, from being so exposed to my Caribbean culture that celebrates dance and music and freedom of expression,” Watkins said. As an entrepreneur, Watkins uses the writing, public relations and communication skills she learned at Rutgers to effectively market her brand on digital platforms. On Instagram alone, Watkins’ network stands at over 12,000 followers and counting. After graduating from Rutgers in 2010, she entertained a more traditional route for JMS students. She interned at NY Hot 97, working as a producer and blogger for several on-air personalities. She attributes her success to the spark and direction provided to her by JMS.

Photo credit: LouisHarned

By Alanna Doherty

Photo credit: FIrstname Lastname Photo credit: LouisHarned


Selena Watkins, creator of Socanomics.

At the same time, Watkins was increasingly intrigued by a career in dance and fitness. After earning her personal trainer certification from the Athletics and Fitness Association of America, she worked at gyms in the New York area, teaching kickboxing, sculpting, body-toning, Les Mills Pump and cardio dance.

This accomplishment propelled her success and awarded her with the opportunity to create dance-inspired workout videos with Women’s Health. The exposure also boosted her social media presence. Her social media accounts include hundreds of short workout tutorials, images and her own motivational quotes.

This foundation allowed Watkins to create the ideal environment in her Socanomics class, where women with various cultural backgrounds and body types could come together and express themselves.

The opportunity to teach an Urban Fusion class at the Mason Gross School of the Arts presented itself in the spring of 2017. To educate her multicultural students on the foundations of urban music and dance, Watkins decided to combine aspects of her Socanomics class with the existing class curriculum.

“"I fused my skills and education in dance and in fitness to create a space for women of all shapes, sizes and cultures to get fit in a way that they will enjoy"”

Watkins proved her versatility by choreographing and dancing for the NBA Brooklyn Nets Dance Team. She has also danced with numerous celebrities, including Rihanna, Pharrell Williams and Janelle Monae. In 2012, Watkins was crowned Miss Black USA. In 2016, she reached a new level of celebrity when she won the title of Women’s Health 2016 Next Fitness Star for Women’s Health magazine, appearing on the cover and in a full spread about her fitness regimens.

Watkins hopes to further expand her network and make Socanomics a global brand. Recently, she started her own company, Body by Watkins, in which she produces handmade, African-inspired waist beads. Her mission for this company is an extension of what she preaches daily, which is to inspire all women to embrace their femininity, explore self-love and exhibit true confidence through fitness and dance. .

AlumKnights Magazine | Spring 2017



Composing in the Classroom Grammy Award-winning producer and journalist empowers students to find their own voice By Natalie Maszera


Photo credit: Brittany Chan

e looks like a figure from the world of jazz. The black leather blazer sets the tone as he steps into a campus café. Glen-plaid pants blended with the colors of a pinkish sunset accentuate his stride. A black fedora and sunglasses punctuate his beat. Soon a conversation with Leo Sacks will take on a rhythm of its own. As a producer for Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings, Sacks has helped some of our greatest musical creators preserve their legacies. His face alights as he recalls his work with legends, such as Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, the Isley Brothers, Earth, Wind & Fire and Gamble and Huff. “It’s been a great privilege as a fan,” he says, “and an even greater responsibility as a historian.” But Sacks has also had a long career as a journalist. He has worked “in the trenches” as a print reporter, broadcast news writer and producer at the highest echelon of the media. And now he is helping students at Rutgers to find their own voice as an adjunct professor in the Rutgers journalism and media studies program. Sacks has taught two semesters of Writing for Media with a semester of Music Journalism in between. “I may be learning more from my students than they’re learning from me,” he admits. Sacks attributes his passion for teaching to the encouragement he received from his own professors at the City College of New York during the mid-1970s. “They nurtured my interests in all kinds of writing,” he recalls, “from reporting a news story to the art of interviewing, to the skill set required for a life in the newsroom.

Leo Sacks, on Rutgers campus.

25 They taught me how to think critically. Most of all, they showed me that they cared about my journey and challenged me to go to any lengths to improve my writing. “Which is what I’m trying to do at Rutgers now,” he continues. “Pay it forward.”

Andrew Suydam, a junior in the Department of Communication, says that Sacks has helped him to feel more confident and determined. “He made me see that I’ve been writing too much from my head when I could be thinking with my heart.”

