This past summer, Jenn Carlino and I both attended a training on teaching an Intro to Stony Brook 101 course, and the next day I had an email from her asking to meet. She had this idea that she needed an editor for the alumni newsletter, I was still at Stony Brook and conveniently an alumni, but she had a new perspective on what the newsletter needed. Jenn wanted to bring back someone who was no longer working in journalism.
I knew before I graduated from the J-School that I would not be pursuing a career in journalism. While I loved the work, and I truly valued the skills I had learned, the field just was not for me, and I was okay with that. I was still proud of my degree.
However, there is an unspoken stigma that those who do not end up in the field after graduating have failed. Personally, I did not specifically feel this way, but I had known of others who had spoken like this during my time in the program. Here is where Jenn’s idea came in.
Jenn wanted to bring a voice to our alumni newsletter of someone who is outside of the field, to show that we are all alumni, no matter the profession we end up in. We all went through the same training, the same accuracy F’s, the same all-nighters on our 490 projects, even though we have since gone in different directions.
Currently, I am still working at Stony Brook as a Residence Hall Director, and I am pursuing my MA in Higher Education Administration. The J-School taught me skills that I could have not gotten in any other program. I am also honored Jenn reached out to me to work on The Scoop. It is nice to be able to write again.
In January 2016, the School of Journalism began a partnership with WSHU Public Radio Group, a member station of NPR. Since its inception one year ago, 22 students have been able to participate in the program through two different internship opportunities.
This new partnership opened up a Long Island News Bureau, located across the street next to “The Bench.”
According to Long Island Bureau Chief Terry Sheridan, the goal of the program is to “cover Long Island in greater detail, and to create a pipeline from the J-School into public radio for the students.”
Currently, according to Sheridan, there are two senior interns each semester, who are paid a stipend, and then anywhere from three to five interns who receive course credit. The students act as reporters, with Sheridan as their editor, and they receive assignments they must complete on deadline. However, Sheridan wants the internship to be an overall learning experience.
The biggest challenge Sheridan has faced has been to have students learn to “write for the ear” instead of relying on other media such as graphics in a video, or the ability for the reader to go back and re-read a piece they did not understand. However, he has enjoyed watching students grow and develop these skills and is impressed with what they have been able to cover.
For the alumni who recall the former internship with WUSB News, this is a separate internship opportunity available to students. Sheridan encourages students to get involved with both WUSB as well as WSHU, and referred to WUSB as “one of the most respected college radio stations in the nation.”
Sheridan encourages alumni to get involved with the program, in order to help students make the transition from the journalism school into the world of public radio.
We asked, and you answered. We had an overwhelming response to our call for alumni updates, and we are proud of the large range of professions and companies our alums represent.
Our grads are reporters, editors, lawyers, insurance agents, traveling the world, getting married, having children, enrolling in graduate school, and so many more amazing things. Check out our alumni updates below:
If you would like to submit an update for a future newsletter, please email Jenn Carlino at Jennifer.Carlino@stonybrook.edu. We love hearing from you!
Rachel O’Brien Shapiro
Rachel O’Brien Shapiro, class of 2008, is a politics reporter for the Staten Island Advance. She recently covered both presidential nominating conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia, a dream for a political reporter. She covered the presidential primary and general elections on Staten Island, the only borough to vote for Donald Trump. A Long Island native, she lives on Staten Island with her three cats.
Matt Weinberger is a reporter and columnist with Business Insider, covering Silicon Valley out of the San Francisco bureau. He lives with his fiance in the San Francisco home they bought together in 2015. Their toy poodle Wookiee is the cutest dog to have ever lived.
I was working at ABC’s daytime cooking show, The Chew, for three years until I decided to finally make the move out to LA with my brother, Anthony (SBU ’11 – Journalism/Theater) and pursue the dream. I was lucky enough to land a production job at the animation studio, Rough Draft – best known for Futurama. It’s been an amazing experience so far. The goal is to write and direct and the production experience I am gaining right now is invaluable. Anthony is an actor and was fortunate enough to land a commercial agent shortly after we moved. He just started booking a few gigs and things are looking promising.
