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Celebration: Class of 2010 Has its Moment in the Spotlight

All eyes are on Katie Honan (third from right), chosen by her classmates to speak on their behalf at the 2010 commencement ceremony.


on areas of darkness, corruption, and injustice in your own country and your own cities, but also around the world,” she said. The acclaimed international correspondent now

“What we all shared was our desire to dedicate our lives to telling stories in new and exciting ways.” —Katie Honan anchors ABC’s Sunday morning news program “This Week with Christiane Amanpour.” Amanpour also paid tribute to veteran U.S. diplomat

Richard Holbrooke, a day after his death and 15 years after he helped broker an end to the war in Bosnia through the Dayton Peace Accords. “He brought peace to warring factions that decided to go on a killing spree for no other reason than ethnic prejudice,” she said. “We as journalists were greatly privileged to follow his work.” Student speaker Katie Honan reflected on the experience of her class over the previous 16 months: “Some of us spent years as working journalists and came here to learn new skills. Others hadn’t even written a news story before. What we all shared was our desire to become better journalists and to dedicate our lives to telling stories in new and exciting ways.” !


tudents from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s fourth graduating class stood at attention on Dec. 15 as Dean Stephen B. Shepard conferred upon them the degree of Master of Arts in Journalism. The packed auditorium at TheTimesCenter on W. 41st Street erupted in cheers as the beaming Class of 2010 filed out of the room to the sound of the Kool & The Gang song, “Celebration.” Then celebrate they did, at a luncheon reception at the Journalism School next door. During the 90-minute commencement ceremony, television journalist Christiane Amanpour implored graduates to take time to go out and see the world. “In your lives, hopefully, you will use this profession not just to shine lights

Graduates focus on the proceedings; Ines Bebea accepts congratulations from Dean Stephen B. Shepard; Christiane Amanpour addresses the crowd.

2 Winning Projects • January Academy’s Diverse Lineup • Upcoming Film Series • New Entrepreneurial Courses 3 This Year’s Gala Honoree • Dean’s Corner 4 School Notes • Alumnus on the Job • The New York Observer’s New Editor-in-Chief IN THIS ISSUE:




New Tow-Knight Center Awards $40,000 for Journalistic Startups


Hands-on Learning at January Academy CLIFFORD MERIN


n January Academy 2011, students in the “Sports Writing and New Media Workshop” live blogged a college basketball game at Madison Square Garden with B.J. Schecter, assistant managing editor of (For the record, Syracuse beat St. John’s, 76-59, “although the Orange certainly looked sloppy against a team that’s not in its class,” one blogger wrote.) Other classes set up websites in WordPress, produced short radio documentaries, and learned how to edit copy in a multiplatform world. Some 35 journalism topics were covered over the 18 days of the Academy, a unique enrichment series the CUNY J-School offers every January between its Student Patrick Clark (left) discusses game first and second semesters. Most current students took advantage of the wide coverage with’s B.J. Schecter at range of courses, signing up for as many as five each. A handful of alumni also atMadison Square Garden. tended, and for the first time, journalists not affiliated with CUNY registered for select workshops at a modest cost through the School’s CUNY J-Camp continuing education initiative ( Among the new offerings was a crash course on the Big Apple, “Covering New York City (The Short Version)”, taught by Urban Reporting Program Director Sarah Bartlett. Another first-time session, “Creating Content for Mobile Devices”, was intended to get people thinking about publishing on new digital platforms, such as iPads and Androids. Once again, ProTools software training for students interested in radio reporting proved very popular. !

Global Film Festival Coming in April


omen’s human rights will be the theme of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s first Global Documentary Film Series on Apr. 6 and 7. The festival will feature documentaries that bring to light injustices against women around the world, including rape, forced marriage, denial of jobs and education, honor killings, and sexual slavery. According to the event organizers, women account for 70 percent of the 1.3 billion people who live in abject poverty and two-thirds of the 1 billion who are illiterate.

