Purchase College Alum Christie Rotondo Gets Award from New Jersey Press Association

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Award-winner: Purchase College Journalism Alum Christie Rotondo at her desk at the Wildwood Leader in New Jersey.

Christie Rotondo (Class of 2013) emailed the Purchase College journalism professors this week with great news: she’s been honored with The Robert P. Kelly award from the New Jersey Press Association.

The award goes to a full-time staff writer with less than a year’s experience. And Christie, who is a staff writer at the Wildwood Leader in New Jersey, took first place out of all the weekly newspapers in the state that have a circulation under 6,500.

Christie was given the award for two feature articles she wrote last year. One was a detailed look at changes in the local Republican party. The other was a profile of a 91-year-old journalist who thinks he may be the country’s oldest working reporter.

Jake Schaad, possibly the country's oldest working journalist, profiled by Christie for the Wildwood Leader

Jake Schaad, possibly the country’s oldest working journalist, profiled by Christie for the Wildwood Leader

Christie’s editor, Bill Barlow, said he’s happy to have her at the Wildwood Leader and that the award was “well-deserved.”

Another of her editors, Joan Kostiuk, told this story to illustrate Christie’s commitment:

A week or two into the job, Christie did something that would forever endear her to the publisher.
 
Our summer papers are all about fun things to do at the shore, and one of the stories I planned to do was a feature on “tasteful tattoos.” Wildwood, which is part of our coverage area, has a number tattoo parlors, so I sent this 19-year-old, 5-foot-minus newbie off into the lion’s lair.
 
She came back with the story – and a tattoo. What better way to get the scoop than firsthand experience?

The Robert P. Kelly award is named after a former editor of The Princeton Packet who was a real champion of rookie reporters. It’s fairly competitive, with most of the state’s 150 weeklies submitting entries each year, according to John O’Brien, a spokesperson for the NJPA.

“It’s an opportunity for a young reporter to shine,” O’Brien said.

Christie was a student in my Feature Writing class a few semesters ago, so I’d love to take some credit for helping her on her way to creating award-winning feature stories. But the truth is, Christie has been a star from the start.

While at Purchase, Christie won over all her professors with her intelligence and hard work. Assistant Professor Donna Cornachio says she uses Christie’s senior project as a model to seniors in the journalism program.

Assistant Professor Andrew Salomon, the publisher of The Beat,  for which Christie was formerly editor-in-chief, has long been a fan: “I always saw Christie as a professional journalist who happened to be a student. It makes perfect sense that professionals in the field would recognize her talents right away.”

Christie was understandably thrilled to get the award.

“It’s definitely really rewarding and means a lot to be recognized for the work I’ve done over the last year. As a beat reporter for a local paper, there are some weeks where it can feel like a ton of work, and not always a ton of payoff. This award sort of feels like one of those weeks where you crack a big story and a lot of readers care.

Also, being just out of college, this is definitely a reassurance that I’ve made the right career choice.”

Agreed.

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Fighting for Freedom – My Profile of an Advocate for the Wrongfully Convicted

New Jersey Monthly Photographer Marc Steiner Shoots Lesley Risinger Outside Camden County Courthouse for my New Jersey Monthly Profile of Her

New Jersey Monthly Photographer Marc Steiner Shoots Lesley Risinger Outside Camden County Courthouse for my New Jersey Monthly Profile of Her

I first interviewed Lesley Risinger in her small, windowless office in Seton Hall School of Law. Around her were papers and folders and shoeboxes of papers sent to her by New Jersey prisoners over the last couple of years. She’s made it her mission to help to free New Jersey’s wrongfully-convicted. Her work and her fascinating personal story were the subject of my piece for New Jersey Monthly Magazine.

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The Beat Hits a New Note at Purchase College and Inspires a Similar Magazine at SUNY Binghamton

The Beat, Issue 2.

The Beat, Issue 2.

The second act is sometimes the toughest. So the challenge facing student staffers at The Beat this semester was to prove that Purchase College’s new music magazine was no one-hit-wonder.

When the second issue came out earlier this month with an eye-popping Culture Shock front cover, engrossing articles, and spectacular images, the message was clear: The Beat is here to stay.

What’s more, their winning formula of a high-quality student-generated arts and culture publication has inspired a similar publication at SUNY Binghamton, called Impact.

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A Match Made In The Purchase College Journalism Program

Chris Rhatigan and Melanie Reichwald, SUNY Purchase Journalism Alums, married and teaching in India

Chris Rhatigan and Melanie Reichwald, SUNY Purchase Journalism Alums, married and teaching in India

I almost choked on my chicken noodle soup the other day as I was skimming Facebook on my phone in The Hub and saw that Chris Rhatigan and Melanie Reichwald – two of the most memorable graduates of the Purchase journalism program – were married. TO EACH OTHER! And living a wonderfully adventurous life as school teachers in the foothills of the Himalayas in India.

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Smart Phones, Smart Students at SUNY Purchase’s First (Fake!) Smartphone Press Conference

SUNY Purchase Journalism Professor, Ross Daly, faking it for a smartphone presser

SUNY Purchase Journalism Prof. Ross Daly, faking it for a smartphone presser (Photo by Kim Whitehead)

Students used their smartphones to cover a “press conference” for my Multimedia Tools class yesterday putting them in the forefront of a new trend in journalism.

