Intro. to Journalism

ENG1151 Fall 2023

Final Week: Journalism Opportunities Across CUNY


Thank you for a thought-provoking semester during a period in which international events have caused enormous challenges to journalists trying to practice their trade. Never has the battle for a free press and free speech been so fraught with risk and danger.

I leave you with an article from the Queens College Student Newspapers about journalism opportunities across CUNY. I should add that I am just beginning my own new project: an attempt to build a larger journalism presence at City Tech (hopefully, we’ll have a minor one day and perhaps even a Journalism Center).

I also want you to look at an important project run by Media Professor Nolan Higdon, called Modern Censorship. It focuses on the challenges of doing quality journalism today and provides links to additional journalism opportunities.


Be sure to finish revising your OpEds. Most of you can revise your OpEd on the same document in our google docs drive: HERE.

Be sure to also upload your final journalism project proposals (Due Wed., Dec. 20).


You can use the following template:

Project Title: _______________________

Paragraph One (Description): Describe what your feature story or project is specifically about. What form will it take (website, feature article in a magazine, podcast, documentary film, book)?  Who is your expected audience? Will it include photography, video links, charts, a timeline?  

Paragraph Two (Interest): Explain what makes your project or story interesting or newsworthy.  Consider its potential impact, its timeliness, its human interest, and/or its educational value.

Paragraph Three (Sources): Will it involve interviewing people? Will you rely on expert sources? Will it involve original reporting and/or observation on the ground? Will it utilize social media (which platforms)?

If you are unsure about a project topic, consider expanding your OpEd topic into a larger work of some kind. Explain what additional research and/or journalism tools you could include to reach a wider audience [if a book, what might be the table of contents].

Please stay in touch with any questions or concerns you may have.

Week 14: City Tech Times, Mark Chiusano, and the Final Project Proposal

Hi Students,

First off, I want to give you a message from the amazing City Tech student, Mohammed Amin, who is editor of the revived City Tech News and is currently looking for writers and designers:

Call to Action for City Tech News

Are you looking to make an impact with your words, photos, or designs? New Tech Times is on the lookout for passionate individuals ready to bring their unique talents to our transformative school newspaper. Writing, photography, art, or event coverage–there’s a place for every skill set. It’s not just about contributing; it’s about connecting with the campus life and being a voice for our community. Let’s collaborate to craft a newspaper that’s not only informative but also a beacon of student talent and engagement. If you’re ready to step into this exciting role, reach out to us with your ideas and let’s explore how you can fit into our team. Together, we can redefine our publication and create a dynamic campus legacy. To join or for more information, please stop by at Namm G-517 or contact us by email, and we’ll guide you through the process.

Best regards,

Mohammed Amin


New Tech Times

Here is a link to the most recent issue: City Tech Times


I strongly support being a part of City Tech Times. A former City Tech student, Donnell Suggs, decided to join and fell in love with journalism. He is now editor-in-chief at the famous and important Atlanta Voice, and will be a guest speaker at our school next semester (which I’ll let you know about).

It’s clear we also have lots of talent in this class, as demonstrated by your riveting OpEd drafts across a variety of cool topics.  By now, I have commented on all of those that were uploaded or emailed to me. Please review my suggested edits and comments (be sure to click “accept”), and I will then post your final grade on it. Most of you can revise your OpEd on the same document in our google docs drive: HERE. If you have any issue finding my comments or editing the document, please let me know.

For this week, I want you to also keep thinking about your final journalism project proposal.

You can use the following template:

Project Title: _______________________

Paragraph One (Description): Describe what your feature story or project is specifically about. What form will it take (website, feature article in a magazine, podcast, documentary film, book)?  Who is your expected audience? Will it include photography, video links, charts, a timeline?  

Paragraph Two (Interest): Explain what makes your project or story interesting or newsworthy.  Consider its potential impact, its timeliness, its human interest, and/or its educational value.

Paragraph Three (Sources): Will it involve interviewing people? Will you rely on expert sources? Will it involve original reporting and/or observation on the ground? Will it utilize social media (which platforms)?

If you are unsure about a project topic, consider expanding your OpEd topic into a larger work of some kind. Explain what additional research and/or journalism tools you could include to reach a wider audience [if a book, what might be the table of contents].

Upload your Project Proposal (Due: Dec. 20): HERE.