Entrepreneurial Journalism Initiative Kicks off with Five New Courses


he CUNY Graduate School of Journalism has begun a trial run of five new courses in entrepreneurial journalism as part of its efforts to find ways to sustain the future of the news industry. The School opened the courses to 11 students, alumni, and mid-career professionals who want to become involved in the developing field of entrepreneurial journalism. The classes include three CUNY J-School alumni along with postgraduate students from New York, Denmark, Cameroon, Rwanda, and Sri Lanka. More than 60 people sought admittance to the courses. Creation of the five courses was among the first tasks of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism, established last fall with $6 million from The Tow Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The courses ultimately will serve as the foundation of a new Advanced Certificate in Entrepreneurial Journalism. The certificate program has already passed muster with the


CUNY Board of Trustees and is awaiting registration by the New York State Education Department. “The program will provide students with the tools and techniques to start their own businesses or to help bring innovation and entrepreneurship to traditional media companies,” said TowKnight Center Director Jeff Jarvis, who heads the CUNY J-School’s Interactive Journalism Program and developed the new entrepreneurial curriculum along with Education Director Jeremy Caplan. The courses are Fundamentals of Business for Entrepreneurial Journalism, New Business Models for News, Entrepreneurial Incubation, Technology Immersion, and New Media Apprenticeship. The faculty includes Jarvis and Caplan, along with adjuncts Amit Paley, a Washington Post reporter finishing up his MBA at Columbia Business School, and Selcen Onsan, a tech expert formerly with Apple. Students will also hear guest lecturers from the fields of finance, advertising, law, technology, and media. !

The first CUNY J-School documentary series will focus on women’s rights around the world.

Assoc. Prof. Lonnie Isabel, director of the J-School’s International Reporting Program and chair of the film festival, said it evolved from discussions with students and faculty who were struck by the potential of the documentary format in exposing colossal world problems. “We want this to be the first of an annual event at the School,” he said. To learn about the films and panelists in the series as they become known, visit filmfestival.journalism. !


or the past four years, students in N $5,000 went to 2010 graduate Amy Assoc. Prof. Jeff Jarvis’s Entrepre Berryhill to develop a platform to enable neurial Journalism course have ended publishers and educators to build interacthe fall semester by competing for seed tive games. N Musikilu Mojeed of the Class of 2010 money to launch the journalistic busiwon $5,000 to create NigeriaPoliceWatch. nesses they conceived in class. The most com, a website to help Nigerians improve recent competition on Dec. 13 was marked the performance of the national police by two firsts. force. The $40,000 in awards were the first given In the past two months, Pinder said, “I’ve out by the new Tow-Knight Center for Entrebeen working on redesigning and relaunching preneurial Journalism, established last Octothe beta site, and getting my arms around data ber with $6 million from the Tow and Knight collection tools. I’ve also had some CUNY foundations. Initial funding for the contest students calling medical providers to collect came from a McCormick Foundation grant pricing information.” On Feb. 14, her project four years ago. It was also the first time the won a second $20,000 grant, from the Intergrand prize went to a mid-career journalist national Women’s Media Foundation. who had been invited to take the class as part Jarvis said he was proud of all the students of the CUNY J-School’s mission to provide Jeanne Pinder works on her health-care pricing startup in the newsroom of the J-School. who took the course and presented their projtraining for media professionals. Ten students had 10 minutes each to convince a jury of venture capitalists, news profesects. “Jeanne’s success was well deserved,” he added. “It’s a great message to other similarly sionals, and entrepreneurs why their project should be funded. The proposals included a motivated journalists. As part of the Tow-Knight Center, we hope to offer an Advanced hyperlocal website, a consumer-funded photo magazine, and a new platform for multimedia, Certificate in Entrepreneurial Journalism for professionals looking to find new opportuninon-linear storytelling. After deliberating for 90 minutes, the jury announced the prizes: ties amid the profound changes that are disrupting the news industry.” (See story below.) N Former New York Times editor Jeanne Pinder received $20,000 to pursue her project “We believe the innovation, experimentation, and investment that journalism so that uses the power of Web 2.0 to bring price transparency to the health-care marketplace. badly needs to build a sustainable future are most likely to come from entrepreneurs,” N Shane Dixon Kavanaugh of the Class of 2010 was awarded $10,000 to start Jarvis continued. “And our students are committed to helping build the future of building an ad cooperative bringing together some of the best hyperlocal media in journalism.” ! Brooklyn with the magazine he already publishes there.