I’m currently a Benefits Consultant with Aflac—which the insurance industry is probably the last place in the world I would have foreseen myself ending up—but by far the best choice I’ve ever made. I get to travel all over the NY metro area, speaking to various employers/employees at their jobs and help guide them to choosing the best benefits for their needs. So very much like journalism, every day is a new adventure.
In July, I drove across the country to start a new job at KNKX Public Radio, the NPR station in Seattle. I fell in love with public radio after traveling to Guatemala to freelance a story that aired on NPR in April. Before this, I was with Newsday for two years.
I married Jonathan Walter (SBU Class of ’08) in September 2016 and we’re expecting a baby girl in April! I’m still working at Times Review Media Group in Mattituck as a copy editor. I’m also a contributing writer there, but I stopped reporting in October. Once the baby is born I plan to take a break and eventually do freelance writing. Jon and I live in Manorville but likely moving to Middle Island in March.
I’m currently a tenured high school teacher at Newtown High School in East Elmhurt, Queens. . I’m entering my 5th year there this September. I teach English and Special Ed. In Jan, I completed my masters in special education from Touro College–and then did 30 credits extra in English from Queens college. I’m the Freshman grade team leader for English as well. I started the school newspaper, The Pioneer Post, when I first got hired. We have been publishing 2-3 issues each year with amazing student run content. I have the Stonybrook School of Journalism to thank for helping me get that idea off the ground.
Ashley Lauren Barton
I’m an Account Director at 5W Public Relations. I’m engaged to Emilio Blasse and we are getting married July 1, 2017 in New York City. We currently reside in Brooklyn. I’m going to be on TLC’s “Say To The Dress” this spring.
I’m at Reuters. I’m the global lead producer of Facebook Live, in charge of development as well as production. (Who woulda thunk it?) Anyway, I fall under the social media manager, and direct a team of 6 people global, I manage all the technical aspects, collaborate with Facebook and train our ridiculous amount of journalists all over the world. In addition to that I also get to appear on Facebook and cover interesting stories. I was a field producer for Election Day coverage for Reuters TV, which was simultaneously streamed on Facebook, covering Miami and the Latino vote. I’m currently coordinating coverage for Inauguration Day. I’ll also be on the ground reporting for the wire and field producing that weekend. Reuters has been AMAZING! In the time I’ve been there I’ve reported for the wire, had 3 of my photos become official Reuters photos, covered breaking news and edited for both our Reuters news outlets and wire service to be provided to clients. In addition to all of that, I edit and produce for ReutersTV. No kids, no marriage, just a load of fun being a reporter. I just won a Journalist of the Year award for Best Graphic/Storytelling Innovation!
I’m a reporter for the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Florida. I started this gig in September after nearly three years at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. I oversee the Current section, which encompasses community news for three different areas across Jacksonville. In my spare time I play roller derby for the Jacksonville RollerGirls.
I am still traveling and gathering content for what will be One Small World. Right now, it exists as two social media accounts (One Small World on Facebook and @onesmall.world on Instagram), but it will eventually be a living, breathing travel journalism website. In the meantime, I’m working as a freelance reporter for several publications in New York and planning my upcoming trip to Southeast Asia next month.
I’m now living in Valhalla, Westchester, NY and just started my third year working at WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) on their YouTube team in Stamford, CT. I help run their main WWE channel with 14 million subscribers along with managing and acting as an on-air talent for their video-game/geek focused UpUpDownDown channel.
Left Sputnik News Agency in July 2016 and moved to Miami. Joined Aeroflot Russian Airlines in August 2016 (Position: Miami Sales Manager for Aeroflot Cargo Division). January 2017 – Enrolled in University of Miami Professional MBA Program.