To help you think some more about your project proposal, let’s consider the work of former Newsday journalist, Mark Chiusano, who is currently teaching in the City Tech English Department.  He recently published a book on George Santos (The Fabulist), who was just expelled from Congress, and is sharing his work in a variety of formats.  The Fabulist is getting a great deal of attention and HBO has just contracted with him to make a documentary from his exciting material.

Start by watching this short video in which Chiusano discusses his subject, Congressman George Santos, and why telling his story is so important

“When Lying Becomes a Way of Life”  by Mark Chiusano

Here is his book information, which includes a short, interesting podcast. Take a listen.

Lastly, read an excerpt from The Fabulist as it appeared in Vanity Fair Magazine.

On Jan. 10 at 7pm Mark Chiusano will be giving a talk at Books Are Magic on Montague Street in Brooklyn.  You can hear him speak or watch his book talk live on youtube (below).


Week 13: Longer Form Journalism, Post due Wed. Dec. 6

Journalism Students:

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving break.  We only have a few more weeks to go and I’m looking forward to finishing up reading your OpEd essays. I will have comments on all of them by this Friday.

For this week, I want to get you started thinking about your last, small formal assignment. This assignment will be due: Mon. Dec. 18. Essentially, I ask you to think about a larger journalism project you might like to work on if you had more time – and a budget!  What would this project be?  Who would be your audience?  What journalism techniques, platforms, and technologies would you use?  What steps would you need to take? What would be the outcome?  What challenges do you foresee?

To help you start thinking about his final assignment, I want you to consider a variety of exciting projects professional journalists, writers, and CUNY students have been working on.

Let’s begin with Brooke Kroeger, author of Undaunted: How Women Changed American Journalism. She is a former journalism professor at NYU and director of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

Here is a 10-minute interview with her (entitled “Eye Roll Moments”) in which she discusses touchy situations female journalists have had to deal with up until quite recently (and certainly still today).

Please also look at this news story on the amazing work CUNY graduate students are doing at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.

They received two dozen awards in recent national journalism competitions.  According to the article: “The winners represent stories told in a variety of media formats — and range from New York’s scramble to combat the climate crisis to tales behind street names in Queens to the push to boost shipping on New York’s waterways.”

Finally, please also look at the work of a former student of mine (Emily Hu) who wrote an important letter to the community on Anti-Asian Violence during the pandemic.

“Many Years After: A Letter on Anti-Asian Violence”

The following year she transformed the letter into a short film:

Many Years After

POST ASSIGNMENT (Due. Wed. Dec. 6)

Choose one of the readings or videos and discuss what you liked about it and
any ideas it gave you for a longer, extended journalism project of your own (or
for someone else).  You can choose to respond to the interview with Kroeger, a project by a CUNY Newmark student (scroll down in the article to find them), or Emily Hu’s letter and/or film.

Week 11: Enjoy your holiday break this week

Last month was Indigenous People’s Day and this week many Americans, of course, celebrate Thanksgiving. During the autumn of 1621, some 90 Wampanoag joined 52 English people at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, to mark a successful harvest. Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday on October 3, 1863, to help unite a war-weary nation, then fighting in the Civil War (1861-1865).

Enjoy your holiday with your family and friends.

Thank you for your insightful replies to two classic films on Investigative Journalism. I will be reviewing them this week and will also start giving feedback on your OpEd drafts. Keep them coming in!

Upload your OpEd Assignment: HERE

Tips and Directions for the OpEd Assignment

Weeks 9-10: The History and Aims of Investigative Reporting

I’m recommending the above event for those interested in issues relating to New York and Brooklyn.


We’re heading into the final 6 weeks of the course, so be sure to check your mid-term grades (Pass, Needs Improvement) in this and all your classes.

As we continue with the topic of press freedom, I want to introduce to you the history and aims of investigative journalism in the US.

 Investigative Journalism (an essential component of the “fourth estate”) is vital to our democracy which can only happen in a society that values press freedom, open government (and access to its records), and respect for the media.

Its origins in the United States dates back to Ida B. Wells exposure of southern lynching in the 1890s and the “muckrakers” of the early 1900s, like Ida M. Tarbell who exposed the corruption and monopolization antics of the Standard Oil company in 1904. 

Here is an interesting timeline of important examples of investigative reporting.

On this list is the important investigative work of two journalists (Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein) who broke the Nixon Watergate scandal in the 1970s, leading to President Nixon’s impeachment.