The fake presser starred Pleasantville Police Chief Cliff Huxtable (ably played by SUNY Purchase Journalism Professor Ross Daly) who was announcing the arrest of a liquor store bandit. When the questions were done, he produced a mug shot, which students also had to copy with their phones.

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Top Ten Smartphone Apps for Journalists and Student Journalists

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The background check app, the transcribing app, the phone checker app, the police scanner app…Much has been made of the potential use to journalists of the myriad apps available on our smartphones. But which apps do journalists really use? And which are the best ones for journalism students to know about?

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SUNY Purchase Journalism Alum Breaks The Lid Off National High School Statutory Rape Story And Is Quoted In The New York Times

Jessica Glenza, SUNY Purchase Journalism alum, and now a reporter for The Register Citizen

Jessica Glenza, SUNY Purchase Journalism alum, now a reporter for The Register Citizen

Jessica Glenza (Class of 2011) was quoted in The New York Times today about a high school statutory rape story she broke as a reporter at The Register Citizen of Torrington, CT last month. Her story has been picked up by the national and international media fueling the debate about social media bullying and transforming the town she covers.

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SUNY Purchase Journalism Student Has Her MTV Dreams Come True

Nermene Fakhr, SUNY Purchase journalism student.

Nermene Fakhr, SUNY Purchase journalism student, back on campus after her big day at MTV

Nermene Fakhr is still smiling from ear to ear after spending a day shadowing a journalist at MTV News, getting two stories published on their website, AND getting to meet rapper Chris Brown and shake his hand.

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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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Purchase Brick Staffers Go to College Media Convention in NYC

Journalism Professor Donna Cornachio and Brick staffers Ole Skaar and Sarah Ellis representing SUNY Purchase at a college media convention in New York (Assistant Editor Mike PIazza was at the convention too but not around for the photo)

Journalism Professor Donna Cornachio and Brick staffers Ole Skaar and Sarah Ellis representing SUNY Purchase at a college media convention in New York (Assistant Editor Mike Piazza was at the convention too but not around for the photo)

SUNY Purchase Assistant Professor of Journalism Donna Cornachio took a small crew of Purchase Brick staffers into the city this weekend to represent Purchase and meet the other student journalists and their advisors who poured in from all over the country for the event.

Prof. Cornachio, the proud faculty advisor to The Brick, wrote about their trip in this journoprof guest post:

“This past weekend some editors at The Brick and I took a busman’s holiday and attended the College Media Association’s annual convention at the Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan. Among us, Ole Skaar, editor in chief, Mike Piazza, assistant editor, and Sarah Ellis, photo editor, attended dozens of workshops geared toward students and their advisers who have college newspapers, Websites, broadcast stations and yearbooks.

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Double Pride: One Great Buzzer-Beating Shot, Two SUNY Purchase Journalists Covered It

Mike Zacchio, SUNY Purchase journalism student and part-time reporter at The Journal News, showing the miracle Khalil Edney shot captured on his iPhone

Mike Zacchio, former SUNY Purchase journalism student and part-time reporter at The Journal News, showing the miracle Khalil Edney shot captured on his iPhone

So it turns out that when Khalil Edney slung that amazing shot during the now-infamous Mt.Vernon-New Rochelle AA basketball championship game, catapulting him to stardom Sunday, not one but two students from the SUNY Purchase journalism program were there reporting the heart-stopping moment and the ensuing mayhem.

Mike Zacchio, (Class of ’11) was at the Westchester County Center covering it for the Journal News and recorded it all on his iPhone.

Jordan Griffith was there too working the game for MSG Varsity.

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Khalil Edney’s Miracle Shot Covered by SUNY Purchase Journalism Student

You may have seen Khalil Edney’s astounding 55-foot buzzer-beating shot in Sunday’s Mt. Vernon v New Rochelle Section 1 Class AA championship game.

But what you may not know is that SUNY Purchase journalism major Jordan Griffith was part of the MSG Varsity team that took the video of that amazing moment and helped it go viral.

SUNY Purchase's Jordan Griffith on camera for MSG Varsity

SUNY Purchase’s Jordan Griffith on camera for MSG Varsity

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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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Journalism Alum Tom Giglio Returns to “Give Back” to SUNY Purchase

264ec56It’s been a decade since Tom Giglio (Class of 2003) was a student in the Purchase journalism program. A decade! And he’s got a laundry list of impressive war stories to tell about his career in television since he graduated as a political science/journalism double major.

On Thursday he came back to tell those stories to students in my Journalism 1 class, and Professor Breen’s Journalism class too.

“I wanted to give back,” said Tom, who now works as a freelance casting producer under the banner of Just A Giglio Productions. He’s worked at Brooklyn Community Access Television, Court TV, ABC News, and been involved in  some great shows including House Hunters International, which impressed the heck out of me and the students in my class.(Who knew students watched shows about house-buying!)

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“Mike Piazza Reporting for Howard 100 News.”

MikePIazzapicMike Piazza, a SUNY Purchase journalism major, proudly uttered those very words on the air when his radio story about shadowing a reporter on Howard 100 News was put on SiriusXM during one of their news flashes last year.

(In case you’re wondering, that’s Howard, as in, Howard Stern.)

Mike was recently back at the Howard 100 News offices with some of his intern pals and had this picture taken.

Mike made Howard 100 history, becoming the show’s first intern to name himself on air. Here’s the clip: Mike The Shadow Audio

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