Alumni Newsletter, January 2023

  • By Newmark J-School Staff

Dear Alumni,

The countdown begins! Very soon you’ll be receiving an invitation to join our new Newmark J-School networking and mentorship platform. Look out for the invitation from PeopleGrove, and please accept the invite right away so you can easily and quickly start connecting with other alumni across all class years, plus faculty and staff, students, and our Newmark J-School friends in the journalism industry. It’s an easy way to find and network with fellow Newmark J-Schoolers and other media contacts, and to line up mentorship opportunities.

In other great news: Starting on Feb. 1, you’ll no longer need proof of Covid vaccination or a negative test to visit campus. Looking forward to seeing many of you around the J-School again soon.

​And…​​​​if you’re launching a journalism-related business, reach out to us since the J-School may be able to connect you with resources. Email for more info.
Nominations are open through February 28 for Newmark’s annual Stephen B. Shepard Prize for Investigative Reporting. Self-nominations are welcome. The deadline for entries is Feb. 28, 2023 at 11:59pm ET. Send in your nominations using this form. Email with any questions.

One more thing: Having trouble accessing your CUNY email all of a sudden? If you’ve tried logging into your J-School email address recently and found yourself locked out, that’s because CUNY is now requiring two-factor authentication for all school Gmail addresses. Our help desk sent out emails about this back in December, with a Jan. 9 deadline—but the deadline is now extended to Jan. 31. If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to log into your school email ( by Jan. 31 to set up two-factor so you won’t be locked out. You should find instructions for that in your inbox—or email me or if you have any questions.

Read on below for the latest updates from our alumni, plus a Q&A with Hanaa’ Tameez ’17, staff writer at Harvard’s Nieman Lab and all-around exceptional journalist.

As always, send us your news any time you have something you want to share with our J-School community.


Salma Abdelnour Gilman
Head of Alumni Affairs

Header: Hanaa’ Tameez, Bilingual ’17, chats with us in our Alumni Q&A below. She’s pictured here (bottom row, center) with fellow Newmark J-Schoolers from the class of 2017. Photo by Hanaa’ Tameez.


Report for America

Report for America (RFA) helps local newsrooms report on under-covered issues and communities by sending early, mid-career and experienced reporters and photographers to newsrooms throughout the country. As an RFA Corps Member Journalist, you’ll be a part of a movement to strengthen communities— and our democracy—through local journalism that is truthful, fair, fearless and smart. RFA is seeking talented, service-minded journalists and photographers to join the reporting corps.

Applications are now open for 56 reporter positions. RFA is a two-year program, with an optional third year. Each service year begins on July 10 and runs through July 9. RFA currently has 300 reporters and photographers in 200 newsrooms serving communities across the country. Check out the interactive database of the 56 job openings, newsrooms and beats. Reporting opportunities include healthcare, K-12 and higher education, rural communities, cities and towns, and sports reporting. Candidates should have a minimum of 1-3 years of local news experience. Recent graduates may apply if they’ve had local newsroom internships or journalism leadership experience in college.

Application deadline: Jan. 30
Apply here.


Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators Program

The Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators Program (EJCP), a 100-day online certificate training program offered by Newmark J-School, is accepting applications from journalists around the world to join the upcoming sixth cohort. The application deadline is Feb. 3, 2023. The program begins on Mar. 21 and ends Jun. 29, 2023.

Independent or employed journalists can apply to develop their own newsletters, podcasts, local sites and other niche news products. The program empowers journalists to develop entrepreneurial skills while building a product to serve a niche community. Participants will learn how to refine a product idea, serve and grow an audience, and develop a revenue portfolio to ensure a project’s sustainability.

Application deadline: Feb. 3
Apply here.


Stephen B. Shepard Prize for Investigative Reporting

This prize will be awarded to a Newmark J-School alum who has produced the best investigative work in 2022. The honoree will receive $5,000, generously funded by The Tow Foundation. The award is named for Founding Dean Stephen Shepard.

