Alumni Newsletter, Fall 2017

  • By Bianca Flowers

Alumni Socials

Left to Right, Channon Hodge, ’11; Deron Dalton, Social J ’15; Uche Abanobi, ’10; Kizzy Cox, ’12; Daisy Rosario, ’12; Walter Smith-Randolph, ’10; Melissa Noel, ’12; Mariya Moseley, ’16; Brandon Nix, ’16, and Roxanne Scott, ’14; joined CUNY-J students, faculty and staff for an alumni brunch during NABJ’s August conference in New Orleans.

Alums from around the country, joined current students, faculty and staff for CUNY-J brunch during the NABJ 2017 convention in New Orleans.

Check out more NABJ moments.

Elly Yu, ’13, Shannon Firth, ’12, Natalie Fertig, ’14.

J-School alumni, faculty and staff reunited at the D.C. home of CUNY-J Career Services Director Andrea Stone for a reception during the Online News Association conference in October.

Check out more ONA moments.

sexual harassment panel

Sexual Harassment Panel

CUNY-J presents a panel discussion on sexual harassment in journalism in  the J-School’s newsroom Thursday November 30th, 6 p.m.


Ugly Holiday Sweater Party

Join us for our First Annual Ugly Holiday Sweater Happy Hour at Printers Alley on Tuesday, Dec. 12, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Prizes for the top three ugliest sweaters.

Alumni on the Move

Natalie Abruzzo, ’14, was recently hired as an editor for Time Inc.’s automotive vertical, “The Drive.”

Aisha Al-Muslim, ’09, has joined The Wall Street Journal after working as a reporter at Newsday for seven years. She’ll be on the Real-Time News Desk, writing breaking business news stories for Dow Jones newswires, and the newspaper.

After completing a fellowship at NowThis in September, Kimberly Avalos, ’16, was hired as an associate producer on their main vertical.

Erin Brodwin, ’13, who recently became engaged to Chris Westling and moved from London to the Bay Area, was promoted from senior science reporter to science correspondent at Business Insider.

Morten Buttler, ’16, will be moving to Brussels, Belgium, where he will begin working as the European Union correspondent for Børsen, the Danish business daily newspaper in December.

Noah Caldwell, ’16, is now working as a news assistant for NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

NPR affiliate KUNC in Greeley, Colorado, has hired Stephanie Daniel, ’16, as an education reporter.

Paul DeBenedetto, ’11, has moved to the Houston area, where he’ll be working as an assistant managing editor for the Baytown Sun.

Formerly a news producer for WAMU’s “All Things Considered”, Carmel Delshad,’11, is now an editor and reporter for the Washington, D.C. radio station.

This August H’Rina DeTroy, ’09, won December Magazine’s 2017 Curt Johnson Prose Award in Creative Nonfiction, for her essay, “The Vengeance of Elephants.” The literary print journal featured her personal essay in their November issue.

After two and half years as a video producer for McClatchy newspapers, Natalie Fertig, ’14, has joined Circa news in Washington, D.C. as a video journalist.

Sean Flynn, ’12, accepted a position as managing editor of Hearst Digital Media after spending four years as the digital operations editor for Travel + Leisure and the Time Inc. travel news desk.

Formerly a reporter/producer at Reuters TV, Alva French, ’11, joined BuzzFeed News as a video producer for its emerging video format, created in partnership with Apple News.

Mia Garchitorena, ’15, is working an associate editor/content manager at, where she produces e-newsletters for physicians and oversees the site’s digital and editorial content.

New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority has hired Joseph Gargiulo, ’07, as a data-entry operator.

Orie Givens, ’13, is now reporting from the Hudson Valley as a video journalist for Spectrum News.

Last month Rose Itzcovitz, ‘15, joined KVLY-TV, an NBC affiliate in Fargo, North Dakota as a TV reporter/multimedia journalist.

Eric Jankiewicz, ’13, is working as a web editor for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Justin Joffe, ’15, is now the deputy editor of SHIFTed Magazine.

Mariana (Vasconcellos) Keller, ’10 (and EJ, ’11), joined NBC’s Short Docs team as a senior video producer.