More recent is the investigation of Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein, brought down by New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey in 2017. These reporters exposed Weinstein for a long history of allegations of sexual assault and harassment of women in the industry.

Two extraordinary films capture the stories behind these two momentous investigations.

All the President’s Men (starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman) [1976] and She Said (starring Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan) directed by Maria Schrader, which takes aim at Weinstein and the #MeToo movement that followed.

Post Assignment (Due: Monday, Nov. 20). As you continue working on your own OpEd pieces, I ask that you watch ONE of these films and comment on what you learned and found most compelling about the film.

All the President’s Men

She Said

If you cannot watch one of these films for any reason, let me know and I can help you find a good free alternative.

Please also continue to email me your OpEd topics. I am available on zoom on Tuesdays (3-5 pm) to brainstorm your topic. The final version is due Wed., Nov. 22, but try to upload a draft before then (so I can review it).

Upload your OpEd Assignment: HERE

Tips and Directions for the OpEd Assignment

Week 8: “Objectivity” in the News and The OpEd

Journalism Students:

Last week, I introduced the topic of free speech and the First Amendment.  In times of war, this right gets fully tested as I’m sure you are all noticing by media coverage of the many protests across college campuses, the country, and the globe right now.  The danger to journalists is also at an all-time high (many are being targeted) and the challenges of properly and fairly reporting on events are many.

For this week, I ask you to read the views of two important journalists and review the OpDoc section of the NYTimes, in preparation for your own upcoming OpEd assignment.

The OpEd, which stands for “opposite the editorial page,” is a short piece of writing typically published by a newspaper, which expresses the opinion of an author not affiliated with the publication’s editorial board. This genre was invented by the New York Times in 1970 and has been a mainstay of most newspapers ever since.   Recently, the Times announced it would now call opinion pieces “Guest Essays” (largely due to the fact that papers are now mostly on-line – i.e. not “opposite” another piece of writing on paper).

The New York Times also now has an Video Op Section.

The separation of opinion from the news is also part of the “professionalization” of the news that the New York Times also helped develop.  Since the early 1900s, professional reporters have been asked to be “neutral” and “unbiased” when covering stories.  Today, many in the mainstream media (PBS, NBC News, CNN, etc.) prize neutrality over virtually all other values. Being “neutral” means giving equal credence, focus, and criticism for all sides of an argument, without passing judgment as to the validity of the argument. The “neutral” reporter simply reports what the different sides of a debate assert but does not take a position.  

In 2019, Lewis Raven Wallace (in his book The View From Somewhere ) was one of the first reporters to criticize what he calls “the myth of journalistic objectivity.”

To learn why, read his Op-Ed “Objectivity is Dead, and I’m Okay With It”

Also in 2019, Nikole Hannah-Jones created an innovative and important long-form journalism endeavor called The 1619 Project. The project, which appeared in the New York Times Magazine, focused on the long legacy of slavery and racism in this country starting at the founding of the US (the first enslaved people arrived to Virginia Colony in 1619).  The project offered a radical new way of learning about (and teaching) history but continues to face opposition from those on the right. Without a doubt, Hannah-Jones used great courage and talent to express her beliefs, making quite an impact on the study of history today.

Listen to her Podcast “The Fight for a True Democracy”: HERE

POST ASSIGNMENT: In a paragraph or two, briefly summarize and respond to Wallace’s essay, Hannah-Jones’ podcast, or a recent OpDoc from the NYTimes.   

Also start thinking about a topic you might want to discuss in your OpEd.  The topic does not have to be a political one but can be on an issue you find interesting and worth debating (should the New York Knicks trade for a big star, for example).  Please run your topic by me before you start on it, however. Send me an email ( or join me for zoom office hours.

Post (and OpEd topic) due: Wed., Nov. 1

Week Seven: The First Amendment and Press Freedom


Nice work interviewing your fellow students.   I’ve made comments for all of you on your documents (if you uploaded a PDF, I created a googledocs file you can review).  Please finish your revisions soon (at which point I will give you a grade).  See GRADEBOOK link to the right. In general, be sure to provide a captivating title and a good photo or two. Also make sure your introduction brings out key characteristics of your interviewee. I’ve also copy-edited your pieces, so also review and correct any punctuation and sentence errors I highlighted (part of being a good journalist is producing relatively “clean”, catchy copy “on deadline.”)  You will generally have an editor make varied corrections, cuts, and suggestions.  My central suggestion to all of you as journalists is to provide LOTS of KEY details (pertinent to your subject matter) to fully bring your writing to life. 


