I feel like every time I look at the calendar I cannot believe that another month has passed. Time just seems to move quicker, and it gets harder and harder to keep up.
While putting together this newsletter I was reading all of the (incredible) updates that everyone has sent in, and it made me think about what I have been up to since graduating from the J-School and just how much all of us have accomplished in such little time.
So many of us are finishing second degrees, settling into new jobs, getting engaged, getting married, and having children. Some are moving across the country, some are traveling the world, and some are starting whole new career paths altogether. Personally, I think I’ve finally settled into my job as an SBU Residence Hall Director, which I started in January, and have officially finished my Masters of Arts in Higher Education Administration. Plus, I got a really cute puppy, Nellie. When I actually sit down and think about everything that has happened in just a few short months, it’s almost unbelievable. Looking at the updates, it seems that many of you might be feeling the same way.
Here at Stony Brook, we’re just about to start the month of preparations for our students to move back into the fall semester. It seems like just yesterday when I finally got them all to move out of the residence hall, and now they’re all coming back. While this time is filled with excitement, I still cannot believe where the summer has gone. I’m not convinced that June or July even happened. In just a few weeks, we’ll have a whole group of new students experiencing Stony Brook, the J-School, and everything we felt the first time we stepped onto campus.
I’m hoping in the next month or so to be able to take a few days to myself (with my puppy) to enjoy before the whole semester flashes before my eyes. I hope all of you can find some time to do the same.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Paul Schreiber, retiring Undergraduate Director of the School of Journalism, to ask him a few final questions about his time here at Stony Brook, including his thoughts on the future of the dreaded Accuracy F. Answers have been edited for length.
How long have you been at Stony Brook?
In two different segments, 26 years. I was here as an adjunct for 13 while I was still at Newsday. After I left Newsday, I came back and that was right when the department went from a minor to a major to a school and that’s been 13 years.
Did you go right into the Undergraduate Director role?
When I was an adjunct I taught two courses, what we now call narrative and magazine writing. They weren’t quite at the level of Harvey and Irene. When it was a minor I became the director of the minor and kind of reshaped the minor. After 13 years of teaching an 8:30 am class and then going to work, I decided that was enough. So I stopped and the fellow who replaced me, Fred Bruning, replaced me in both of those courses and became director of the minor. In 2004, he decided to pack it in and I was bored to death and so I came back teaching those same two courses and director of the minor. Once we had a major, I became the director of the major.
What courses have you taught in your time here?
I taught those two. Howie and I, with others, created News Literacy and then taught it for about five years. I taught some workshops, and created 350 [Journalistic Judgement and Ethics], which I’ve taught that for years.
Which of those courses has been your favorite?
Which of your children is your favorite? I was involved in the creation of News Literacy, which these days so many people are talking about. 350 I created and I think it’s an important course because it gets into all kinds of areas that aren’t otherwise covered. I would probably say 350, but News Lit is right behind.
What has been your most memorable moment?
My job changes every day, I have so many different responsibilities. As a journalist, I’m good with stress, I enjoy the challenge, and you’re on deadline to get things done. Accreditation, that was a three-year, very intense process and our self-study was 195 pages 76,000 words. It’s intense. We got a lot of compliments on what we do, how we do it, and our students.
Do you have a most memorable student, or situation?
Many, many, many, many. To feel like you have had something to do with the development and the careers of people, whether they go into journalism or not, but to have had an impact, is probably the most special. It’s not about a specific student or a specific adventure or misadventure. Just the idea that you had something to do with people is to do a very worthwhile thing.
Is there anything you wish could have gone differently or changed?
Probably. Nothing big comes to mind, but I’m sure there’s a million little things.
Could you tell me about Irene’s future in the role and how you see her taking over?