After I graduated in 2011 I worked at News 12 as a bilingual producer. They had created an online newscast in Spanish and it was very exciting to be a part of that. I left News 12 in 2012 to become a freelancer. I wanted to explore the different mediums a little further. I worked closely with a seasoned journalist from Fortune Magazine and helped him do research for his articles. I was pregnant at the time with my second child and had a beautiful baby girl by the name of Luna in August of 2012 (My son’s name is Mateo, he’s now 9.) I resumed working as a freelancer in 2013. Being a mom of two young kids I needed as much flexibility as possible and being a freelancer helped me with that. I geared my work towards the Latino community and women-related issues. I have written articles, taken pictures and shot video for Long Island Wins, a non-profit communications organization that focuses on immigrant communities on Long Island. I also freelance at Riverhead Local, a great news publication that focuses on local news. I have become friends with another SBU graduate there, Katie Blasl. Besides working as a freelance journalist for all these years, I have also been working as a project manager at a construction company. It’s a very challenging type of work that has taught me a lot about the world of finance.
I am currently working as a paralegal for Roach Bernard, PLLC a small law firm in Valley Stream. I’m also dating our decorated alum Amanda Marzullo still (past five years now) and consider myself very lucky to be doing so. She is now a 40 Under 40 member, as well as an Emmy winner. I’m along for the ride.
Music photographer for touring bands while publishing artists interviews on my own site, http://www.linesInASong.com. No longer a New York resident, have traveled (every place but Alaska).
I’m a Producer at NBC Connecticut. I live in the Farmington Valley (where I grew up!) with my boyfriend and two cats. Life is good!
I graduated with honors from NYU with an MS in Public Relations and Corporate Communications in May and received a promotion to Senior Marketing Communications Coordinator at my job shortly after. I now control all of the content developed at my job – from educational blog posts to speeches for senior management and all of our social media content and campaigns. The CEO specifically asked that I take this over from my boss, which was pretty gratifying. I of course owe thanks to the School of Journalism. I am also now in charge of redeveloping our corporate social responsibility programming and coordinated a special 11-page spread in the Daily News commemorating our centennial anniversary. Again, I’ve been pulling on my journalism skills quite a bit this year. On a more personal note, I recently relocated to Astoria this year and trying to enjoy the city. I also got a fair bit of traveling in, spending some time in Paris with my sister and Ireland with fellow SOJ alum Elle Spektor.
Still at Times Beacon Record Newspapers in Setauket.
I’ve moved to LA where i’m a producer at TMZ. Going pretty well, since getting used to being away from NY though.
Proud to say I’m currently an assignment editor on the national desk at CBS News!
My update is that I am now a personal finance reporter at MarketWatch, after leaving my position as the tech reporter at InvestmentNews.
Alyssa Melillo, Class of 2013, made the (difficult) decision to switch career paths early last summer and is now working as the Communications Coordinator at Southampton Hospital, where she manages social media and writes press releases and employee newsletters, among many, many other responsibilities. Alyssa previously worked as a reporter at The Southampton Press for two years where the Hospital was, coincidentally, one of her beats.
I’m still at Forbes, working as the executive assistant to Steve Forbes with engaging side jobs as a freelance website developer and photographer.
I’ve started teaching broadcast journalism at a newly opened J-school in Bangalore, India. I am an instructor at the National School of Journalism and thoroughly enjoy the experience of using a lot that I’ve gleaned over academic years and work experience. I also work for CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network), a US based news and Christian programming network. I produce videos for their India base and will shortly start work on their humanitarian efforts here in India. When possible, I do corporate communications (freelance) while my husband and I work out our US move for this year. The first year of marriage went by like a blink of an eye. We just celebrated our first anniversary this past weekend (Jan 8)
Deanna Del Ciello
I am still living and working in Washington, D.C. for Education Week. My role has changed from multimedia producer to video producer and editor. I oversee all web video projects, and produce, shoot, and edit for edweek.org and the PBS NewsHour. I’ve also started a graduate certificate program in documentary filmmaking at George Washington University, which will end in July this year. I’ve started working on personal projects focusing on women and women’s issues, and would love to speak with anyone looking to collaborate or just talk about the work I’m doing.
