CUNY Names Graciela Mochkofsky Dean of the Newmark J-School

  • By Newmark J-School Staff
Thea Traff
Photo: Thea Traff

Graciela Mochkofsky, who has distinguished herself as a journalist, author, teacher, and academic in two languages on two continents, will become the third dean to lead the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY since it opened in 2006.

A native of Argentina, Mochkofsky joined the Newmark J-School in 2016 to launch the nation’s first bilingual master’s journalism concentration in English and Spanish. Three years later, she added the Center for Community Media (CCM) to her portfolio, serving as executive director to an enterprise that supports hundreds of news outlets covering immigrants and communities of color across the country.

Chosen after a nine-month nationwide search, Mochkofsky will succeed Sarah Bartlett, a founding faculty member who has been at the helm of the school since January 2014 and is retiring on June 30. Mochkofsky will officially assume the position on August 1; until then, Associate Dean Andrew Mendelson will serve as interim dean. She was also appointed a professor of journalism with tenure.

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez announced Mochkofsky’s selection after it was approved by the CUNY Board of Trustees on Monday, June 27, 2022. At the same time, the Board appointed Dr. Dara N. Byrne as the fourth dean of Macaulay Honors College.

“Graciela Mochkofsky and Dara Byrne represent the best of CUNY’s new generation of academic leaders,” Matos Rodríguez said. “With their talent, passion and vision, they will ensure that two of the gems of our University will continue to serve their students and the city at the highest levels and to blaze trails to the future.”

Since joining the Newmark J-School  — the only publicly funded graduate journalism school in the Northeast — Mochkofsky has been at the forefront of its efforts to embrace diversity and inclusion in the media, crucial challenges for both the news industry and professional training programs at universities.

“The news media industry is in the midst of an existential crisis, fragmented and filled with inequity — local and community media, in particular, struggling to survive — with record levels of public mistrust and a growing generational rebellion against old journalistic paradigms,” she said. “A journalism school has an incredibly important role to play in the midst of this crisis, and the Newmark J-School, which I have had the honor to call my home for the past six years, is uniquely positioned to lead the conversation about the ways forward.”

She added: “Our school has a strong reputation as a leader in journalism education, and is one of the most diverse, forward-looking J-Schools in the nation. I am overjoyed at the opportunity to help make it an even greater center of gravity for journalists and news leaders and to instill in our students a renewed sense of mission and service.”

Under Mochkofsky’s leadership, the Newmark J-School has trained six cohorts of bilingual journalists who are working in newsrooms across the country. She has also hosted five Latino Media Summits, both in person and remotely; conceived and developed separate Latino, Black, and Asian media initiatives; and led a groundbreaking project that helped New York community media receive $25 million in city advertising in the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

All the while, she has continued her journalistic work, as a writer for The Paris Review, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker, where she produces a monthly column on Latinx culture and politics.

Mochkofsky’s three-decade career began at a scrappy newspaper in Buenos Aires and later made the transition to the digital age when she co-founded an online magazine on international affairs and culture in 2010 that was widely read in South America. Simultaneously, she wrote a weekly column for El País of Spain.

She has written seven books, starting with a critically acclaimed 2003 biography of the Argentinian news publisher Jacobo Timerman who became a global human rights figure in the 1970s. Her most recent book, and her first to be published in English, The Prophet of the Andes, is a story about faith and identity, scheduled to be released by Knopf in August.

Mochkofsky earned her bachelor’s in journalism and communications at Universidad del Salvador in Buenos Aires. An alumna of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, she has served as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library, a Prins Foundation Fellow at the Center for Jewish History, a visiting scholar at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, and a visiting scholar at the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life at Columbia.

She has taught undergraduate courses in reporting and writing and investigative and literary journalism in Buenos Aires, and she has lectured at Princeton, the CUNY Graduate Center, NYU’s Institute for the Humanities, and many other universities. Mochkofsky has also served as a juror for the Gabriel García Márquez Foundation Journalism Prize, Latin America’s most important journalism award. She sits on the boards of Report for AmericaRadio Ambulante, and the Type Media Center, and is a member of the Advisory Circle of the American Journalism Project.

For 16 years, the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY has been equipping exceptional students with the core values, time-honored skills, and innovative tools to report and reveal the truth. Its location in midtown Manhattan gives students access to an extraordinary range of expertise, talented instructors and coaches, important stories to cover, and internship and career opportunities.

The school’s mission from Day 1 has been to expand diversity in newsrooms and provide an affordable graduate education to those who might otherwise be unable to add their voices and perspectives to the media.

The school offers two Master of Arts degrees: an M.A. in Journalism, including one with a unique bilingual subject concentration for students interested in covering Latino communities; and an M.A. in Engagement Journalism that recasts journalism as a service to engage communities.

Among its other hallmarks, besides the many initiatives of CCM, are the J+ Professional Development Program, an Executive Program in News Innovation and Leadership, an online certificate course to help independent journalists build their own microventures, the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism, and the McGraw Center for Business Journalism.

In 2019, the journalism school was renamed for its chief benefactor, craigslist founder and philanthropist Craig Newmark, whose transformational $20 million gift has supported innovative programs and record enrollments. The school has produced more than 1,000 alumni who work in all areas of journalism and in major newsrooms in New York City and beyond.