After working as a researcher for documentarian Michael Moore, Samuel Lieberman, ’15, was hired in October as an associate producer for The Huffington Post.

Rachael Levy, ’14, was promoted from senior reporter to correspondent for Business Insider, where she covers hedge funds, asset managers and gender issues on Wall Street.

Danny Lewis, ’14, joined WNYC’s “All Things Considered” news staff as an assistant producer.

Zameena Mejia, ’16, has become the leadership reporter for CNBC’s Digital “Make It” vertical.

Annais Morales, ’11, recently resigned as a senior producer from NY1 to join the team at WCBS-TV as a writer/producer.

Mariya Moseley, ’16, is now a production assistant at People magazine’s daily live show, “People Now.”

After five years as a video journalist at The New York Times, Natalia Osipova, ’12, is joining The Wall Street Journal’s Page One team as a senior video journalist. She’ll be producing enterprise videos in the U.S. and abroad.

Nick Perez, ’16, started as a freelance video producer for The Real Deal in October.

Brandon Shaik, ’16, joined the Fathom Information Design Firm in Boston, where he’s doing data analysis and visualization.

Lisa Thomson, ’16, is working as an associate producer for the Al Jazeera English web show “The Stream.”

Alumni in the Spotlight

Maggie Freleng on the Dr. Oz show.

“The Disappearance of Maura Murray,” an investigative documentary by Maggie Freleng,’15, aired on NBC Universal’s Oxygen Media on Sept.30. Freleng also appeared on Dr. Oz’s show to discuss her extensive reporting on the cold-case mystery.

Headshot of Sabrina Gordon

Alum and adjunct professor Sabrina Gordon, ’16, is a recipient of the Women at Sundance Fellowship, one of six women who have distinguished themselves as emerging and mid-career documentary directors and producers.


The Forger,” a short film co-directed by Samantha Stark, ’10, ‘for The New York Times, took home an Emmy in the News & Documentary category.

Allegra Abramo, ’14, won first place in social issues reporting in SPJ’s Pacific Northwest Excellence in Journalism competition. A freelancer, she won for her InvestigateWest series on The State of Washington’s failing foster care system.

Alissa Ambrose, ’11, a senior photo editor at STAT, part of Boston Globe Media, served as an art director for projects that won two ONA awards for explanatory reporting in the Small Newsroom category.

Tow-Knight alum Kristen Clark, ’14, was featured on a recent episode of Radiolab for her story about a gondolier in Venice.

Alcione Gonzalez, ’11, and her colleagues at Fusion TV won NABJ’s Award for Innovation in Investigative Journalism for their documentary series “The Naked Truth.”

Rebecca Harris, ’14, who founded Purple, a startup that allows content creators to engage their audience through messaging apps, while in CUNY-J’s Tow-Knight Entrepreneurial Journalism program, participated in a panel at the Online News Association 2017 conference, “How Bots are Deepening Relationships with Readers.” Harris recently became the first CUNY-J and Tow-Knight alum to take part in the program, which focuses on early-stage media start-ups that are changing media. Purple has also received recognition from the Nieman Lab.

After breaking news about four of the world’s largest hedge funds, Business Insider Senior Correspondent Rachael Levy, ’14, triggered about 40 subscriptions for the company’s latest paid content offering service.

Alessandra Malito, ’14, a personal finance reporter at “MarketWatch” and Taylor Tepper, ’12, a writer for, were both recipients of the National Press Foundation fellowship program.

Jake Naughton, ’14, has been very busy the past few months. In July, he proposed to his partner Juan Sosa Iglesias via an elaborate pop-up exhibition. The two are now engaged and living in London as of September, the same month Naughton’s photographs of the Kara Walker show made the cover of the Weekend Arts section in the New York Times. This month, Naughton’s collaboration on the plight of the LGBTQ community in Uganda for Playboy magazine hit newsstands. The piece was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and is the latest chapter in his ongoing project about the LGBTQ community in East Africa. He also had a solo exhibition of work at Photoville. See installation shots (password is photoville).

NBC News Investigative Unit producer Hannah Rappleye, ’10, and her team won an Emmy in the Outstanding News Discussion and Analysis category for their town hall coverage, “An American Disaster:The Crisis in Flint”, produced in conjunction with MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.