I graduated from SBU School of Social Work graduate program in May 2016. Since I’ve been a full-time practicing psychotherapist at a non-profit agency focusing on mind-body interventions, mindfulness, and communication. It’s amazing how much journalism and social work relate — my expertise in substance use was featured on PIX 11 News as among other news publications. I am currently working on research on mindfulness-based stress reduction for adolescent students and educators in local Long Island school districts. In addition, I teach yoga in Smithtown. I’m still a news junkie — and will always be. Things recently got real — as I purchased my first home in Babylon, NY.
I just got promoted at the Long Island Herald, to the Editor of my hometown Baldwin. Also according to my boss, who’s worked there for 23 years, I’m the first black editor at the paper, which is pretty cool.
I graduated with a M.S. in Photography, Multimedia and Design from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. I recently got a job as a full-time photographer at Estelle’s Dressy Dresses in Farmingdale where I work with models and photograph all the inventory, create advertisements and catalogs. In addition to that, I have started my own business – Sandra Stelmach Photography – where I basically work as a freelance photographer. I have begun advertising my own business and I have done several photo shoots and video projects for clients already.
So I changed jobs back in August and I’ve been working full-time at a global news wire called Newzulu since then. I’m a news editor there, one of three, and what I do is…source breaking news content via social media, manage an existing community of freelance contributors and help grow the company’s U.S. contributor base. Newzulu is basically all about embracing tech and social media to better news consumption instead of condemning the digital age.
I am working with MLB Advanced Media as an associate editorial producer for websites such as YESNetwork.com, SNY.tv and PGA Tour Live. I also was recently promoted to Operations Supervisor at CVS Pharmacy.
I’m currently working as an Associate Producer for A&E and Lifetime at A+E Networks. I began this position in the first days of 2017, which was exciting, to say the least. Basically, through the position it’s my responsibility to run the production and maintenance of the A&E and Lifetime broadband sites, apps and OTT products.
I went sailing across the Pacific Ocean in November with a Danish nonprofit that’s fighting ocean plastic, and my stories are now coming! I have one already out for Undark Magazine, others slated for Scientific American, Nautilus and VICE. I have an interview on NPR station WCAI scheduled Monday, 1/23, at 9am on my plastic adventure. I have been giving talks about this expedition to high school students on Long Island and in North Carolina. I have a public talk at the local Harborfields Public Library in Greenlawn scheduled in the evening of 4/26. On 2/3 I leave for Denmark where I’ll live with my sailing friends for a few months.
I’m currently doing my masters at New York University journalism school. I’m doing a masters in multimedia and I’m reporting on various issues including poverty, homelessness, medicine and science throughout New York but also other states. I am also interning at Marie Claire magazine (and a possible summer internship at the United Nations).
I’m currently a video journalist with Push Pause LI for Verizon FiOS and I am also a sideline reporter for Stony Brook Football.
Since graduation I moved to Jersey City and I’m working at the New York Daily News for the Autos section as a digital producer.
Hanaa’ Tameez (’16) spent the summer after graduation in Mexico City, Mexico as the Marie Colvin Fellow at The Wall Street Journal. In September, she started her master’s in bilingual journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, where she reports and produces stories in both English and Spanish. She will graduate in December 2017. This summer, she will go back to Mexico City as an intern at the political news website, Animal Político.
After graduation I quickly jumped into the working world, using both parts of my degree in broadcast and print. I am a Master Controls Operator at Showtime Networks in Hauppauge, New York, making sure all the programming looks good for viewers at home in post-production and working with live feeds in Showtime boxing. When I’m not there, I’m a stringer for the Long Island Advance in Patchogue, covering arts and entertainment, environment and two school boards, Patchogue-Medford Schools and South Country School District.