She’s conscientious, personable, cares about students. She’s going to do a great job. I think she’s got the right temperament, very smart, energetic. She has helped shape a course that is new, 105 called The Mind of a Reporter, which is meant to set incoming journalism students on the path to proceed through the rest of the program. We have spent quite a bit of time together during this transition and she is very good with people. Students, I think, like her a lot, and Harvey too, of course.
What do you think is the future of the Accuracy F without your presence?
The people who taught 350, which is a multi-section course, we’ve been through it together. I’ve worked with teachers who have come in a little skeptical about it and they do it. I make them try it and tell them why we do it, and they get it. Accuracy is so important, it’s so fundamental. Even though it’s virtually apart of every course here, this is probably the semester late junior or early senior year, right before they leave. When students get the Accuracy F I say, I’m glad. One thing is, I got their attention. If they don’t make mistakes then they won’t get into broadcast or into print. The other reason I’m glad is they did it here, not out there. The Accuracy F is not about typos, it is about factual mistakes. And we drop the lowest grade, the idea is not to kill your GPA, we just want to get your attention. We’ll see what happens, but I hope it lives forever.
Irene Virag, a founding faculty member of the School of Journalism, dressed in a green jacket as vibrant as the energy she was radiating. She sat in front of her desk, not comfortable with the awkward space a desk places between two people having a conversation. The excitement she felt was apparent, but was also mixed with a hint of nervousness. She was preparing to take on a new role at the School of Journalism, Undergraduate Director.
“It’s not like anything I’ve done in my career,” she said with wide eyes and a smile. “This job will put me in touch with all the students and I’ll be able to help them plan for their health and happiness.”
Virag recounted on her time at the School of Journalism, remembering the classes she had taught over the years.
“I team teach with Harvey Aronson, with one A,” she said ensuring the correct spelling of her partner’s last name. Together they have taught Narrative Journalism, Magazine Writing, and Journalists as Novelists. Virag most recently started teaching the introductory class, the Mind of a Reporter.
“The Dean,” she placed emphasis on the word and then chuckled before continuing, “convinced me to teach 105, the mind of a reporter. The most notable was the semester I lectured with the Dean.”
In her new role as Undergraduate Director, where she will be taking over for Paul Schreiber, she hopes to help students stay on track so they can graduate on time.
“I wish someone had given me a timeline,” she said, thinking back on her time in school. “The School of Journalism has a good reputation for the care they put into advising their students, I can only hope to continue and deepen,” she said with sincerity in her voice.
While Virag will be taking over for Schreiber in his role as Undergraduate Director, she made one thing very clear.
“I am not teaching 350, so I have no say in the Accuracy F,” she said with a laugh. “But one thing I do like about teaching 105,” she paused slightly to create a dramatic effect, “I warn them.”
Many of us can probably remember spending countless hours in the newsroom, huddled in front of a computer screen rushing to finish our 490 project before the deadline. Take a look at some of the 490 projects completed by the class of 2017.
An Exhausting Dependence is Kyle Barr’s exhaustive look at how cuts in public bus routes are making an historically horrible way to get around Long Island even harder. To report the story, Kyle rode 228 miles of bus routes and interviewed 32 riders and 25 officials, experts and advocates. One of his graphics, Last Ride of the n36, is a model for a deeply reported and beautifully produced interactive graphic.
New York’s Crisis in Organ Donations, by Kevin Urgiles. Kevin drove 150 miles to Albany to film a key interview with a woman in desperate need of a kidney transplant. After learning that the woman had had a heart attack, he convinced her to talk to him directly from her hospital bed. Kevin has accepted a job at the digital news site Now This.
Waiting for Justice, by Arielle Martinez (see also her honors project, The Historical Information Health of Black Communities on Long Island). Arielle investigated a little-known state agency that has, she demonstrated, failed in its duty to protect residents of homes for the disabled. The graph she put together will shock you. Arielle will be producing digital video and interactives for the education department at the Council on Foreign Relations.
But I can’t resist: the School of Journalism has come to “the end of an era.”