Any student who has graduated from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, from the classes of 2007 to 2021, is eligible to self-nominate or nominate a classmate for this prize, provided the work was published in 2022 (in any medium) and after the student graduated.

Nominations must include the name of the nominee (yourself or another Newmark J-School alum), contact info, and links or attachments to the work you are nominating. All nominations must be sent in using this submission form.

The winner will be chosen by a committee that includes Newmark J-School faculty and staff. Nominees’ work will be judged on subject importance, originality, reporting, writing and presentation.

Nomination deadline: Feb. 28, 11:59pm ET.​​​​​
Submit nominations here.

Alumni Updates

Lilly Knoepp ’15. Photo by Lilly Knoepp.



Featured News

  • Fritzie Andrade ’08 has been promoted to head of diversity, equity, inclusion and employee experience at Insider, Inc. Andrade is also the new chair of Newmark J-School’s Alumni Board.
  • Cesar Bustamante Jr. ’11 has been voted in as secretary of the Deadline Club.
  • Claudia Bracholdt ’12 has been promoted to deputy head of video at Zeit Online in Berlin.
  • Kayle Hope ’14 is working as a video producer and editor for Vermont Public, the state’s unified platform for all NPR and PBS programming. Most recently, she co-produced and edited this interview special with Senator Leahy, who has retired after 48 years in the Senate. Watch the video to hear about how Leahy frames his nearly half-century-long career as a Vermont senator, and what he hopes his legacy will be.
  • Pearl (Macek) Marvell ’14 recently reported, produced and hosted a podcast episode titled “The Secret of Chiqui Versace”  for “Mosaic,” The Public’s Radio’s podcast on immigration.
  • Jake Naughton ’14 published his first piece for National Geographic and took the photos included with the story. After pitching the story—his first on climate change solutions—Naughton received support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to work on it. It looks at winemakers in Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe who are exploring ancient grape varietals as a possible solution to help combat the heat and drought resulting from climate change, which is posing a grave threat to the winemaking industry. Naughton also had some of his photography appear on billboards for the first time, as part of an Airbnb campaign he shot that ran in late 2022 across the Paris Metro system.
Jake Naughton ’14 did his first story for National Geographic on the climate-change-related threats to winemaking in Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe. Photo by Jake Naughton.
  • Deonna Anderson ’16 has joined nonprofit news outlet Next City as its editorial director.  Anderson is also a new member of the Newmark J-School’s Alumni Board.
  • Kimberly Chin ‘​17 has been named vice president of the awards dinner for the Deadline Club.
  • Claire Molloy ’17 has completed a months-long investigation into sexual assault in the trucking industry. The story was a joint collaboration between Scripps News (formerly Newsy) and the Center for Public Integrity. Molloy was the lead producer and director of photography. The project included both documentary and print.
  • Alana Pipe ’17 has joined The Wall Street Journal as a graphics editor.
  • Moises Mendez ’19, culture reporter at Time, had his first-ever TV appearance: He was invited to “CNN This Morning” to discuss Rolling Stone’s “200 Greatest Singers of All Time” list. The segment is posted on his Instagram.
  • Megan Myscofski ’19 has started a new job as the environmental reporter at Albuquerque Journal. She also created a tipsheet and toolbox for the Society of Environmental Journalists, as a resource for journalists interested in reporting stories that cross both business and environmental beats.
  • Dalvin Brown ’20, personal tech reporter at The Wall Street Journal, was a panelist at the Paley Center for Media’s “Next Big Thing” event on Jan. 11, where he joined other technology experts to forecast media and tech trends for 2023.
Dalvin Brown ’20 was a panelist at a recent Paley Center for Media event.
  • Mankaprr Conteh ’20 spearheaded Rolling Stone’s first year-end list of top Afropop songs, “The 40 Best Afropop Songs of 2022.
  • Arno/Soheil Pedram ’20 is based in Paris and has started a new gig reporting and translating articles at InfoMigrants, a public French-German media organization focused on providing reliable information to migrants on their way to or within Europe. The info is offered in six languages: French, English, Arabic, Persian/Dari, Pashto, Bengali. Pedram recently did this interview for InfoMigrants about a Burmese artist who found refuge in France and paints artwork critical of the military dictatorship.