Free Speech Champion Floyd Abrams Gets Top Billing at Awards Gala Find Your Comparative



irst Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams, who has defended press freedoms in some of the landmark cases of our time, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s annual awards gala on May 16. Abrams will be honored along with four outstanding graduates from the Class of 2010. The CUNY J-School will also celebrate its fifth anniversary as the only publicly supported graduate journalism school in the Northeast. A partner in the firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel, Abrams is perhaps best known for representing The New York Times in its publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. More recently, his argument in an amicus curiae brief was upheld last year when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations and unions have the right to fund broadcasts that could influence elections. Currently, he is representing the owners of the Washington City Paper in a $2 million lawsuit filed by Washington Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder over alleged misstatements in stories that ran in the weekly newspaper. Past honorees at the Awards for Excellence in Journalism were Charlie Rose, Barbara Walters, and Tom Brokaw. Money raised at the dinner goes exclusively to supporting scholarships for deserving students. !

Matthew Goldstein Chancellor, The City University of New York

Stephen B. Shepard Dean Judith Watson Associate Dean

BOARD OF ADVISERS Roz Abrams WCBS-TV News Anchor Dean Baquet Washington Bureau Chief, Assistant Managing Editor of The New York Times Merrill Brown New Media Consultant David Carey President of Hearst Magazines Connie Chung Television Journalist and Anchor Kevin Convey, Editor-in-Chief, New York Daily News Les Hinton CEO of Dow Jones & Co. Jared Kushner Publisher of The New York Observer Adam Moss Editor-in-chief of New York Magazine Michael Oreskes Senior Managing Editor at the Associated Press

John Paton CEO of Journal Register Company Norman Pearlstine Chief Content Officer at Bloomberg News Howard Rubenstein President of Rubenstein Associates Arthur Siskind Senior Adviser to News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch Richard Stengel Managing Editor of Time David Westin President of ABC News Mark Whitaker Managing Editor of CNN Worldwide Matthew Winkler Editor-in-Chief of Bloomberg News Mortimer Zuckerman Chairman and Publisher of the New York Daily News and U.S. News & World Report

Amy Dunkin Editor Carmel Delshad Reporter

John Smock Photographer Nancy Novick Designer

The following is an abridged version of Dean Stephen B. Shepard’s remarks to the Class of 2010 at its Dec. 15 commencement.


his is actually a fascinating time of opportunity, a chance for you and your generation to re-imagine journalism, to put your own stamp, your own ideas, on our venerable profession. Already, there is an astonishing array of experimentation and change going on in journalism today, some of it at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. In fact, journalism is expanding rapidly into a multimedia, interactive process with exciting opportunities for story-telling that simply didn’t exist a few years ago. Yes, you can still put words on paper, and I hope many of you do that. It’s a noble calling. But you can also tell stories with video, audio, web packages, blogs, podcasts, slide shows, or interactive journalism personalized for an audience of one. You can use social

“It is important for you to know where your passion lies, what differentiates you from other talented young journalists.” media to engage audiences. You can develop apps for tablet computers, Kindle-type readers, and mobile phones. You can embrace entrepreneurial opportunities to develop your own digital products or services for journalism. You are learning to think in new ways and be fluent across media platforms. In the process, you will transform journalism. And there are many new outlets for your work, as well as job opportunities, at news outlets that simply didn’t exist when we opened this school four and a half years ago – sites like Politico, the Daily Beast, Huffington Post, AOL Patch, Talking Points Memo, TMZ, NBC’s Local Interactive Media, Global Post, Kaiser Health Network, Mainstreet Connect, and dozens of others. These new sites have hired hundreds of journalists, including several of our graduates. And traditional news media are hiring journalists who have these new skills. Have these gains offset the job loss in traditional media? No, not yet, but the transition is clearly underway. In the midst of all this flux, how will you find your place in this New World Order of Journalism? How will you succeed? For starters, it is important for you to know where your journalistic passion lies, what differentiates you from other talented young journalists. What kind of stories do you do especially well? Maybe you like to do on-the-street reporting. Or do you prefer to make sense of things in longer analytic pieces? Do you want to dig deep as an investigative reporter, going where no one else has gone before you? Do you want to create web sites or blogs, using photos, audio, and video? Can you report and write in a language other than English? Would you like to be an entrepreneur launching your own digital business? There’s even an economic theory to describe what I’m talking about: It’s called the theory of comparative advantage and it was formulated in 1817 by a political economist named David Ricardo. It applied originally to