This May, we graduated our tenth class, marking the end of our first decade and the start of a new one, a transition punctuated by the announcement that Professor Schreiber is retiring.
It is hard to imagine life without Professor Schreiber. He was present before creation, running a small journalism minor program out of the English department that served as an incubator for what would grow into SUNY’s first and still -only School of Journalism. He was instrumental in building our curriculum and developing and enforcing our high standards. (Who among you ever will forget “Accuracy F”?) He helped lead our efforts to win national accreditation and he has been the only Undergraduate Director the school has ever known, personally advising hundreds of students.
A contingent of alumni, representing our ten classes, was present when we honored Professor Schreiber on April 27. There were hors d’oeuvres, speeches, a video (produced by Frank Posillico ’13 and Kristy Gerlett ’16) and gifts: the Student Advisory Board presented him with a golden Accuracy F and a laminated advising sheet; the faculty and staff gave him a “brick” reading “Paul Schreiber, Be a Journalist and Change the World” that eventually will be laid along a campus, legacy walkway near the Humanities Building.
The celebration was capped by the announcement of a new endowed scholarship in Professor Schreiber’s name, thanks in great part to the generosity of alum Ivana Stolnik (’16) who donated $25,000 to what has grown into a fund that now exceeds $38,000. It is not too late to contribute to the scholarship fund which will be a tremendous legacy for Professor Schreiber and a boost to countless future students. You can still donate to Professor Schreiber’s scholarship at http://stonybrook.edu/schreiberscholarship
In addition to officially saying goodbye to Professor Schreiber (a standing ovation), our graduation ceremony on May 19 was a celebratory affair. We announced that Arielle Martinez was the recipient of the Alumni Association Award ($1,000) and Demi Guo won the News Corp. Graduation Award, which comes with a paid internship at a Wall Street Journal overseas bureau. Demi will be heading to Hong Kong to cover finance. Finally, we gave a major shout out to grad Jessica Opatich, who is the school’s first Fulbright Scholar. Jess will be heading to Ghana to study the impact of community radio on women.
But it’s just not current students who are getting recognition. Many of you are you doing amazing things. Alums won six first-place awards in this year’s New York State Publisher’s Association competition. Three alums—Adrian Carrasquillo (’09), Amanda Marzullo (’11) and Danni Klupenger (’13)—were selected for inclusion in this year’s Alumni Association “Forty Under Forty” awards.
And almost every week, we hear about someone else. Kelly Zegers (’16) has been chosen as the “Cub Reporter of the Year” by the Press Club of Long Island; Will James (’09) won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for distinguished radio reporting; Stephanie Brumsey (’09) was the winner of Reuter’s Best Storytelling Innovation; and T.C. McCarthy (‘10) was part of a Newsday team that won a New York Emmy Award. And there are more honors that you have received that we don’t even know about.
I know that many others of you are working hard, as well, whether at a news organization or in an entirely different field. I also know it’s not easy and that day-in, day-out pressures can wear you down. But I have great confidence in you, in your talent, integrity and work ethic.
When people ask me how I feel about reaching the end of our first decade. I talk about you. I tell them how proud I am of our graduates.
We asked, and you answered. Here’s the latest updates from our School of Journalism grads.
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!
I am now a science reporter for the International Business Times. I write about pretty much anything nerdy but I get to write about space a lot, which is out of this world. Recently I finished a mini-series of articles about how humans living in a colony on Mars would evolve, if given enough generations in isolation from Earth. Turns out things would get weird! I also have a new deskmate and I’m still spending a lot of my free time with my best friend, Zoe the goldendoodle (she really wants to be a catcher in the MLB so we have to practice a lot).
I moved to Amherst, MA in December, and am now working in Client Services for Publishing Technologies with The Sheridan Group.