Some Personal News…

  • Brianna McGurran ’14 had a baby, Oona, now three months old. Oona was born in Berlin, where McGurran has lived with her husband Jan for the past three years.
Three-month-old Oona is the daughter of ​​​​​​Brianna McGurran ’14.




Hanaa’ Tameez, Bilingual ’17. Photo by Naji’a Tameez.

“We’re running a prediction: 2023 is the year that journalism divorces from capitalism,” Hanaa’ Tameez, Bilingual ’17, a staff writer at Harvard’s Nieman Lab, told us in a recent Zoom chat. That prediction is one of about 100-200 media forecasts Nieman Lab generates every year, as accomplished reporters, editors and other media workers explore the future of journalism.

“It’s not that journalism has always been about the bottom line, but the bottom line has always determined so many things,” Tameez added. “The more we acknowledge that and say it out loud, the more you can move things to change.”

Tameez’s job is to think through, report on and write about all kinds of changes that are transforming journalism. The Queens native, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan as teenagers, spent her middle and high school years in New Jersey and graduated from Stony Brook University before arriving at Newmark. After completing her M.A., Tameez moved to Texas to be a diversity reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and she has also worked as a newsletter editor and interned for the Council on Foreign Relations and The Wall Street Journal.

Just as the new year was about to kick off, Tameez sat down with us for a virtual coffee and let us pick her brain about the future—and the present.

Taking time out from her deadlines, Tameez sits on a dock in Mystic, CT, on a fall day.
Photo by Kevin Singh.

Your personal website says you cover innovation in the news media. What does innovation look like right now, in January 2023?

Our tagline at Nieman Lab is, “We cover the future of news.” We look at the lifecycle of journalism news on the internet, how news survives and thrives online.

Innovation is a lot of things for us: It’s the evolution of news and social media platforms. It’s also the technology and tools that help journalists reach their communities, and that help them do their work with the always limited and diminishing resources. We’ve also been seeing over the past year an unprecedented number of newsrooms unionize and fight for fair working conditions. Innovation is also the labor movement really taking a seat at the table and being front-page news in our industry.

What’s a recent story you’ve done that still sticks in your mind?

At the Toronto Star, they’ve started automating some local crime stories, like break-and-enter incidents. They pull data from the Toronto Police Service–sort of like a crime blotter– and automatically publish it.

The Toronto Star talked about the ethical concerns, but one story got picked up on Twitter and there was a viral thread questioning it. This type of automation gets used for election results, road closures and traffic—and having automation makes it easier on the reporters, right? No one wants to sit in and manually put in data, and you can spend that time reporting on deeper election issues, for example. But the downside of automation is, depending on the parameters you place around it, it’s putting police data unquestioned into a news story.

There’s ample evidence that police have skin in the game, that police lie, and [automation means] publishing preliminary data. Having a journalist go in and manually look at these things offers the skepticism that’s necessary. At the same time, journalists traditionally have not been as skeptical as they should be about police sources.

The story I did talks through the process the Toronto Star goes through to determine if automation is right for a particular story. That specific series about break and enter reports is probably fine, but is it a slippery slope? I think it’s interesting now because we’re having all of these conversations about AI and automation in journalism, and ChatGPT being able to write its own stories.

Tameez and colleague Sarah Scire at the International Symposium for Online Journalism in Austin, TX in April 2022. Photo by Hanaa’ Tameez.

Back in March 2022, you did a story for Nieman Lab headlined, “American Journalism’s Racial Reckoning Still Has a Lot of Reckoning to Do.” You wrote that despite all the recent hirings of diversity reporters since the murder of George Floyd, there’s still a “lack of editorial support, lack of resources, and fundamental misunderstandings of the role journalism plays in marginalized communities.” What do you see as the way forward from here?

The bright spots we see are in local independent media, in places where journalists and news outlets are in constant conversation with the people they cover. Diversity looks like a lot of different things depending on where you are, and on the history and context of the regions you cover.