This week’s topic builds on our conversation of the critical role of the media (or fourth estate) for maintaining a vibrant democracy.  To review, the press needs to

1) offer a wide marketplace of ideas, perspectives, and information to help citizens make informed decisions.

2) inform the public about “what matters” (i.e. what they SHOULD be paying attention to).  What gets covered by the media and what does not is also called “agenda setting.”

3) serve as a “watchdog” of politicians, businesses, and institutions.

4) inform readers about important people, places, and events across the racial and social spectrum and

5) mobilize readers/viewers to “thought” and “action.”  Let’s add one more:


Because of its importance, the right to a free press (and the freedom of speech) is enshrined in our First Amendment from the American Constitution, approved by all the states in 1789:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It’s interesting to note that freedom of speech and of the press are brought together with other related rights: the right to practice one’s religion (whatever it may be), the right to assemble (protest) in the streets, and the right “to complain” about your government.

With the recent, horrific events in Gaza and Israel, the pressure on the right to express one’s views (so long as it doesn’t “cause harm” – like yelling “fire” in movie theater) is really being put to the test.  In this class and in this society, I believe that everyone has the right to (respectfully) express one’s beliefs and thoughts on any issue. 

What I want you to think about this week is how well the First Amendment is (and has been) put into practice.

Do Americans have the legal right to criticize our government (and leaders of other countries)?  The answer is yes. This right was severely tested, however, when Julian Assange created a site called Wikileaks in 2010.  Since its inception, Wikileaks offers a platform to give whistleblowers a platform to expose hidden truths about various governments and institutions around the world.

It’s important to keep in mind that it is not legal for WikiLeaks sources to steal secret documents and submit classified documents to the site. However, thanks to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, it is legal for WikiLeaks to publish these documents and share them with the public. It is also perfectly legal for you to read information found on WikiLeaks

Does the First Amendment allow FAKE NEWS?  Facebook (and Twitter—now X) famously allowed the spread of false information during Donald Trump’s presidency but finally kicked him off their sites for lying about the election results (that Biden didn’t win) and generally riling up his supporters with false assertions (leading to the Capitol riots).  We have also come to learn that for a long time Facebook had allowed false reports about the Covid Vaccine (see Covid Misinformation on Facebook is Killing People).

The Supreme Court is currently considering the limits of free expression on Social Media (and their liability when users “cause harm”). Let’s keep an eye on these decisions.

What one is allowed to say and publish has been under constant scrutiny since our nation was first established.  The same is true with the ever-presence and danger of Fake News.

For this week’s assignment, watch this video on the origins of the First Amendment. It begins with the trial of a printer in New York, named John Peter Zenger, in 1735. His newspaper, The New York Weekly Journal, mercilessly criticized, William Cosby, governor of the colony of New York at the time.

John Peter Zenger Trial 1735

I also ask that you watch a fun video exploring how “Fake News” was an issue even during the American Revolution (1776-1783). Both videos offer a good overview of our first media outlets before CNN, Facebook, and Twitter/X.

Fake News in the Revolutionary War

There is no post assignment due this week. Please finish your student interviews. Please also be sure to sign up to the New York Times free student app ( New York Times account ) and begin following a topic you might want to write about in an opinion piece (OpEd) or your own, which is an upcoming assignment.

Week Six: Revising your Interviews

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for uploading your interview drafts. I am currently reviewing them and will have comments for you by the end of the week. When I edit your pieces, you should be notified via gmail I believe. Work from the files I edit to produce a final version. Some of you will need to get more information from your subjects, so you might want to share the interview with your partner, once I’ve commented on them.

Please contact me if you have not been able to make contact with your interview partner.

All interviews remain in our googledocs dropbox: HERE


Given the assignment I’ve asked you to work on, there is some irony that the big journalism story of the past week concerns the “cancelling” of the founding editor of Rolling Stone Magazine, Jann Wenner. Wenner and his magazine practically INVENTED the modern interview allowing Rock and Roll musicians to be taken seriously for the first time in the 1960 and 70s.  The importance of this magazine (founded in 1967) and genre cannot not be overstated. 

