Returning to campus? Read our Fall 2021 Reopening Plan.

Alumni Newsletter, February 2021

  • By Irena Choi Stern

The Bernie Sanders meme from Inauguration Day (1.20.21 — a palindrome!) is the gift that keeps on giving. (Meme credit: Syed Haq ’21).

UPCOMING EVENTS

SAVE THE DATE: HOMECOMING
Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021
Fingers crossed for an in-person reunion at 219 West 40th Street — and a special happy hour with the Dean for the 10th reunion classes of 2010 and 2011!

REDEFINING JOURNALISM ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Friday, Feb. 19, 2021
You’ll hear from a variety of journalism creators, learn about best practices in newsletters and podcasts, discuss how to make media entrepreneurship more equitable, and get to meet a community of niche media entrepreneurs. Register here.

COVERING TONY McDADE & TRANS LIVES OF COLOR
Friday, Feb. 19, 6:00 p.m.
This panel will feature experts Raquel WillisIshalaa Ortega and Malcolm Shanks – who will share with participants practical tips on how journalists might more responsibly cover trans lives, including how to avoid dead naming and misgendering, among other ways to preserve the dignity of trans lives of color in covering the stories that impact them. Register here.

TRUTH AND LIES: COVERING COVID-19
Wednesday, Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m.
In this era of polarization and soundbites, how do journalists cover a crucial and complex topic like COVID-19? Besides the challenge of translating life-and-death medical and technical information quickly for a broad audience, they must also guard against misinformation, lies, and the politicization of science. Moderated by Emily Laber-Warren, director of the Health and Science Reporting Program. Register here.

AN EVENING WITH STEVE SHEPARD
Wednesday, March 3, 7:00 p.m.
Steve Shepard, founding dean of Newmark J-School, discusses his latest book “Second Thoughts: On Family, Friendship, Faith and Writers” in conversation with Joyce Barnathan, president, International Center for Journalists (ICFJ). The first 20 alumni who RSVP will receive a *free* Kindle copy of the book. Register here.

FEATURED NEWS

NEWMARK J-SCHOOL’S GIVING DAY 2020 EXCEEDS TARGET – THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Thanks to support from friends and alumni, the Newmark J-School Giving Day on Dec. 1 raised $271,504.60 from 170 donors and 10 percent of those were alumni, exceeding its initial goal of $80,000. These funds will support the Ida B. Wells Scholarships. THANK YOU!  There is still time to contribute to the Ida B. Wells Scholarship. Click here to learn more about how to make a gift.

2021 PRODUCT IMMERSION PROGRAM ANNOUNCED
In January, the first 2021 cohort of the Product Immersion for Small Newsrooms program began its two-month online training, designed to teach journalists in small to midsize local news organizations to build, launch, and grow news products that serve the needs of audiences.

HOW THE PANDEMIC CHANGED JOURNALISM
A Newmark J-School special report, “Zoom, Drones and ‘Live from My Closet’: How the Pandemic Changed Journalism,” offers a detailed portrait of the challenges and triumphs of newsgathering today.

ANTI-RACIST GUIDE FOR SPANISH LANGUAGE MEDIA
Newmark J-School’s Center for Community Media recently launched an anti-racist style guide for Spanish language media in the U.S. The guide was written and edited collectively by a group of experts, most of them AfroLatinas, and it has been sent to every Spanish-language newsroom in the country as a resource to cover race, the BLM movement, and anti-Black racism.

SIGN UP FOR THE NEWMARK J-SCHOOL EXTERNAL COMMS NEWSLETTER
The school’s quarterly newsletter is intended to keep friends of Newmark J-School informed about what’s happening at 219 West 40th Street, from profiles of students and faculty to fundraising efforts and descriptions of the great journalism we all publish, including YOURs, our wonderful alums. Please use this link to subscribe.

ALUMNI NEWS

The news below was submitted by faculty, staff, and alumni. Send your items to alumnioffice@journalism.cuny.edu.


FROM THE ALUMNI BOARD

Dear Newmark J-School Alumni:

2020 was certainly a year of challenges and changes both in our field and for our alma mater, but we all rose to the occasion—like Newmark J-School alumni always do. I hope this letter finds your 2021 off to a fantastic start and that you and your loved ones are happy and healthy.

It’s my honor to write this letter on behalf of the newly-appointed Alumni Board. We were formed last year to support the mission of the school, encourage lifelong connections among alumni, connect and engage alumni in the life and financial health of the school, and advance the reputation of the school, its students, and its graduates. Our primary purpose is engagement, not policy-making or governance.

