Category Archives: Purchase Journalism Alums

HipHopWired’s Kazeem Famuyide Spreads The Word of Kaz at SUNY Purchase

Hip Hop Wired Senior Editor  Kazeem Famuyide Outside Fort Awesome at SUNY Purchase. (Photo by Tara George)

Hip Hop Wired Senior Editor Kazeem Famuyide Outside Fort Awesome at SUNY Purchase. (Photo by Journoprof)

He writes. He blogs. He does on-camera celebrity interviews. He’s got enviable social media connectivity. What better representative of this multimedia age than HipHopWired Senior Editor and SUNY Purchase journalism alum Kazeem Famuyide (Class of 2010).

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Photographer of Iconic 911 Flag-Raising Picture Visits SUNY Purchase, His Alma Mater

Iconic 911 photo by Thomas E. Franklin

Iconic 911 “Heroes” photo by Thomas E. Franklin

Did you know that this famous 911 photograph was taken by a Purchase alum?

Thomas E. Franklin (Class of ’88) was a VA photography student at Purchase and segued into newspaper journalism after graduating as a way to make a living. He’s had an enviable career – just this month he was “outed” as one of the judges for the Pulitzer Prize in journalism, a tremendous honor (that’s supposed to be a secret!). He was back on campus Monday talking to students from the journalism program about his extensive career as an award-winning photojournalist, and fondly recalling his years at Purchase (scroll down to see pictures from back then).

Tom Franklin with journalism students (l to r) Samantha Stone, Tanira Wiggins, Lindsay Wilson and Corinne Santiago.

Tom Franklin with journalism students (l to r) Samantha Stone, Tanira Wiggins, Lindsay Wilson and Corinne Santiago.

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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!
 

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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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@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 Wired.com. 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 Patch.com.

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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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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Elyse Mickalonis, SUNY Purchase Journalism Alum, Gets Job as Video Journalist at Your News Now

Elyse Mickalonis, photo courtesy of YNN

The thing I remember first about Elyse Mickalonis was the great story idea she pitched for her senior project while in my Journalism Junior Seminar. It was a look, through video, at drive-in movie theaters in upstate New York. Under the guidance of SUNY Journalism Prof. Mary Alice Williams, it turned into a memorable senior project.

Now, Mickalonis has taken her talents as a video journalist to the Binghamton newsroom of Your News Now, a network of local cable news channels owned by Time Warner Cable. She started her job there earlier this year. She’s added social media to her repertoire and Tweeting up a storm. But some things haven’t changed: according to her profile, she’s still into drive-ins. We’re proud of you, Elyse! Stay in touch.

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