2016 was a big year for me – most importantly I married the love of my life in July. The lobster, beer and smiles were abundant at our venue along the picturesque Maine coast. Friends and family came from near and far to help us celebrate – It was by far the best day of my life. As for work I took on a new role at WGME/WPFO as the 10 pm anchor. It’s a unique show because it’s the only local news at 10 pm in our market and we beat everything on primetime. I still report on a daily basis, but have had the opportunity to work on some bigger projects. I had the pleasure of reporting and anchoring a special feature on Acadia National Park’s 100th birthday last summer. And in the fall I was part of a team of reporters and anchors to produce a segment on the implications of the vote to legalize marijuana. Just last week I launched a new franchise called “In-Depth” which takes a deeper look at some of the big issues affecting our state. The first episode addressed officer-involved shootings in Maine. The Maine Association of Broadcasters honored me for a story I did on concussion research happening at the University of Maine and I’m proud to say I’m part of an award winning team.
Rai and I got engaged. I attached a photo of us outside of the J-school on the day he popped the question. Rai proposed at Avalon park in Stony Brook on March 25. We will be getting married in August 2018. =)
Job updates: A few months ago, I started working at Northwell Health as a Digital Content Producer and Rai recently started at Allstate as a SIU Paralegal.
After nearly six years, I have left the Southampton Press to do administrative and PR work for the Seafield Center, an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center in Westhampton Beach. Here, I serve as the Assistant to the Director of Provider Relations and will be running all of the social media accounts for the rehab. I will also be getting married in August, so lots of changes for me!
I achieved my master’s degree in photojournalism from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. And I’ll be working as director of photography on my first feature length film – “12 Days with God,” a Christian film about a man’s battle with eye cancer this July. It’ll be shot in Syracuse NY, my hometown, which is pretty cool. Recently my short narrative film “Rose-colored” got into a few film festivals and we’re still waiting to hear back from almost 30 more festivals. We launched an Indie GOGO online campaign a month ago and raised nearly $3,000 for online submissions and travel expenses. So as of now we’re in pre-production and I’m freelancing on the side to make money.
As of March 2017, Lauren is now working as a Deputy Entertainment Editor at IBTimes.com, a Newsweek Media Group (formerly International Business Times) company. She previously worked as an entertainment writer and reporter at Enstars.com. She also still works as a freelance book reviewer for RT Book Reviews Magazine, and holds down a weekend job at a Target store. When she’s not working, she’s fantasizing about maybe one day planning her wedding to her fiancé Bryan, whom she has been engaged to since 2014.
Natalia Kozikowska is an award-winning media professional with extensive experience in both sides of the news industry in various capacities. She graduated from Stony Brook University in 2012 with a B.A. in Journalism and a concentration in Earth and Science.
In December 2016, Natalia was named as one of 12 PR professionals in the New York Observer’s ‘Rising Stars: Promising PR People Under 30’ list. Two month later, in February 2017, Natalia returned to the public sector as the Director of Communications for New York City Council Member Eric A. Ulrich.
I left journalism and will be starting at Quinnipiac Law in the fall to get my JD and go out into the world of Intellectual Property law.
My fiance, Nikhil, and I will be getting married next month in India. I’ve been multi-tasking with work as a copywriter at TBWA\Worldhealth and planning the wedding from afar. Thankfully, I have family here and there to help me out. By August we’ll have moved to our first apartment in NJ. Looking forward to making the humble abode our new home. I’m glad it’s not too far from Long Island.
I am still the reporter for the Los Angeles Rams. I co-host a radio show on ESPN-LA called “What the Hekk.” I also am a contributor for both ABC-7 and CBS-LA for Rams coverage. I love Los Angeles – I’m originally from Oregon so I enjoy being so close to home.
I am currently NBC’s lead assignment editor for the network’s southern bureau. We are based in Miami (really enjoying their version of winter right now) and our region covers the southeast US and Latin America. Prior to this I was at Al Jazeera America under Marcy, then freelanced at CBS Nat Desk during and after the AJAM demise until I landed here.