The board has 12 members serving various terms. We meet three times a year and have representatives on the following school committees: Diversity & Inclusion, Campus Life & Facilities, and Fundraising. We recently established an Events/Program committee to advise on events and programs, so please let me know if you are interested in serving on it. You are always welcome to contact the board at alumniboard@journalism.cuny.edu, and we welcome your involvement. You can learn more about who we are here: https://www.journalism.cuny.edu/alumni/alumni-board/

We hope that you will stay engaged with the Newmark J-School. As the only publicly funded graduate journalism school in the heart of the media capital, it’s important that we support the Newmark J-School through service and financial contributions. It’s on us to help the J-School survive and thrive.

Sincerely,
Walter Smith-Randolph ’10
Chair, Alumni Board


A number of alumni who contributed research and reporting to Barry Levine’s new book, “The Spider: Inside the Criminal Web of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell” (Crown, Oct. 2020), are thanked in the acknowledgements, including Whitney Clegg ’16Annie Todd ’16, Sarah Gabrielli ’20Monroe Hammond ’19 and Parker Quinlan ’20.

Cristina Alesci ’08 has joined Chobani as its Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, a role that was created for the veteran CNN and Bloomberg Television correspondent.

Kate Nocera ’09 is an editor on Axios’ newsdesk. She previously was D.C. bureau chief for BuzzFeed.

Carmel Delshad ’11 will be starting a new position in March as a senior producer for Slate’s daily news podcast, What Next.

Sean Carlson ’12 is the new host of WNYC’s All Things Considered. Prior to joining WNYC in 2015, Carlson worked as a host at WDDE in Dover, DE, and as a host and reporter at KRBD in Ketchikan, AK.

Sarah Barrett ’14 joined Spotify Studios Latam (Latin America) in November, where she is senior creative producer overseeing the production of all the original podcasts in Mexico and Colombia.

Annie Massa ’14 is the lead reporter on the GameStop stories for Bloomberg News.

Emilie Pons ’14 recently produced two stories: An Iraqi artist fights a lone battle to save the traditional Maqam and Travel takes on new meaning in this jazz pianist’s latest album. She is currently working on a new piece for PRI, FOR which she will, for the first time, voice her own produced piece.

Khorri Atkinson ’16 was elected president of the Washington Association of Black Journalists (WABJ). Atkinson is D.C. Courts Reporter with Law360.

Veronika Bondarenko ’16 was featured in an interview for Qwoted, in which she talks about the future of the industry and why journalists are so hated.

Philip Clapham, SocialJ ’16, recently started a new role as senior editor at 5280 Magazine – Denver’s Mile High Magazine.

Deron Dalton, SocialJ ’16, recently started a new role as Trends Managing Producer at PennLive.com.

George Goss ’16 and his wife Kathleen welcomed their second son, George Augustus Goss (Gus), into the world on Dec. 3. He joins his older brother Luke Emmett Goss, who turns 2 on March 12.

Josh Keefe ’16 and colleagues at the Bangor Daily News won the January Sidney Award for “Lawmen Off Limits,” a series that exposes a severe lack of oversight and accountability of county law enforcement in Maine.

Nicole Lewis ’16 received an honorable mention from the Investigative Reporters & Editors Philip Meyer Awards for her project “What Do We Really Know About the Politics of People Behind Bars?” for The Marshall Project.

Lisa Thomson ’16 is an interview producer on Al Jazeera English’s The Stream, which, in 2019, pledged to annually meet 50:50 gender representation on its shows. For the second year running, the show has not only fulfilled but also exceeded its public commitment to booking gender-balanced panels, and this year booked 55.98% women and 44.02% men.

Christina Thornell ’16 published a video she produced about India’s farmer protests for Vox.

Kyle Mackie ’17 started a new role as news director at KHOL/Jackson Hole Community Radio in Jackson, WY.

Elizabeth Ramanand ’17 has joined Argus Media as its freight reporter, covering the shipping industry. Until recently, she was with Fastmarkets as a metals reporter.

Alyxaundria A. Sanford, SocialJ ’17, recently started a new role as Audience Engagement Producer at The Intercept.

Kristine Villanueva, SocialJ ’17, led a project at the Center for Public Integrity investigating coronavirus-related hate incidents in Asian communities that found the federal government’s response to Asian hate paled in comparison to addressing the issue during SARS and 9/11. The project was cited twice by Congress and influenced legislation across the country.

Ariama Long ’18 co-hosts Kings County Politics newest weekly podcast, Black & Jewish. They discuss how growing up down the block can still leave you worlds apart, while taking a deep dive into their borough’s neighborhoods, politics, and cultures.

Paula Moura ’18 is the 2021 Tow Journalism Fellow at FRONTLINE, PBS’s flagship investigative documentary series. During her fellowship, she will collaborate with FRONTLINE’s reporters, producers and digital media creators, contributing to ongoing reporting across platforms, from digital and transmedia projects to the documentary and podcast series.

