The Society of Silurians, the nation’s oldest press club, has chosen Rosa Goldensohn from the Class of 2014 to receive the Dennis Duggan Prize. The prize is given annually to a CUNY J-School student for outstanding work in school and for professional potential. It will be awarded at a dinner on May 15th, and comes with a $1,000 stipend.
Duggan was for many years a columnist for Newsday, specializing in stories about ordinary people – teachers, cops, fire fighters, shop-keepers – that captured their spirit and dignity. He died eight years ago, just when the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism was launching, and the Silurians established the annual award in his name for a CUNY J-School student.
“Rosie Goldensohn is a worthy recipient,” said Dean Sarah Bartlett. “As Duggan was, she is drawn to writing about the lives of ordinary or disenfranchised New Yorkers.”
In a recent exclusive for DNAinfo.com, she focused on the plight of domestic-violence victims waiting for up to a decade for “emergency” city housing. Two of her stories, both filed for DNAinfo.com, resulted in swift corrective action. In one, she revealed that The Strand bookstore was using its sprinkler system to discourage homeless people from taking refuge under the store’s awning. In the other, she reported that the sandwich chain Au Bon Pain was blocking customers’ wifi access to websites on abortion and gay issues. In each case, the practice she exposed was halted following her inquiries or the story’s publication.
After graduating from the University of Michigan, Rosie worked at the New York Hotel Trades Council (AFL-CIO), where she developed communication campaigns on behalf of hospitality workers. At this job, and at others, she wrote in her application essay, she “learned to listen to others and absorb the world around me.”
Specializing in urban reporting, she will intern this summer at DNAInfo.com. In the view of the faculty members who nominated her, and the Silurians judges who selected her, she has all the makings of a great journalist.
Previous Duggan Prize winners have been Danny Massey (’07), Barry Paddock (’08), Emily Feldman (’09), Simone Sebastian (’10), Patrick Wall, (’11), Jane Teeling (’12), and Irina Ivanova (’13).