Monthly Archives: March 2012

Journoprof Has Moved!

Farewell old friend: Hum 2008

After almost a decade in Humanities Room 2008, I’m moving!

My new office is located in Room 0009G in the basement of the library. In fact, the entire journalism faculty is being relocated to a journalism “suite” down there.

The rest of the Humanities faculty will vacate their offices in the summer and move in to new rooms in various places around campus.

The move is only temporary – while the Humanities Building gets a top to bottom renovation. And we’ll all move back into a lovely new building, we’re told, in a couple of years.

I was sad to leave my familiar old office. How many students have I advised in there? How many papers graded?

I’ll miss my window. We have none down in our new basement digs. And I’ll miss my Humanities colleagues. But at least I’ll be able to hang out with my pals, the five other SUNY Purchase Journoprofs.

Come visit! We have a coffee pot!

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Filed under In the News

The Power of a Blog Post: How SUNY Purchase Journalism Alum Meghan Lalonde Wrote About, Met Freed “West Memphis Three” Death Row Inmate

Meghan Lalonde (second from left) and Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three (second from right). That's her professor on the far left and a classmate on the far right. (Photo courtesy of Meghan Lalonde.)

This is a really interesting story of how Meghan Lalonde (Class of 2010) wrote a blog post, one thing lead to another, and before she knew it she and a group of her New York Law School classmates were at the apartment of Damien Echols, the most famous of the West Memphis Three, having tea and cookies.

As you may know, the West Memphis Three were wrongfully convicted of murdering three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas in 1993. They served 18 years before their conviction was overturned and they were freed in August. Their case was the subject of a series of Paradise Lost documentaries and a Peter Jackson entry at the Sundance Film Festival.

Meghan, who is in the Law and Journalism program, wrote about the case in a carefully researched blog post The West Memphis Three: An A-Z List of Justice Gone Wrong for her class blog  Legal As She Is Spoke.

Echols, who spent years on death row, liked the post and agreed to meet Meghan and her class. You can tell from her email that it blew her mind!

“It was absolutely surreal. Damien personally thanked me for writing about the case and did the same with another girl who also wrote about it, and gave each of us a hug and a kiss. My professor was losing her mind…Damien was so nice that he brought my professor and I and a few other students over to his apartment afterwards for tea and cookies.”
Meghan’s piece is a painstaking look at the various details of what she says is a gross miscarriage of justice, including the interesting Alford Plea, which, as Meghan’s post notes, “allows a criminal defendant to plead guilty without admitting guilt and maintaining innocence while still acknowledging that prosecutors have enough ‘evidence’ for a conviction.”
Great story, Meghan!


Filed under In the News, Purchase Journalism Alums

SUNY Purchase Journalism Alum Matt Caputo Got Published in Penthouse. Oh Yes He Did!

It’s a great story about a crew of shoplifters who earn six figures boosting expensive electronics. Matt Caputo (Class of 2007) is such an engaging writer and the reporting is impressive. Matt is even with the thieves in a store one day as they steal laptops.

He uses fake names, which is inevitable in a story like this, but the trade-off means the reader gets amazing insight into how these guys commit their crimes:

“Here are some tricks of the trade they’ve developed over time: Never spend more than 15 minutes in one store. Change cars as often as possible by complaining to the rental service about squeaky brakes or weak airconditioning, etc. Pay for everything in cash. If you get pulled over, crack the screen of your GPS to erase the device’s history. Blend into your surroundings: If this means donning hunting gear in Colorado or posing as surfers in Santa Cruz, so be it.”

Matt is Assistant Editor at Maxim Magazine and  has written for the New York Times, Penthouse, Men’s Fitness, SLAM, VIBE and The New York Daily News. He’s also been an editor at The Daily News and SLAM. Despite what you may think about Penthouse, they have a reputation for paying well and publishing great stories that have nothing to do with pornography.

Matt was kind enough to answer a few questions about the piece in an email interview:

1) You are class of ??

Officially class of 2007, but I walked in 2006. Damn senior project.

2)  How’d you find the guys you focus on in your piece?

When I finished college in 2006, I briefly moved back to the Queens Blvd area where I grew up. I ran into old friends in a barbershop and I was introduced to Steven Steals in the fall of that year and was told the short of how he came to have such a nice car, wads of cash, pounds of weed and even a legitimate business for a while. As time passed, mutual friends kept me up to date on their sprees and also about the stuff Steven and his friends had gotten them at a cheap rate. I arranged to meet Steven alone for the first time at a pizzeria in 2011 and he was very willing to be interviewed and have me ride along once. I mean, it was practically his idea.

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Filed under Purchase Journalism Alums

@RealLifeKaz, Purchase Alum Kazeem Famuyide, Goes From The Source to Hip Hop Wired

Kazeem Famuyide, Senior Editor, Hip Hop Wired

As the Online Editor of The Source, Kazeem Famuyide (Class of 2010) was indeed online – all the time. He has clocked up over 100,000 Tweets and notched up over 6,000 followers.. and counting.

His Twitter scene was abuzz recently with news that he’s leaving The Source to become Senior Editor of Hip Hop And this week he made it official, though he tells me he will continue writing for The Source, something he was doing even as a student in the Purchase journalism program.

When he was interviewed by Susan Varghese (Class of 2010) for Purchase HerCampus two years ago, he was already sounding like a journalist who was going to go far.

“Believe in your craft. Journalism isn’t going anywhere; it’s just going to shift. The good stuff is going to rise to the top anyway.”

ALL the way to the top, Kazeem!

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Self-described “Social Media Junkie” Jessie Biele Returns to Purchase for a Social Media Talk

I learned SO much from my former student Jessie Biele (Class of 2008) today when she came to talk to my Multimedia Tools class about her new social media responsibilities at

She’s a self-described “social media junkie” – and it’s working for her. After editing Mount Vernon, V.A. Patch for two years, she got a bump up and now oversees social media for three Patch sites. Woohoo! So she’s on her iPhone and laptop  constantly using Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to generate  reader interaction with the Patch sites. After all, the success of a social media editor is measured in Twitter followers, Facebook fans and reader comments.

We talked about using TweetDeck to time-release your Tweets, because even social media junkies must sleep from time to time. She swears by Linked In and old-fashioned business cards for job-hunting, and encouraged students to have a digital portfolio either on Tumblr or Weebly.

When she’s not working hard for Patch, Jessie’s also studying for her Master’s in Public Communication at American University. (She did confess that she still LOVES Purchase more, though. And was SOOOO happy to be back.)

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“Purchkids” Buckle Up! Here Comes Purch – A New Campus Student Web Mag

Check out Purch. It’s the brainchild of Aaron Kass, a sophomore double majoring in journalism and sociology. He’s put together a team of students and here’s what he said about what they’re up to:

“The magazine covers art, entertainment, fashion, technology, and editorials. Our stories range from campus oriented to things that “Purchkids” are interested in around the world. I got the idea while in Los Angeles over winter break. I didn’t think the other publications on campus had what I wanted so I decided to start my own. So, while still in LA, I got a staff together and started getting an article list together. We had our first budget meeting the week we got back to school and took it from there.

We’re definitely looking for contributors! We also have two editorial positions open- technology and entertainment editors.

The magazine is a monthly publication. It will be posted online to save both paper and money.

I haven’t published anything before this. I worked on my high school newspaper and learned how to use the layout program, Quark Xpress. For this, I used Adobe InDesign. I taught myself how to use it, mostly by trial and error.

They have a great tmblr blog where you can watch this video of their first photo shoot:

Is that you on fashion, Cailey Rizzo?!!!!

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Filed under In the News, Student Work

Purchase Journalism Alum, Kelly Bruce, Launches Marketing Company

Kelly Bruce, Founder of New Regime Group

Purchase Journalism Alum, Kelly Bruce (Class of 2007) has started up a groovy new marketing company called New Regime Group after years of working in large media companies including Us Weekly, Hearst Digital, Maxim, Nylon, Rolling Stone, BlackBook, and Adweek.

After graduating from Purchase, Kelly went on to do a Master’s in Publishing at New York University. She eventually found her footing in marketing and she now describes herself as a “Jane-of-all-trades who loves bringing brands to life.”

Kelly started NRG with a pal and they are based in New York City. Here’s what she told Prof. Virginia Breen about her new gig:

  I’m definitely sad to not be working for a media company anymore, but my partner and I had been working together doing the Marketing & Event Director roles for the past two years already and felt it was the next natural step. We’re both incredibly excited.”

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Purchase Journalism Alum, Adam Breidbart, Moves Up to Part-Time News Producer at FiOS 1 News

Purchase Alum Adam Breidbart

Adam Breidbart (Class of 2011) was back on campus recently and checked in with Prof. Mary Alice Williams to share some good career news about his gig at Fios 1 News where he is Audio Operator.

Here is what he told her:

I am now a part-time news producer here at FiOS 1 News on top of my audio duties. I have been training and working really hard and I am now producing shows here and there on morning shows and weekend shows as a fill-in producer when other producers are not in.  It has been going great. I am enjoying it so much and learning a whole lot. I am on the right track to soon become a full-time news producer here. I continue to get more and more producing shifts and things are going great. Producing is definitely for me.”

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And Yet Another Field Trip! This One With Prof. Ross Daly to The Committee to Protect Journalists

Prof. Daly and Purchase Journalism Students at the Committee to Protect Journalists in Manhattan

At the height of the Egyptian uprising last year, Purchase journalism students learned Friday, a call came into the offices of the Committee to Protect Journalists. An editor just blocks from Tahrir Square was on the line.

“You have to tell people: They’re killing us! They’re killing us!” he said.

Gypsy Guillén Kaiser, who took the call, shared that chilling story with students visiting the committee’s Manhattan offices.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) works to bring public pressure on behalf of journalists who have been murdered, kidnapped, imprisoned, or threatened in other ways, said Guillén Kaiser, the committee’s advocacy and communications director.

“By journalists, for journalists and using the tools of journalism,” she said. “We want to use our research not only to raise awareness but to provoke action, to bring about some result.”

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Josh Pramis, Purchase Journalism Alum, Online, On Air, On a Roll as New Social Media Editor for Travel + Leisure

Purchase Journalism Alum Joshua Pramis, New Social Media Editor of Travel + Leisure. Photo courtesy of Joshua Pramis.

I LOVE it when my former students get back in touch to let me know what they’re up to and share their trail blazing with me.

Former student, Josh Pramis, dropped me this lovely message:

“How are you?? I hope all is well at good ol’ Purchase! I really miss that place sometimes! I just wanted to quickly share a new endeavor I’ve undertaken. I’m still with Travel + Leisure (but now am their newly appointed social media editor), but Logo TV/NewNowNext recently reached out to me to offer a collaboration in the creation of some travel videos for their site. I was crazy nervous (filming 5 minutes worth of footage may or may not have taken 2 hours. hahaha), but the first video came out late last week; I’m really excited about it and wanted to share with you, especially since I took the bulk of my jou courses with you, so you really helped prepare me to start this whole journey.”

I can’t tell you how proud I am! Here’s the video. Watch out for the bow tie! Great work, Josh.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Another Field Trip! This Time to CBS with Prof. Mary Alice Williams

Top row left to right: Kelly Baumgarten, Aurora Fowlkes and Sophie Nchomottoh-Edme. Bottom row: Laura Romero, Victoria Hill and Madasyn Czebiniak

Purchase Journalism Professor Mary Alice Williams has been taking her Purchase Journalism Junior Seminar students back to her old CBS haunts so they can get a feel for real-world journalism. These field trips can be life-changing experiences.

This group looks so professional, do they not?

Picture courtesy of Victoria Hill


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Prof. Breen Takes Her Journalism Junior Seminar Students to The Journal News

Journal News Investigative Reporter Jorge Fitz-Gibbon talking to Purchase Journalism Students

Purchase Journalism Prof. Virginia Breen took more than two dozen Purchase journalism majors to The Journal News at media giant Gannett’s Harrison offices Wednesday, and saw firsthand how the digital revolution and economic downturn are changing the industry.

“Ten years ago, we couldn’t meet in this area because it was filled with sports reporters,” said veteran police and municipal reporter Rich Liebson. “They’re all gone now.”

While layoffs and restructuring have resulted in a leaner staff at the Lower Hudson Valley multi-media company, local content editor Joe McDonald noted that The Journal News has several editorial openings for reporters with “innovative spirits,” adept at using digital tools.

“How we do our jobs keeps changing,” McDonald said. “Our reporters don’t just write print stories, but generate content for all our platforms.” As he spoke, a staffer delivered new iPhone 4S’s to the newsroom, which reporters would use to shoot video packages and file stories from the field.

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