A data reporter for the Tennessean’s investigative team, Mike Reicher, ’09, published “The Cost of Jobs” for the paper. The series, on subsidies granted to business, was funded by the J-School’s Ravitch Fiscal Reporting Program.

Catherine Roberts, ’15, has been selected for AHCJ’s National Cancer Reporting Fellowship.

Sierra Leone Starks, ’13, recently launched “Women on Deadline.” The audio program, which focuses on issues facing women in TV news, is available on Apple Podcasts. The most recent episode was about sexual harassment in the industry.

The Society of American Business Press Editors gave Andrew Welsch,’13, a senior editor at Financial Planning and On Wall Street, an award for “Overall Excellence for Best Cross-Platform Package of the Year.” His colleague Maddy Perkins, ’14, the assistant managing editor for SourceMedia’s Investment Advisory Group, and her team were recipients of the National Top 10 Award for their reporting on the Fiduciary Rule.

Elly Yu, ’13, a reporter at WABE Atlanta, landed an investigative reporting fellowship with The Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal team.


Joe Swide,’15, guides a group of high school students through exhibits at Photoville on Education Day. About a dozen J-school alums and current students helped lead a tour of 500 New York City school kids through the exhibits, discussions with photographers and several panel presentations.
Tatiana Flowers,’16, and Anne Marie Awad, ’13, cooled down and caught up at the annual chili fest in Denver.
Xiomara Martinez-White, ’09, talks to Maritza Villela, ’17 at the CUNY-J job fair.
Alums Michael Paterakis, ’13, Jason Bisnoff, ’14 and Rheaa Rao, ’16 representing Pageant Media at the CUNY-J job fair.
A broadcast associate for BBC News, Kizzy Cox, ’12, took the lead in producing segments with actorTom Hanks and late-night host and comedian Trevor Noah.
Consumer Reports Deputy Editor of Health Lauren Friedman, ’11, (second to left) surrounded by CUNY-J class of 2017 interns (from left) Prachi Bhardwaj, Christina Dabney and Keydra Manns.
On assignment for New York Daily News, Megan Cerullo,’16, traveled to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to report on the devastation and desperation of residents.
Director of Alumni Services Brooke Stachyra welcomed alums Daniel Macht, ‘08, and Maria Sanchez Diez, ‘15, who stopped by CUNY-J school to represent their companies, NBCUniversal and Univision, at our Latino Job and Internship Fair.
Orie Givens, ’13, put on his hard hat to report for Spectrum News in the Hudson Valley.
Many thanks to the alums who offered freelancing advice to our current classes on Nov. 16. Left to right: Melissa Noel ’12, Roshan Abraham, ’16, Alessandra Malito, ’14, Angely Mercado, ’16, and Skyler Reid, ’13 .
Social Journalism alums discussed their experiences in the program and in the work they’re doing now at our Social Journalism Alumni Panel on Oct. 25. . From left: Rachel Glickhouse, ’15, Deron Dalton, ’15 and Katelyn Gillum ’16.
Alums Nick Perez, ’16, Gustavo Martinez, ’16, Rachel Glickhouse,’15, and Associate Director of Admissions, Maximo Patiño, posed with current CUNY-J NAHJ students at the 2017 Excellence in Journalism Conference in Anaheim, California.


George Goss,’16, and Kathleen Hennessy were married on Aug. 12 at St. George Church in Guilford, Connecticut.
Marcella Veneziale, ’09, married Dalibor Grudenic in Zagreb, Croatia, on Sept. 23.
Emily Feldman, ’09, married Mike Giglio on June 10 in Greenport, New York.

J-School Babies

Kevin Loria, ‘12, and Megan Clark welcomed son, Oscar Loria on April 6, 2017.
Malorie Marshall Reid,’14, and husband Ron Reid welcomed their baby boy, Everett A. Reid, on Sept. 6.

The Loria Brothers: Keeping it in the family

By Maritza Villela

The Loria brothers embracing.
Kevin(left) and Richard Loria at the CUNY-J alumni/student happy hour in August.

