New York, February 14, 2017 – Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab announced today that award-winning broadcast reporter Andrea Bernstein will serve as the 2017 Jack Newfield Visiting Professor of Journalism at the school’s Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. Ms. Bernstein, who begins her fellowship for the spring semester, will be teaching a seminar in “Uncovering Power in New York.”
The Newfield program is named for Jack Newfield (1938-2014), the legendary Village Voice columnist and social reformer whose career as a muckraking journalist spanned 40 years (highlighted by 700 columns for the Voice). His fearless crusades earned him a reputation as one of the nation’s most relentless investigative reporters and most influential commentators. In his 2002 autobiography, Somebody’s Gotta Tell It: The Upbeat Memoir of a Working-Class Journalist, Newfield wrote: “The point is not to confuse objectivity with truth.” Honoring that mission for his entire career, he also wrote memorably for the New York Post, New York Daily News, New York Sun, New York Magazine, and The Nation. He wrote or co-wrote a number of books about social and political issues, including: A Prophetic Minority (1966), Robert Kennedy: A Memoir (1969); A Populist Manifesto: The Making of a New Majority (1972) with Jeff Greenfield; The Abuse of Power: The Permanent Government and the Fall of New York (1977) with Paul DuBrul, and City for Sale (1988) with Wayne Barrett. Newfield also wrote and produced several documentary films, including an adaptation of his RFK book and profiles of boxers Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray Robinson. Among the honors Newfield received was the coveted George Polk Journalism Award for political reporting in 1980 and a 1991 Emmy for the HBO documentary, Don King: Unauthorized.
Peabody Award-winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is senior editor at WNYC News, New York’s public radio station. In her 18-year career at WNYC, she has served also as metro editor, political director, and senior reporter. During the 2008 presidential campaign she was political director for The Takeaway national show, and she managed political coverage for WNYC during the 2012 presidential election and the mayoral election of 2013. She also founded the award-winning “Transportation Nation” website. Bernstein was executive producer, reporter, and editor for Back of the Bus: Mass Transit, Race, and Inequality, the nationally broadcast, award-winning 2011 documentary. The winner of more than 40 awards for her work, she served as a Knight Fellow at Stanford University in 2007 and has also taught journalism at City College. A graduate of Yale, Bernstein previously worked as a political correspondent for the New York Observer and won the National Press Club Award for environmental reporting and both the Edward R. Murrow and Professional Journalists Awards for investigative reporting. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, New York Magazine, Newsday, The Nation, the New York Daily News, and Salon.com.
“I cannot think of a more fitting and promising convergence than the powerful legacy of the great Jack Newfield and the brave new journalism of the unstoppable Andrea Bernstein,” said President Raab in announcing the appointment. “We remain deeply grateful to Jack’s widow, the brilliant longtime Village Voice photographer Janie Eisenberg, for her commitment to perpetuating the Newfield name and mission by helping to create the Newfield program. It not only acknowledges a truly extraordinary journalist, but perpetuates Jack’s style of unrelenting investigative journalism for a new generation of journalism students. Andrea Bernstein has long brought a Newfield-style commitment to uncovering truth—and exposing the opposite—to the medium of radio, extending her work to social media with equal impact. She is the perfect choice to carry forward the Newfield name at Hunter in 2017. It is a pleasure to welcome her to the college.”
“These times demand fearless investigative reporting, but with a heart,” says Bernstein. “I’m thrilled to be working to develop the next generation of investigative reporters in the tradition of Jack Newfield.”
Janie Eisenberg, now a psychotherapist in private practice, adds: “Jack would have been proud indeed to have his name associated with Andrea Bernstein—whose toughness, honesty, clarity, and commitment reflect Jack’s gold-standard journalistic ethos. While there will never be another Jack Newfield, it brings our family comfort to know that new generations of journalists, in all media, take inspiration from his career, not only in their own superb work, but in passing the torch to yet another generation—in this wonderful case, to the gifted students of Hunter College.”
Harold Holzer, Jonathan F. Fanton Director of the Roosevelt House, commented: “As someone who knew, worked with, respected, and sometimes tangled with Jack Newfield during my early career as a political press secretary four decades ago, I was lucky indeed to learn the ropes from this extraordinary man, and now to witness his influence spreading to succeeding generations of journalists. It is a true privilege to see his name perpetuated at Roosevelt House.”
The Newfield Visiting Professorship was established at Hunter in 2006. Previous Newfield Fellows included the late Wayne Barrett (the first journalist to serve as the professor), Tom Robbins, Charles Stuart, Errol Louis, Alyssa Katz, Barbara Nevins Taylor, and Jarrett Murphy.
The course is based in Hunter College’s Film and Media Department, under the supervision of Distinguished Lecturer and radio host Karen Hunter.