Hersh PatelTow-Knight ’18, and founder of Hindsight, was named to the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 Media list.

Lauren Costantino, SocialJ ’19, will be joining the Miami Herald as audience-engagement producer focusing on engaging audiences for opinion journalism. She’ll work closely with the Editorial Board to ensure that our opinion journalism reaches a larger audience while also driving community outreach efforts, both in person and virtually, that improve and expand our interactions with Miami’s diverse communities.

Shira Feder ’19 has joined the Jewish Telegraphic Agency as Audience Engagement Manager.

Jazmin Goodwin ’19, produced a special report “Black women don’t get much startup funding. These founders are trying to change that.” Goodwin got a first look at new data showing the number of Black women who have raised over $1 million in funding has more than doubled since 2018.

Zanna McKay, SocialJ ’19, is working with City Bureau on a project to identify methods and approaches that have been developed for assessing information needs.

Harsha Nahata ’19 has been hired as an associate producer for “In the Thick,” a Futuro Media production.

Ethan Stark-Miller ’19 has joined The Riverdale Press, taking over the politics and police reporting desk.

Diara J. TownesSocialJ ’19, begins teaching a research course at the Newmark J-School this semester. She is an investigative researcher and the community engagement lead for the nonprofit misinformation research organization First Draft.

Keishel A. Williams ’19 has started a fellowship at Business Insider.

Suzannah Cavanaugh ’20 was on top of the news with this timely story for Bloomberg, “GameStop Stays Silent in the Face of Reddit-Fueled Maelstrom,” about the stock frenzy and the short sellers that sent the stock soaring more than 400 percent.

Allison DikanovicSocialJ ’20, wrote “I wanted journalism about housing to better serve New Yorkers who have made the city home. Then COVID-19 raised the stakes,” about how she has applied the lessons from Newmark J-School’s Social Journalism program to help East New York residents protect their homes during the pandemic.

Yara El Murr ’20 produced “Bahr,” a deeply personal documentary about the heavy silence in Lebanon around the nation’s past.

Ariel Goodman ’20 is the Tow Fellow at The Marshall Project. A graduate of the Spanish-language program, she most recently worked as an engagement reporter for Documented, where she wrote an immigration newsletter and produced audio news segments sent to Spanish-speaking immigrants in NYC via WhatsApp.

Ali McPherson ’20 is working as a production intern for “Hear To Slay,” a black feminist podcast hosted by Roxane Gay and Tressie McMillan Cottom. She is also starting a new internship as a health & science reporter at WHYY.

Kelsie Sandoval ’20 began a six-month health fellowship at Insider Inc. on Jan. 25.

Erika Wheless ’20 joined Digiday as its commerce reporter. She most recently covered investments at Financial Planning and previously spent time at AppNexus as well as 605.

BRINGING SOCIAL JOURNALISM TO EUROPE AND FIGHTING DISINFORMATION

Angelo Paura, SocialJ ’17, global head of content at London-based Blasting News, has been working remotely from his native Italy during the pandemic.

“I started working for Blasting News as a consultant from the U.S. on a fake news project in 2019,” Paura said. “I joined them as head of content in April, working remotely, mostly from London. Right now I’m in Rome, but will probably be in London at the end of February.”

Blasting News has an ambitious objective: to report trustworthy news created by an independent, open community of contributors, ranging from professional journalists to passionate writers, free from any individual’s opinion, angle, and views. It is a democratic, but curated, news platform where everyone has a voice.

Paura oversees editorial operations in six countries — the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, and Brazil — leading a team of eight staff editors and more than 200 freelance writers and editors. He is also developing new projects and an editorial strategy with a small team of five people.

“We are currently working on a subscription model, in order to better engage our community of readers, and on two EU-financed projects related to fighting misinformation: the first in partnership with a university consortium in Sicily, and the second a new model of decentralized social media based on blockchain technology,” Paura said.

Aside from Blasting News, Paura is pursuing a number of personal projects, including writing a book for the Italian market on the Trump presidency and its impact on U.S. technology and cybersecurity, with an emphasis on relationships with powers like China and Russia.

When he first moved to New York as a reporter for Il Sole 24 Ore, an Italian economic newspaper, he dreamed of becoming a correspondent like his icons, Tiziano Terzani, Ettore Mo, Oriana Fallaci, and Enrico Deaglio.

“But the world was different and I was different,” Paura said. “I started diving into the world of U.S. journalism, writing about new technologies and being exposed to thinkers like Douglas Rushkoff, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Jarvis, Nonny de la Pena, and so on. So slowly I understood that for me, the only way to be a journalist was to change my path and absorb new skills.  And that is why I did my master’s at Newmark J-School and that — I have to say — totally shifted my career for good.”