So, last week, Jenner gets interviewed by a New York Times reporter to discuss thoughts on his legacy. In the interview, Jenner really speaks his mind. When asked why he never interviewed a black or female musician, he flat out claims that none were sufficiently interesting enough to interview! What?!!?  Literally the next day, he is removed from the Board of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (which he also founded) and becomes the talk of the town. 

A question I have for you is not whether Jenner deserved to be “cancelled” (the media is all over the place on this topic) but whether the journalist interviewing Jenner should have stepped in and “fixed” the interview to protect him.  As Jenner himself discussed in the interview, he always “cleaned up” his interviews with famous subjects such as John Lennon and Mick Jagger.

Here is the full story.  Also link to the original interview. It’s a helpful model to consider as you work on your own.

Jann Wenner’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Reign Ended in 20 Minutes – The New York Times (

This story relates to our lesson of the week: the ethics of journalism.  While I do not ask that you post this week (concentrate on writing your interviews), I do ask that you read the following:

“The Elements of Journalism”

Society of Professional Journalists CODE OF ETHICS

“What is the Role of a Newspaper Anyway?”

Next week, we will return to discussing the issue of “journalism ethics” and the role of journalism more fully.

Week 4: Begin Your Interview with Assigned Journalism Student

Thank you students for your careful reading and comments on the interview profiles of Eden Bridgeman Sklenar and Juan Gonzalez. While both of these journalists are superstars in their own right, the interviewers were themselves talented practitioners of journalism, especially adept at bringing out key details and information about their interesting subjects in an engaging manner. It was also interesting to see how Jillian Jorgensen was able to bring her subject’s “story” alive for NY1 television viewers – though not famous, Carlos (and his daughter) were worthy interviewees.

All of you made some helpful points about what makes an interview particularly stellar.

Sphear, for example, writes on “Ebony Returns to Chronicle a New Moment,” noting Marc Tracy’s “ability to relay multiple stories simultaneously, relaying the impact of said stories, and then being able tie them together at the end to one consistent point. The ability of a veteran journalist to implement multiple stories, points of view, and sources shows why it is important how you structure an article. The ability to properly structure an article allows the writer to tell many branching narratives while maintaining the ease of understanding for the reader.  

Avis Weathersbee’s interview with Eden Bridgeman Sklenar is another example of great journalism. She allows Sklenar to answer each question without interruption and builds on some questions. This shows that she is knowledgeable about the topic and interested.  Student journalists should be able to expand on questions. It shows that they are actively listening and produces more substantial answers.” 

“Street-Beat Confidential,” Aaron writes, “is an interview that captures Daily News journalist Juan Gonzales as he is continually moving and focused on his own point of view in the streets around Rockefeller Center. […] As a journalist, Gonzalez employed a variety of techniques, but I believe one of them was to walk about the streets rather than read about something to get a first-person perspective on it—well captured by the interviewer.”

Riley Gatto’s favorite piece was “Two decades later, a student returns to class at CUNY” by Jillian Jorgensen. As she writes, “right off the bat, I was drawn to the piece for sentimental reasons; one of the first few sentences is a heartfelt quote from the student who is covered in the piece, Carlos Rodriguez. ‘In my heart, I always knew I wanted to come back to school. I don’t know when that was going to happen, but I knew that eventually it would happen,’ Rodriguez said. This quote immediately gives the audience someone to root for and a reason to continue reading the story to see the victory of this person. This piece not only can resonate with those of us who are nontraditional students, but anyone who has ever had to wait for their dreams to come to fruition. I think the technical move of involving his daughter, a fellow City Tech student, increases the sentiment the reader/watcher feels towards the subject. The story is engaging and very clearly written in a style that makes it seem like Carlos’s journey has come full-circle, which is very satisfying to read.”

Well said all.

Now that you’ve read and analyzed these pieces, I ask that you put into practice your own journalism skills by interviewing a fellow student and creating a profile of him or her.  You can do the interview in written form, or if you like, as a video recording.

Interview Assignment Directions:

1) Look below to see who your student partner is (see list below).

2) Read the Student Interview Assignment (I have also posted this assignment at the bottom of this page)

3) Review these sample student interviews to use as models. The first sample is in the classic “Q & A” style; the second sample is the “story-line” style also used in the Juan Gonzalez interview.