trade between countries, but it applies to journalism as well. Find your comparative advantage in journalism – what you’re especially good at – and go for it. I have one other suggestion to offer, which reflects a failing of my generation of journalists. Most of us didn’t get involved in the business side of our journalistic organizations. We considered it beneath us. We didn’t want to get our hands dirty. We were journalists, not mercenaries who sold ads or plotted business strategy. We practiced a strict separation of church and state – we didn’t even say hello to the biz side guys in the elevator. It’s certainly true, then and now, that we must not let advertising concerns influence our choice of stories or what we write in them. Tough stories still have to be done, letting the chips fall where they may. But, in my view, it is a mistake for journalists to abdicate responsibility for the strategic direction of the media companies we work for, or to steer clear of new product development. Who, after all, knows the information needs of the audience better than the journalists who are out there reporting, blogging, and interacting with our various publics? Don’t say such matters are not in your job description. Don’t say they’re above your pay grade. That attitude helped to create some of the problems we’re now seeing in the media world. Now, more than ever, we need to be part of the solution, part of the unfolding process to sustain quality journalism in the years ahead. We need to bring journalistically inspired ideas and journalistic values to the business of journalism. War is too important to leave to the generals. In your year and a half at the CUNY J-School, you’ve learned a lot about technology. But technology is only a means to a greater end. We must all learn to harness technology - and entrepreneurship - to the cause of great journalism. We must break stories. We must do investigative reporting to uncover wrongdoing. We must do story-telling narratives. We must provide understanding, meaning, synthesis, context, insight - and on our best days something approaching wisdom. Even in a link economy, there must be something worth linking to. Yes, I know the next year or two look challenging. But I’m confident your generation will be a force for great change. You are on your way, and we are proud of you. We know you will do well, bringing honor to yourselves, to our School, and to our profession. JENNIFER S. ALTMAN



Stephen B. Shepard Dean, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

F o r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t t h e C U N Y G r a d u a t e S c h o o l o f J o u r n a l i s m , g o t o o u r w e b s i t e : w w w. j o u r n a l i s m . c u n y. e d u



SCHOOLNOTES ALUMNI NEWS is a per-diem producer at The Takeaway on WNYC. Mitch Trinka is a part-time Fellow at The New York Times, editing and reporting crime for The Local and stringing for the Metro desk. Dan Tucker is a producer at WNYC and weekend editor at NBC Local Integrated Media. CLASS OF 2009: Aisha Al-Muslim has begun a two-year paid reporting internship at Newsday. Jim Flood is an editorial content analyst at Bloomberg. Carla Murphy is deputy researh editor at Glamour. Kate Nocera is a health-care reporter for Politico PRO. Rachel Senatore is working as a web producer and social media coordinator for Newsday. Jessica Simeone is a police reporter at the New York Post. Jessica Wakeman is production assistant at CLASS OF 2008: Damian Ghigliotty is finishing a stint as chief correspondent at Visible Economy. Francesca Levy is money & markets reporter at the Associated Press. Vinita Singla is freelancing as a videographer at the New York Post and producer at Thomson Reuters. CLASS OF 2007: Andrew Greiner was promoted to managing editor at

ON THE JOB with Walter Smith-Randolph (Class of ‘10)



Walter Smith-Randolph prepares for a newscast on the set at WENY-TV in Elmira, N.Y.

Ed Koch reflected on the political landscape today and during his three terms as New York City mayor from 1978-1989 at a New York Press Club event at the CUNY J-School on Jan.19.

