CUNY Hosts First Annual Student Media Conference at BMCC Guest Roster Included A Dozen Leading Journalists

The First Annual City University of New York Student Media Conference was held on Friday, October 2, 1998 at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, located at 199 Chambers Street. The daylong conference brought scores of CUNY student-editors, reporters and radio journalists together with their professional counterparts, and allowed students to explore professional career opportunities with internship representatives from leading media outlets.

Titled “CAMPUS COVERAGE TODAY-CAREER OPPORTUNITIES TOMORROW,” the maiden CUNY Student Media Conference at BMCC’s Richard Harris Terrace was attended by nearly 100 student editors, journalists and faculty advisers. The day featured a series of talks and panel discussions with leading journalists, including Pulitzer Prize Winners Jimmy Breslin ( Newsday) and Jim Dwyer (The Daily News).

“The conference was a catalyst for media careers, insights and discussions, and gave those within and outside the University a chance to exchange perspectives on coverage of topics vital to all New Yorkers” said Interim Chancellor Christoph M. Kimmick. He added that recent studies show that, by the year 2000, new media jobs in the New York area alone are expected to grow by 80%.

Opening remarks and greetings were offered by CUNY Interim Chancellor Christoph M. Kimmich, University Dean for Student Services, Sheila Thomas and Chair of the University Student Senate, Mizanoor B. Biswas. Michel Marriott of the New York Times Circuit section, a former Pulitzer Prize nominee who currently teaches at City College, Department of Communications, Film and Video, elivered the morning’s keynote address. The talk touched on the opportunities and challenges that rapidly changing technology pose for journalism. A question and answer session followed.

Other guest speakers included best-selling author and former editor-in-chief of the Daily News and New York Post, Pete Hamill; Michel Marriott, Circuits section, New York Times; WCBS News Radio 88 co-anchors Deborah Rodriguez and Harley Carnes; columnist Gerson Borrero (el Diario La Prensa , NEWS12 the Bronx and WADO radio); Elinor Tatum, editor-in-chief, The Amsterdam News; Terry Golway, columnist and assistant editor, The New York Observer; Patrick Healy, The Chronicle of Higher Education ; and Carol Ann Riddell, education correspondent, WNBC-TV.

CUNY student journalists had the chance to pursue possible professional career possibilities with internship representatives from key New York media outlets. Those companies include the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, el Diario /La Prensa, The New York Post, WNBC – TV, New York 1 News, WCBS News Radio 88, WADO Radio, Bronxnet and WBLS Radio.

Beginning at 10 a.m., conference participants had the opportunity to join the day’s first panel discussions. CUNY student print journalists were encouraged to take part in “STUDENT NEWSPAPER SURVIVAL STRATEGIES: FUNDING AND RUNNING A STUDENT NEWSPAPER,” which was moderated by University Student Senate Executive Director Steve Kleinberg. For radio enthusiasts, a simultaneous panel dubbed “CAMPUS RADIO: GETTING ON THE AIR, STAYING ON THE AIR” was hosted by Gregory Adamo of WSIA Radio, College of Staten Island.

Pulitzer Prize winning columnists Jimmy Breslin and Jim Dwyer joined Gerson Borrero and WCBS News Radio 88 co-anchors Deborah Rodriguez and Harley Carnes, student journalists and CUNY moderator John Hamill for an 11:15 a.m. panel tabbed “NEWS AND OPINION: THE IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE.” This hour-long panel encouraged a wide-ranging discussion on the “hows and whys” of presenting opinion and fact, and how the line between can be blurred at the cost of public reputations and journalistic careers.

The conference lunch break, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., afforded interested students an opportunityto further mingle with the professional journalists, and to meet and discuss the internships available with media representatives in an informal setting. At 1:15 p.m. CUNY Trustee, The Honorable Alfred B Curtis Jr., presented greetings on behalf of Chairwoman Dr. Anne Paolucci and the CUNY Board of Trustees.

Trustee Curtis was followed by the afternoon’s keynote speaker–novelist, editor and journalist Pete Hamill. A veteran of more than 35 years of New York journalism, Hamill is a former editor-in-chief and columnist of both the Daily News and the New York Post. He is also the recent author of an extended essay on journalism called “News is A Verb: Journalism at the End of the Twentieth Century.” Hamill’s topic will be “JOURNALISM: THE ROAD AHEAD.” Panels resumed at 2 p.m. when CUNY’s Ed Rogowsky moderated the panel called “COVERING HIGHER EDUCATION” with journalists Elinor Tatum, editor-in-chief of the Amsterdam News; Patrick Healy, staff writer, Chronicle of Higher Education; Terry Golway, columnist and assistant editor of the NY Observer and WNBC – TV Education Correspondent, Carol Ann Ridell.

The day’s final panel, “FROM THE CLASSROOM TO THE NEWSROOM: WHAT’S AVAILABLE AT CUNY AND BEYOND” was moderated by CUNY’s Rita Rodin, and detailed much of what journalism courses are available at CUNY campuses, and what new trends and offerings are on the horizon. Students joined Professor Joann Lee, Queens College; Anthony Mancini of Brooklyn College; Greg Morris, Hunter College; and Bruce Porter of Brooklyn College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.