While at the School of Journalism, Ilana Ozernoy taught multiple classes, including multimedia (JRN320), news literacy, and foreign reporting. She also participated in two Journalism Without Walls trips, and headed the creation of the Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting.
Since leaving Stony Brook, Ozernoy has had a multitude of experiences.
“After I left Stony Brook, I worked for the Mayor of New York City, which was really fun and challenging,” she said. “There’s nothing quite like going to work for the city you live in and love.”
She was also able to attend both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions for work.
After working for the Mayor, Ozernoy then went back into media and became vice president of communications at News Corp.
She has also traveled the world, both for work and fun, and has visited countries including Italy, France, Denmark, Portugal, Germany, Hong Kong, Canada and Puerto Rico.
“The thing I miss most about the J-School is the students,” she said. “I was there to teach but I also learned so much from the students and I will always cherish the friendships I made in those halls.”
She said she will also always remember helping new students on their path to becoming foreign correspondents through the Journalism Without Walls program.
“I watched my students go into the field as newbies and return home as foreign correspondents,” she said. “I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to lead them there, and to pass on some of the hard lessons I had learned as a young foreign correspondent.”
She encourages students to reach out to her on Facebook, Instagram, or email.
Last September, during the final months of the campaign, a newly-minted graduate of Davidson College sat down at his kitchen table, and banged out an exclusive story: “Tens of thousands of fraudulent Clinton votes found in Ohio warehouse.” The story was shared six million times, led to an official investigation by Ohio authorities and earned its young author $1,000 an hour in advertising revenue. Not a bad deal.
Of course, the story was totally false, part of a tidal wave of “fake news” that flooded the Internet and social media, sowing confusion and upending confidence in what news consumers could trust.
The flood of fake news also prompted several alums to call and email me with a variation of the same question. What a great time for the public to get News Literacy! What is the school doing about it?
It turns out, a lot. In January, we launched our first online News Literacy course called “Making Sense of the News” on the educational platform Coursera with our partners at Hong Kong University. The course is intended for both a U.S. and global audience. Transcripts of the course’s videos—narrated in part by Professor Reiner—are available in Spanish and Chinese. (We like to think big!) In the first week, about 3,500 users enrolled in the course, but we are hoping for more over time.
Hong Kong is one of several overseas venues where Stony Brook-trained academics now teach our curriculum. Others include Russia, Poland—which has developed its own Center for News Literacy for Eastern Europe—Israel, Australia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam, where all 8,900 students entering Vietnam National University this year were required to take a three-hour workshop in News Literacy.
You might say that’s all well and good, but what else are we doing for those closer to home. We now share our curriculum with about 18 other U.S. universities. We are working with high school teachers in Illinois to integrate elements of our curriculum into a new, required course in civic education for all graduating students. We just received a small seed grant to begin working with community colleges, beginning with Suffolk Community College and Nassau Community College.
Beyond the classroom, we’ve been approached by social media companies and news organizations, including Facebook and CNN, to talk about how we might work together. And more than a half dozen reporters working on stories about fake news have called us.
So all this is good (real) news. But there is some less encouraging news. Because of changes to our general education requirements, far fewer Stony Brook students are taking News Literacy, about 200 for the academic year, as opposed to 800 -1,000 in the past. (I’ve urged our new provost to consider adopting the required “Vietnamese model.”)
I’ve also become increasingly convinced that the real solution to fake and misleading news—and unreliable reporting—is for every 12-year-old in America to become news literate before they develop bad habits. The future may, in fact, be in Coney Island, where one middle school has adopted a version of our curriculum. Every student gets one hour of News Literacy instruction each week for three years.
But getting curricula changed one school district at a time is a herculean task. We have a long way to go.
Lindsey Hilsum, Channel 4 News’ International Editor and distinguished journalist, spent the Fall 2016 semester as Stony Brook School of Journalism’s first Journalist in Residence for the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.
Her connection to Stony Brook is through Marie Colvin, of whom Hilsum was a colleague and close friend. Hilsum spent much of her time on Long Island conducting research for a biography she was writing on Colvin.
As a part of her responsibilities as a Journalist in Residence, Hilsum spent two days a week at Stony Brook meeting with students, which she said she found stimulating.
“The diversity of the student body is one of Stony Brook’s hallmarks,” she said. “I only hope they have gotten as much out of talking to me as I have talking to them.”
During her time, Hilsum enjoyed learning about the School of Journalism and found the News Literacy course to be one of the best attributes of the program. She spoke highly of the skills students were set up to learn through the curriculum Stony Brook has created, and praised the fact that it was a journalism school as opposed to a media and communications school.
“I think the background combined with determination and luck can get you where you want to go,” she said. “Not everyone will do straight journalism, but the skills are still useful. You learn to write, present, sift through information, and you get a fantastic experience.”
Hilsum has now finished her residency, and hopes the program will continue, although she could not speak to the future of the partnership.
Alums from some of the J-School’s recent classes are traveling, landing jobs, freelancing, enrolling in grad school and more. We’re proud of them, and we’d like to share some of their updates.
Do you have an update you’d like to report? Send us a line with where you’re at, along with which year you graduated. Email Jennifer Carlino at firstname.lastname@example.org to get in the next edition of The Scoop.
Jasmine is beginning a graduate assistantship at St. John’s University in Queens. There she will be working in multimedia and sports production for the athletics department. Her job includes working with a crew to stream all games to ESPN, cutting highlight videos and producing content like athlete profiles for a weekly web show. As a graduate assistant she will also be taking classes to get a master’s degree at the Tobin Business School.
Since graduating with an MS Journalism from SBU in December 2015, Erica has been freelancing full-time as a science writer. She regularly contributes to Audubon, Scientific American and National Geographic Ocean Views. She also executes environmental writing and media tasks for Dr. Carl Safina of the Safina Center. She still lives on Long Island but does lots of road trips and traveling for her reporting.
After graduation, Daine spent the summer in Italy and the Netherlands to travel and visit family. In December Daine was hired at the Long Island Herald as a reporter covering the town of Bellmore, where he currently works.
After graduating with her bachelors in May 2015, Jaclyn continued pursuing an MBA in Marketing as part of Stony Brook’s MBA Fast Track program that she started in the summer of her undergraduate sophomore year. She will graduate in December 2016.
In August 2015, she was selected to participate in the News 12 Academy at News 12 The Bronx where she underwent a demanding three-week boot camp and learned how to operate as a one-man band reporter for the station. After successfully “graduating” from the Academy, she was offered a freelance position. She is now freelancing as a one man band general news reporter at both the News 12 The Bronx and News 12 Brooklyn stations where she reports, films, writes and edits her own stories that make air.
While she finishes up graduate school, she works as the Marketing and Recruitment Coordinator for the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band & Pep Band, a position she has held since her freshman year.
Mike was recently hired with MLB.com Advanced Media and am an editorial producer for sites such as YESNetwork.com and SNY.tv.
Agatha has been living and working in Madrid, Spain as a lead Producer of the Digital Team at the Olympic Channel, a part of the International Olympic Committee. The Channel is launching worldwide on the last day of the Olympics during the closing ceremonies on standard cable in the United States.
Lindsey is now working as an Associate Editor for Travel + Leisure running all the social media channels as well as writing and producing video.
In March Lindsey celebrated one year with the Herald-Mail Media/HMTV6. It’s a small newspaper and TV news project in Hagerstown, M.D. She came on board in March 2015 as a producer and in June of last year she applied for an open position as an Anchor/Reporter. She is now celebrating one year as the morning news anchor.