FACULTY NEWS Urban Reporting Program Director Sarah Bartlett and adjunct Garry Pierre-Pierre, editor and publisher of The Haitian Times, are overseeing $300,000 in Ford Foundation grants to support ethnic and community media in New York City. The first $150,000 is earmarked for online training; the second to lay the groundwork for a New York Community and Ethnic Media Center at the CUNY J-School. Yoruba Richen (International Reporting) received an $8,000 seed grant from the Hartley Film Foundation and $1,000 from the CUNY Diversity Development Fund for her next documentary, The New Black, which examines homophobia in the black church.

University and glassmaker Corning Inc., impressed his soon-to-be employers. On his very first day at WENY, he covered a local angle to a major national story: the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson. The Arizona Congresswoman got her master’s degree in regional planning from Cornell in 1997, and Smith-Randolph spent several hours at the university interviewing people who knew her. As a general assignment reporter for the station, he is a one-man band who reports, writes, and shoots video. On Jan. 26, he ran between a deadly house explosion and a press conference by Corning CEO Wendell Weeks, who sat with First Lady Michelle Obama at the State of the Union. In between, he worked the phones to report on a fatal stabbing. The New York City native, who interned at WBRE-TV in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. last summer, advises students and fellow alumni to be flexible about where they’ll go for work. “Apply, apply, apply,” he said. “There are jobs out there.” !


CUNY Graduate School of Journalism 219 W. 40th St., Third Floor New York, NY 10018


Elizabeth Spiers has an amazing digital media resume. Among the sites she has founded or helped launch are Gawker, Dealbreaker, Fashionista, Crushable, BlissTree, and GourmetLive. So why did she just take a newspaper job, as editor-in-chief of The New York Observer? “It’s not an issue of being in one medium or the other,” she told an audience at the CUNY J-School on Feb. 8. “The real issue is I love writing about politics, business, and power in New York, which is what The Observer is about.” Clearly, though, her online experience is an asset as she moves the operation forward. She told moderator Jeremy Caplan what it will take to make that happen: “Aggregation has its place, but if you want to think about what really builds an audience on a website, it’s always original content.”


alter Smith-Randolph knew all through journalism school that he wanted to be an on-air television reporter. He also knew his chances of starting in a major metro market were pretty slim. So in the month before December’s graduation, he applied to more than 90 stations. His big break came on commencement day when he got a call from the news director of WENY, an ABC/CBS affiliate station in Elmira, N.Y., the 177th largest U.S. media market. “I did a phone interview on Wednesday while everyone was partying in the newsroom, drove up to Elmira on Friday, and was offered a job on Monday,” he said. A key to his success: He prepared a beat memo on Elmira, similar to those he wrote for his Craft classes. His knowledge of the region, which is home to Cornell


CLASS OF 2010: Jonathan Balthaser is working at the ABC News show 20/20 in booking and story development. Carla Candia is associate editor at the Riverdale Press. Alana Casanova-Burgess is a per-diem producer at The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. Jessica Dailey is New York editor at Inhabitat, a weblog devoted to sustainable design. Krissy Dolor is associate editor at Katie Honan is social media editor at NBC-New York. Erin McCarthy is covering emerging markets as a reporter for Dow Jones Newswires. Sherry Mazzocchi is a reporter for Law360, published by Portfolio Media. Bobby Melok is sports editor, East Essex Division, North Jersey Media Group. Eleanor Miller and Christopher Schuetze are in Paris studying at the Sorbonne University’s CELSA journalism school and doing internships. David Montalvo has a full-time paid editorial internship at Khristina Narizhnaya is a reporter for The Moscow Times. Vishal Persaud is doing a nine-month postgraduate paid internship as a reporter for The Jersey Journal. Christine Prentice has a full-time paid internship at Bloomberg covering the commodities market. Azriel Relph is an investigations researcher at NBC News. Matt Robinson is a full-time paid news intern at Bloomberg. Simone Sebastian is a reporter at The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J. Andrea Swalec

Inside Story - Winter 2011  

Newsletter for the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism