My Journalism 1 class was oozing personality this semester. Can you tell?
There was a hurricane and a snowstorm and a trip to Dateline. We traversed the campus, meeting sometimes in the Natural Science building, sometimes in Library labs, sometimes in Library classrooms.
Through it all they did not complain, filed their stories (most of them), took their news quizzes, and came to class ready to learn, ready to have fun learning.
One student got an internship at Dateline (Johanna Waldron), two students got interviewed for internships at The Trisha Show (Maggi Elgendy and Jessie Pauli), and one student got a story published at thepurchasebrick.com (Hannah Ednie).
Kiley Stevens and her dad, Associated Press Albany News Editor Rik Stevens, after his talk in the SUNY Purchase Neuberger Museum Study.
And that’s basically how Associated Press Albany News Editor Rik Stevens ended up talking to a roomful of journalism students today in the SUNY Purchase Neuberger Museum Study about the news industry and the venerable AP.
His daughter, Kiley Stevens, is one of the bright sparks in my Journalism 1 class (which has a number of bright sparks, by the way.) And when she confessed earlier in the semester that her dad was in the news business, I asked if she’d hit him up for a visit. He said yes, and yesterday he put aside the news for a day and schlepped down to Purchase from Albany.
He told the students how the AP was formed (in 1846 by five New York City Newspaper bosses) and how it works (as a not-for-profit cooperative of news organizations.) I was reminded of their great motto: “We get it first, but first we get it right.”
I’ve always admired AP reporters for their precision and speed. They always seem somehow above the competitive madness that can grip the news industry. (They might disagree.) When I was covering breaking news, I always felt they were on my side.
Rik was upbeat about the news industry, which was refreshing. Journalists can be a cynical bunch. He told some great war stories (including one about the time he saw a wanted criminal drive past a police station while he and a group of journalists and photographers were standing outside, and how he became the subject of the news that day after he alerted the police and helped them reel in a bad guy.)
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.
Students in my Journalism 1 class get an introduction to video in two class sessions that I jokingly call “Whirlwind Intro to Multimedia Boot Camp.” Because that’s what it is, a whirlwind. In about three hours, spread over two days, they learn how to shoot video, edit it and move it onto their class blogs. Some of the work that emerges is creative and fun. As is this video by Alina Suriel. She’d never really met Zoe Berger, her classmate, before I paired them together. They bonded. And what Alina tossed out of the whirlwind was a sweet little profile that captures Zoe perfectly.
The intrepid members of Journalism 1 Spring 09 at ABC News
I took my Journalism 1 class to visit ABC News in Midtown today. We saw a lot. Learned a lot. Ate Munchkins, provided by Prof. Virginia Breen who is spending the semester working at ABC News.com and who helped organize the trip. The topic of the day was The Future of Journalism. What is it? We had a fascinating discussion about Search Engine Optimization, in which online stories and headlines are loaded up with popular search terms to draw readers looking for stories through google and yahoo. The students got a lot of advice about how to make it in the business. Then we emerged into the glorious weather.
My junior seminar students were assigned to shadow a journalist and write about it. Kiersten Morsanutto did just that. And then, proving my point that one thing often leads to another in journalism, the journalist she shadowed, shadowed her back and wrote about it. Here is the LINK.
Steve Wulf, the Editor in Chief of ESPN Books and a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, came to visit my Junior Seminar today. He told the class how he joined The Magazine as one of its founding editors in 1997. From 1994 to 1997, Wulf was a senior writer for Time magazine, for which he won the Overseas Press Club Award for his cover story on the assassination of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. From 1977 to 1994, he worked for Sports Illustrated as a reporter, writer and editor. He has also written for Entertainment Weekly, the Wall Street Journal, Life and The Economist. He currently lives in Larchmont with his wife and four children. He was a mellow presence and had some great advice about writing and some great tales covering athletes over the years.