City Editor of New York Daily News to Lead CUNY Journalism School’s Community News Service

  • By Newmark J-School Staff

Jere Hester, the City Editor of the New York Daily News, has been named to head the NYC Community News Service of the City University’s new Graduate School of Journalism, it was announced by Stephen B. Shepard, Dean of the School.

“Jere Hester is a distinguished journalist with an exceptional track record as an editor and reporter,” Dean Shepard said. “He will provide outstanding leadership for the News Service, which will supply bylined work by our students to New York media outlets.”

As City Editor of the Daily News since 2003, Mr. Hester’s responsibilities included helping oversee some 50 reporters and editors at America’s sixth-largest newspaper. This included generating, assigning and editing stories on tight deadlines, as well as preparing the daily story lineup. He ran the paper’s award-winning coverage of the 2005 transit strike and the 2003 blackout, among other major stories.

The NYC Community News Service will be an outlet for students’ work and a graphic example of how print, broadcast and online techniques are converging in the multi-media news desk of the future, Dean Shepard said. “Students will also have the opportunity to sharpen their skills by working at the News Service as reporters, editors, and web-page designers.”

Neighborhood stories will be fed via the Internet to news organizations, making them available for use by local media outlets, including community newspapers, local broadcast stations, wire services, and Internet service providers.

“I’m proud to join The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, which has outstanding students, a first-rate faculty and state-of-the-art facilities,” Mr. Hester said. “The News Service represents a ground-breaking effort to cover communities that do not receive journalistic attention.”

Noting that many students live in these communities, Mr. Hester said: “The News Service will enable us tap into their talent and cover local communities while affording students valuable reporting experience.”

Mr. Hester, 40, is a graduate of New York University, where he received his bachelor of arts degree in journalism and politics cum laude in 1988. A lifelong Brooklyn resident, he began his journalism career as an intern at the Downtown Express, a lower Manhattan weekly, where he rose to editor.

Mr. Hester joined the Daily News in 1992 as a staff reporter and played a leading role in covering many major stories, including the 1992 USAir crash at LaGuardia Airport; the first attack on the World Trade Center; the O.J. Simpson trial; the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing; the 1996 Republican National Convention; and the Abner Louima police torture scandal in 1997.

He was promoted to Assistant City Editor at the News in 1997, where his responsibilities included assigning and editing breaking stories, including the Amadou Diallo shooting and the SwissAir and EgyptAir crashes. Mr. Hester was the News’ Night City Editor from 2000 to 2003, where he played a key role in the paper’s award-winning coverage of 9/11 and its aftermath, as well as the crash of Flight 587 in Queens.

The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism opened its doors in August 2006 with an inaugural class of 57 students. The class mirrors the diversity of New York – 44 percent of students are from underrepresented groups or immigrant backgrounds. Dean Shepard is the former Editor-in-Chief of BusinessWeek, the world’s largest business magazine. All of the faculty are practicing journalists with years of experience on national publications and broadcast outlets; three are Pulitzer Prize winners.

The three-semester program features intensive reporting and writing instruction, specialty reporting concentrations, subsidized summer internships at media organizations, and a partnership with CUNY TV, a 24/7 cable television outlet that reaches 2 million viewers and that will air the best student stories and offer student internships.