My current status is that I’m single and employed (Woot, Woot) as an English teacher at a private kindergarten slash cram school in Northern Taiwan. The official name of the school is Oak Tree Language Institute and parents shell out large amounts of money to send their children to a bilingual school. I rotate among three classes and work with an average of fifteen students per class.You can learn more about my students in a blog I recently created here. In other news, I am applying to graduate school at the CUNY Graduate Center of Journalism. Which means I will be returning to New York City after my contract (and hopefully a few weeks of traversing Europe late August or early September).
After spending an amazing year and a half at CBSNewYork, working as a Web Producer and Featurs Editor and winning several Regional Edward R. Murrow awards for our local breaking coverage of the Chelsea Bombings and overall excellence, I decided to switch gears and start down a whole new path. Now, I’m the new Content Marketing Manager at Take the Interview, a HR software startup based in NYC. Here, I’m responsible for our entire content strategy, and I’m looking forward to the exciting things this new opportunity will bring (along with cuddling our adorable office dog!)
I currently live in Astoria with my boyfriend, who is also a Stony Brook Class of 2013 grad. We met senior year of college, and have been together ever since
I have started a job at the United States Embassy in Chennai, India. I’m working as the Public Affairs Digital Engagement Specialist. This is a new role that the consulate has created to expand their reach digitally and engage on various efforts from education, visas, bi-lateral ties et al., I’m the first person to hold this position since it was created a year ago (they didn’t find a candidate until I came in) so praying that it develops into a lasting position.
I have continued my work as a freelance science writer and artist, but now I have added the word “international” to my title…because I now travel the world in pursuit of stories. Right now I’m focusing on the issue of plastic pollution. I’m writing, making art, taking photos and giving presentations about my findings. More info here: http://www.ericacirino.com/speaking/. In a week I am leaving for a trip to Asia to learn more about the plastic issues there. I’ll also spend some time in Italy and Denmark/Sweden (to see my Danish sailing friends) for fun. I am loving my career. It’s hard and stressful at times but I enjoy the freedom of freelancing!
I’m working as a full-time reporter for the Long Beach Herald at Richner Communications, a media company that publishes 15 community-based newspapers around the South shore of Long Island. I write stories, shoot photos and produce videos. I was hired by the Herald in November, six months after I graduated. Before that, during the summer, I was working as a freelance videographer producing content for the Stony Brook hospital.
As of March 27, I’m employed at Blank Slate Media, a chain of six weekly newspapers covering the North Shore of Long Island. More specifically, I work as a reporter at the Great Neck News. I cover an average 8 stories a week. This includes board meetings, education stories, writing about Amtrak and so much more. The only thing I don’t cover is sports. Also recently got some awards for previous work: finalist for SPJ student award in Online Commentary and Opinion, and third place in feature photography for a story I did while freelancing. It was either PCLI or NYPSA.
Hanaa’ Tameez (’16) will graduate from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism with her M.A. in Bilingual Journalism in December 2017. She’s currently a multimedia intern at the Mexican political news website, Animal Político in Mexico City and will be there through August.
I am currently living in Fairbanks, Alaska working for the EarthScope National Office at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I am definitely loving the Alaska life.
Working at my PR agency, I’ve been in Texas for a few weeks working with the largest cement company in the world flying drones.
I officially accepted a full time job in Manhattan at CBS Sports Network as a Production Coordinator for the Creative Services Department (after my two week freelance associate sports producer stint at News 12.)
Special Alumni Update
Although not a School of Journalism grad, a Stony Brook alumni in the world of journalism has reached out to us with an update to share. See below.
Rachel Shuster (’76), longtime sportswriter and sports editor at USA TODAY, just reached
her one-year anniversary as Editor at the nonprofit, nonpartisan Tax Foundation in Washington, D.C. With tax reform a hot issue for this Congress, Rachel and her colleagues have been out there pushing pro-growth tax policy that is truly a reform — not just a tax cut.
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.