Sacks came to Rutgers on the strength of a recommendation from John Pavlik, the former chair of the Department of Journalism and Media Studies. “We’re neighbors in a tiny hamlet along the mighty Hudson,” Sacks says.

At age 60, Sacks acknowledges the references that have shaped him have “come from another lifetime. I’m merely teaching as I was taught: that there’s a cultural, political, historical, racial and socio-economic context to every kind of critical thinking.”

“One day in our neighborhood café, we began a conversation. It may have been about the weather. But the greater probability is that John was wearing his Green Bay Packers colors in a New York Giants country, and I complimented him on his bravery. The point is that we shared a mutual admiration, and when I said that I dreamed of teaching, he encouraged me to apply to Rutgers.”

“Your life experiences are going to frame you as a writer, frame you as a journalist, frame you as a citizen,” says Miller. “We wanted someone who would share great passion and information. Leo does that.”

Sacks vividly recalls his first telephone conversation with Steven Miller, coordinator of undergraduate studies for the Department of Journalism and Media Studies. Miller was thrilled to know that Sacks had worked with the legendary soul musician and songwriter Bill Withers (“Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Grandma’s Hands” and “Use Me”). “Steve wanted to know why Bill walked away from music at the height of his fame,” Sacks says. “I knew I had found a long-lost friend in Steve.

During a recent class, he grew frustrated when it became apparent that none of his students were reading The New York Times; a fundamental requirement for his class. He slammed his hand down abruptly on the table.

“I was concerned about my limitations. Steve walked me through my fears. He gave me the confidence to express what I was feeling. He gave me the freedom to be vulnerable.” According to Sacks, Miller quickly became a mentor, “someone who is simpatico, a true consigliere.” Miller shares the same admiration for Sacks. “He’s one of a kind,” says Miller. “He has an ability to get people to express themselves, not only in their writing but also verbally. Every student has a song, and Leo can teach them to play as magnificently as Mozart.” Ciana Davis, a senior in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, and a former student of Sacks, says, “He challenged me to find the words to say what I am feeling.”

Sacks is an imposing figure in the classroom. Standing at 6 feet 5 inches, he prowls the area around the lectern like a caged lion.

“Why aren’t you following my lead?” he demanded. “Our time is precious here. How can I teach you if you’re not fully engaged?” “It was my own ‘teachable moment,’” Sacks reveals. “How do I manage my own personal expectations for each student? I can’t make them want the same level of excellence that I aspire them to reach.” Sacks tells a story of a privileged yet troubled childhood. He was born and raised on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where his mother was a medical copywriter, and his father was a clinical psychologist who saw his patients in their home. He says his heart is heavy when he reflects on his adolescence and a “more tumultuous time in my 20s.” “I wasted a lot of years rebelling against my father by hurting myself,” Sacks admits. “It took me years to realize that he only wanted the best for me. How I used marijuana and Jack Daniels as a means to escape. Until AlumKnights Magazine | Spring 2017

26 there was no place left to run or hide. Now I’m the father of a 7-year-old who’s charming and delightful but also absolutely willful. So the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” “My dad was a habitual clothes horse,” he says, “and he was always late for his appointments. Which meant, as the oldest of his three children, I had to make small talk until he came home. ‘So how was your day, Mr. Jones?’ I’d say. It was surreal.” Sacks had his favorite patients, including the parish priest whose romantic feelings for his secretary gave him heart palpitations; the Holocaust survivor who couldn’t stop his compulsive eating; and the scion of a construction company who turned his back on the business rather than tell his father he was gay.

Nightly News” from 1992 through 1997. (He returned briefly in 2013 to write about the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin trial, and the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.) At Sony, Sacks has worked with America’s most celebrated artists. He has compiled and produced lavish boxed sets and packages for legends Aretha Franklin (“Take A Look: Complete On Columbia”), Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, Earth, Wind & Fire and Gamble and Huff (architects of the “Sound of Philadelphia”).

“"Every student has a song, and Leo can teach them to play as magnificently as Mozart."”

He compiled and produced “Bill Withers: The Columbia & Sussex Albums,” which received a Grammy Award for Best Historical Recording in 2014. Afterwards, he co-produced a tribute concert for Withers at Carnegie Hall.

“Life was entertaining and inscrutable,” he says. “My mother would put the well-thumbed Webster’s Dictionary beside me that she kept in the kitchen,” he recalls. She would have him circle every word on the front page of The New York Times that he did not know. “Now look them up!” he remembers her saying.

He currently juggles his teaching duties with his responsibilities as an A&R consultant for Sony Masterworks, the pop division of Sony Classical, where he is in charge of finding and developing new artists. He recently brought the folk duo Tall Heights and the Accidentals, an Americana trio, the company.

As his love for music grew, and he began to write about music for his high school newspaper, his mother would edit his copy. “It didn’t matter that she was unfamiliar with the music,” Sacks says. “She was connecting with the passion in my voice.”

Sacks is currently directing and producing his first documentary called “A Taste of Heaven” about the short, turbulent life of the New Orleans gospel artist Raymond Myles, who was murdered in 1998 on the brink of music stardom. “Raymond had the gift of greatness,” he says, “but he was also the victim of his own human nature.”

That passion led to his first professional job writing about the music industry for Cash Box and subsequently for Billboard, the “bible” of the music business. But he felt restrained by the formulaic demands of writing for a trade publication. So he began to write freelance articles for People, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle. He became a freelance reporter for the Post. That led to new writing and producing jobs at CNN, CBS News and Reuters International Television; freelance work as a contributor to The New York Times Book Review; and steady work as the weekend news editor for “NBC

Sacks says that teaching at Rutgers has been one of the most enriching and fulfilling experiences of his lifetime. “It’s a privilege to shape hungry hearts and minds,” he concludes. “My premise is that if you can learn to write a strong sentence, you can re-write that sentence for any platform. I can only hope that I might be making a difference in a student’s life because–well, I’m always starting on new chapters of my own. I just have a rearview mirror to guide me.” .



This Is Journalism By Michael Anderson

This isn’t your mother’s newspaper Landing on your doorstep Next to the milk, The mail. This is the new silk trail. Connecting the continents. This is the new cultural dominance. This is Journalism. This is beyond email And Bluetooth. Welcome to the new truth. Beyond Macintosh and laptops This is the virtual foreground and backdrop To your whole life. Say good-bye to the old life. This is Journalism. This is the new communication. Beyond television stations. Beyond CNN, And NBC, And VH1, and MTV. This is beyond the weatherman And the morning anchor. Beyond radio shows during your traffic rancor. This is Journalism. This is the newsfeed Where news bleeds Into commentary and opinion. This is dominion Of BuzzFeed, and NowThis, And now that and now facts Are blurred And lies are stirred in with the truth.

This is Journalism? This is where you come in. In this age of misinformation. You are the end of click-bait inclinations. You are the end of articles uncited. You are the end of farcicals. Re-write it. This is Journalism! You are the beginning of creative communication. You are the beginning of digital illumination. You put the smart in smart-phone Make your journalistic art known. You take the twit out of twitter. You make the quick hit diggers bitter. Make your exquisitely researched journals bigger. This is Journalism. No one said this would be easy. 140 characters may tease me But will never please me. Give me the full story. With the over-extended interviews. No breaks or interludes Make them read you even if they’re not into news. This is Journalism. Study the media. Tell us if they’re deceiving us. Guide us if they’re misleading us. We need you. More than ever before Don’t doubt it. This is Journalism. Make us hear, see, and read all about it. .

AlumKnights Magazine | Spring 2017



Every industry in today’s global workforce is in need of effective communication and information professionals. From media to health care to academic libraries, the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information (SC&I) covers all areas of these evolving industries and equips students for a myriad of careers in the 21st century digital workplace.

Undergraduate • Communication • Journalism and Media Studies • Information Technology and Informatics Minor Programs • Digital Communication, Information, and Media • Gender and Media

Graduate • Master of Communication and Media • Master of Information

Doctoral • Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Communication, Information, Library Studies

Professional Development Studies (Non-Credit) • Public Relations • Business and Managerial Communication • Health Communication




AlumKnights: Spring 2017  

AlumKnights magazine is created as a part of the Rutgers University course Media Publishing and Design. Approximately 20 students take the c...

AlumKnights: Spring 2017  

AlumKnights magazine is created as a part of the Rutgers University course Media Publishing and Design. Approximately 20 students take the c...