Kevin Loria, ‘12, knew he would be a journalist at an early age, but it took his younger brother, Richard, ‘18, a bit longer to pursue journalism. With a background in Film and English Literature, Richard lived in China, Taiwan and France before deciding to follow in his brother’s footsteps at CUNY-J. The brothers who are six years apart both live in New York City. Kevin who works as science correspondent at Business Insider has been giving younger brother advice throughout his first semester at the J-School, which Richard repays by babysitting his adorable 6 month old nephew Oscar.

Richard: I don’t think it does, but I think we were drawn to journalism for similar reasons; some of which have to do with the environment we grew up in. There might even be a third journalist on the way. Our youngest brother just started an internship at a publication in Washington D.C.

Faculty and Staff News

Director of News Products and Projects Jere Hester and Director of Interactive Journalism Sandeep Junnarkar presented “Reporting in Hostile Times:The Hate Index” at the Excellence in Journalism conference on Sept. 9. The aftermath of the 2016 election raised challenges for journalists on all levels on how to respond. Learn how CUNY J-School’s NYCity News Service quickly created a high-impact digital news project — and pick up some tips for your own ventures. Join the team behind The Hate Index (, a searchable database tracking post-election intolerance, for a wide-ranging session on everything from production to promotion.

Jere Hester and Sandeep Junnarkar present YOU ARE HERE at NYC Media Lab.

Hester and Junnarkar were also presenters at the Sept. 28 NYC Media Lab ’17 conference, where they demonstrated a prototype of YOU ARE HERE, an immersive journalism experience using augmented reality to tell New York City stories that melded past and present from a street level view.

The NYCity News Service, headed by Jere Hester, was a finalist for three Associated Collegiate Press awards.

Associate Professor Lisa Armstrong was named a finalist for this year’s Media for a Just Society Awards for her story “Hard Time” for The Intercept.

Hunter College appointed Adjunct Professor Adam Glenn as a distinguished lecturer in journalism this fall. He’ll be focusing on digital journalism and will run the internship program starting in 2018.

Director of Admissions Colleen Leigh (right) attended the 120th anniversary celebration of The Indian Leader, the student newspaper at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS, with HINU journalism professor Rhonda Levaldo and Kevin Abourezk, managing editor of, a news site run by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.

Admissions Director Colleen Leigh attended the 120th anniversary celebration of “The Indian Leader,”  the student newspaper at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, with HINU journalism professor Rhonda Levaldo and Kevin Abourezk, managing editor of @indianz, a news site run by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.

Arts & Culture Reporting Director Janice Simpson launched “Stagecraft,” a podcast series of interviews with playwrights and musical book writers whose shows are opening on and off Broadway. Interviewees so far have included standouts like Sarah DeLappe, a finalist for this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama for “The Wolves;” and Itamar Moses, the book writer for the acclaimed musical “The Band’s Visit.”

Career Services

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Email Andrea Stone to post openings 

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Calling All Alums!

CUNY J Launches Diversity Committee

The Diversity Committee seeks a J-School alumnus to serve on its board. The role of the Diversity Committee includes monitoring the J-School’s efforts to recruit a diverse student body, faculty and administrative staff; promoting an atmosphere of tolerance and free expression; and making recommendations to the administration if these efforts fall short. The committee meets once a month. The remaining meeting in the fall 2017 semester is Dec. 12 from 12:30 to 1:50 p.m. If interested, please email Joanna Hernandez, committee chair, at

CUNY J+ Workshops

Use code ALUM50 to get 50% off our digital skills workshops. The workshops are designed to help communicators and working journalists — including freelancers and photographers — sharpen their skills in social media editing, data visualization, video storytelling for the web and more.

Research Center

Associate Professor and Chief Librarian Barbara Gray reminds alumni to check out the Research Center’s online resources.

Research Center Alumni Resources

Public Research Guides for Reporters

We Want to Publicize Your Work

Alumni interested in promoting or highlighting their work are strongly encouraged to pitch their stories to Social Media Marketing Manager Ellen Lai, who presides over the J-School's social media accounts. And don’t forget to follow us!

Send ideas, pitches, videos, photos and links