Documentary filmmaker Yoruba Richen and multimedia journalist Bob Sacha have been named the first Tow Professors at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
The professorships were established by The Tow Foundation to enable the school to offer special recognition to two teachers who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in their fields. The Tow Foundation, started in 1988 by cable tv pioneer Leonard Tow and his wife Claire, helped create similar programs at Brooklyn College and Barnard College.
Sacha has been teaching at the CUNY J-School for the past five years and has quickly become known for his innovative approach to visual storytelling and his engaging teaching style. A dedicated adjunct who nurtures his students long after they have graduated, he has strengthened the school’s curriculum with the creation of new courses, including his signature class, “Video Storytelling for the Web.”
Among his many professional achievements, this year he was part of The Guardian’s Pulitzer Prize-winning team that reported on widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency. He also won a Webby award.
Sacha recently earned a Master’s degree from Ohio University after completing a documentary about a collective of blind photographers. You can see his work at www.bobsacha.com.
Richen also has done much to strengthen the school’s Visual Journalism program. She is a singularly talented documentary maker whose work explores themes of race and ethnicity. Her most recent film, “The New Black,” offers a detailed portrait of the political battle in Maryland’s black churches over the gay marriage proposition. It has received numerous accolades, including a nomination for the NAACP Image Awards.
She counts among the other awards for her work a Fulbright Scholarship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Emmy and a duPont.
“Like Bob, Yoruba is a compelling presence in the classroom, and passionate about her work,” Dean Sarah Bartlett said. “She is eager to help the school develop a full-blown documentary program.”
Bartlett said “the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism is very fortunate to have gained the support of The Tow Foundation for these professorships.”
The foundation funds projects and collaborative ventures in fields where there are opportunities for breakthroughs, reform and benefits for underserved populations. Investments focus on the support of innovative programs in the areas of juvenile justice reform, groundbreaking medical research, cultural institutions, and higher education.