After George Floyd was murdered, we saw all those conversations about racism and lack of diversity and inclusion in news media, and the immediate move was to do what we’ve always done, which is to create positions. But these are structural problems that are not going to be solved by an entry level reporter.

Maybe things are a little better than they were before, but it’s rare that the work of one reporter in a newsroom is able to shift the direction of an entire company.

With the ginormous caveat that I’m not an economist, I would guess that this stuff is not going to get better in a recession. We’re seeing all of these cuts, not in just journalism but in multiple industries, and as lots of companies are preparing for an economic downturn, diversity is not going to be the utmost priority when it comes to making money and staying afloat.

People of color and people from marginalized communities are often the first to go and the first to be pushed out of industries. I think there are people who are doing the work and there are strides being made, but I have a hard time imagining what an equitable and just media ecosystem looks like because we’ve never seen one before.

You don’t have to look any further than the World Cup coverage that was very Islamophobic, very Orientalist, very racist. I think the biggest thing we’ll lose in a recession is nuance because we won’t have the resources, and newsrooms won’t prioritize hiring people and putting in the work. I hope to be wrong, but I don’t know that I am.

Tameez (back row, far right) on graduation day with her Bilingual M.A. cohort. Dean Graciela Mochkofsky (center, front) is founder and former director of the Bilingual Program. Photo by Maite H. Mateo ’18.

What was it like covering race and identity for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and reporting on that beat there? 

Probably the biggest story I did was about this bar in Fort Worth that was turning away Black men, and they could prove it. The original story that came to me was there was this guy who was out with his friends, Black, white and Egyptian. The Black guy was turned away and was told, “Oh, it was because of your shoes.” Then they switched shoes and went back to the same bar, with the white guy wearing the Black guy’s shoes, and he got in, and when the bouncer realized what happened he kicked all three out.

I looked at Yelp reviews and found that over 23 people had complained and said they’d had similar experiences, so I spoke to a bunch of them.

We gave info [in the story] about if this happens, this is where you go, [and how] you file a report to the city. We did a lot of follow-ups, but the main thing that was important to me was shedding light on this issue. I think that bar ended up being sued.

How did you initially find that story about the Fort Worth bar?

The week before I moved, I hadn’t gotten my car yet so I was in an Uber and I said to the driver, “I’m going to be the diversity reporter and she said, ‘My boyfriend was turned away at this bar.’” I said this to an editor and he said, “I don’t think that happens. My son and his friends go to that bar and go out all the time, and they’re a pretty diverse group and that’s never happened to them.”

Stories like that are really important because it’s easy to pretend that something like this doesn’t happen in your town, but the reality is that it happens everywhere. The last story I did was on how hard it is to get a doctor’s appointment in general. I did a deep dive into the physician shortage in Texas. Obviously it hurts people of color more because the less access or resources you have, the harder it is. These issues in society always affect marginalized people more.

The community of Fort Worth is absolutely wonderful. Fort Worth was so cool because when I got there I met with a source who gave me a five-page dossier of story ideas with context and contacts for each. Lots of people were very helpful to me.

Did you know what kind of journalism you wanted to do when you enrolled at Newmark?

I was in the first class of the Bilingual Program, and I found out about it through a Nieman Lab story. It was the only program I applied to. I wasn’t planning to go to more school. But my dream was always to cover Latin America, to report in English and Spanish. When I was an undergrad I double-majored in English and Spanish, but my Spanish was very academic. When I saw the program I immediately applied. I knew that I wanted to report in English and Spanish. I didn’t know necessarily what I wanted to cover, but I wanted to be able to add nuance and communicate. For me the program was literally life-changing

In 18 months it gave me the fluency I always wanted and it gave me the confidence to do what I wanted to do.

Any favorite memories from your time in J-School?

We had our table right in front of the TVs—that was our Spanish-language table. It was always so great to walk in and see our friends at our table there. We’d always arrange to get a cake for everyone’s birthdays. I lived with my parents in New Jersey at that point, and once I had everyone come over to our backyard and my mom made them traditional Pakistani food.