4) Create a list of questions drawn, in part, from the ones I’ve given you. I encourage you to add your own creative questions. As you interview, you might find that you want to go in a new direction. You may also need to ask follow-up questions.

This week I want you to contact your interview partner (you can get contact information by responding to their self-introduction under “our community”).

Discuss how you want to perform the interview (on zoom, email, or

You can upload (and work on) this assignment in our googledocs dropbox: HERE To upload a file from your computer press “new” (on upper left corner) and then “upload file”.

If you have questions or concerns, please email me ( As a reminder, I also hold weekly office hours (Tuesdays 4-5 pm). The zoom link is on our site.

Draft Due Date: Monday, Oct. 2 (but get started soon!)

Student Interview Partners

Kareeb,Efaz  AND WuWu,Qiting

Khanam,Mareefa AND Morales,Richard

Prosper,Thierry AND Rodnell,Kiana 

Jason Barrios AND Halley,Kevin

Gan,Aaron AND Willis,Christopher

Bah,Mamadou AND Li,Christine 

Martinez,Cindy AND Zhang,Cui 

Kimba,Samiratou AND Barrios,Jason

Jimenez,Gabriel AND Baltazar,Kobe

Lee,Edmond AND Cruz,Odalis 

Diallo,Coumba   AND Forde,Sphear

Gan,Elan  AND Gatto,Riley Marie



Unit #1: Interview Assignment

Writing a “Student Profile”

A “profile feature” is a newspaper article that explores the background and character of a particular person (or group). The focus should be on a news angle and/or key aspects of the subject’s personal or professional/academic life. Based on information gleaned during your interview, try to think about what really stands out that defines your subject.

The profile should begin with the reason the subject is newsworthy at this time, and should be based on an extensive interview with the subject (see sample questions below). Biographical material is important but should not be overemphasized: the biography is background to the news. Readers should be allowed to better understand the subject by seeing this person in the context of his or her interests and career, educational and family background.

When reporting a profile feature article, pay close attention to your subject’s habits and mannerisms. Subtle clues like posture, tone of voice and word choice can all, when presented to readers, contribute to a fuller and more accurate presentation of the interview subject.

When interviewing, encourage your subject to open up and express significant thoughts, feelings or opinions. Do so by asking open-ended questions that are well-planned. Make sure to research the subject of your profile before beginning your interview. This will help you to maintain focus during the conversation and to ask questions that will elicit compelling responses.

The profile should open with an overall picture of the subject’s achievements, aims, and personal qualities. Consider interviewing other people (friends/family members), representing a variety of perspectives, about the subject of your profile. Ask them for telling anecdotes. You don’t have to quote, or even mention, all of these people in your article.

A profile feature lede can take one of many forms. One is a “delayed lede,” in which a person is introduced before his or her relevance is revealed.

An example:

“As a young girl growing up on the South Side of Chicago, Mae C. Jemison watched telecasts of the Gemini and Apollo spaceflights and knew that that was her destiny. No matter that all the astronauts were male and white and that she was female and black. She simply knew she would be a space traveler. Now a 35-year-old doctor and engineer, Dr. Jemison has realized her dream, launching into orbit yesterday as one of the shuttle Endeavor’s seven member crew. In the process she has become the first African-American woman to go into space….”

Review the sample profile I provide as well as the profile on Ebony editor Eden Bridgeman Sklenar, from last week’s readings. Like these two samples, begin with an introduction of your subject (your “lede”), followed by a Question and Answer sequence. Alternately, you can use a “story-line” as Paul Hond does in his interview of Juan Gonzalez.

Here are some questions to ask but feel free to add your own. It might be helpful to upload these questions into your own document (which you can upload to our class googledrive).

1. Who’s someone you admire, and why?
2. Tell me three pet peeves.
3. What’s a typical day like for you?
4. Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
5. If you could be anywhere other than here, right this minute, where would you be? (Don’t overthink it!)
6. Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?
7. If we went to your favorite restaurant, what would you order?
8. Finish this sentence. On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me…
9. How do you want people to remember you?
10. What do you think are the best skills that you bring to a job?
11. Name three words that you describe you.
12. How do you think your friends would describe you?
13. What do you want to make sure you do before you die?
14. What’s a goal you have for yourself that you want to accomplish in the next year?
16. What publications do you regularly read?
17. What are you happiest doing, when you’re not studying or working?
18. What are some causes or issues you care about?
19. What is your current college major? What is your desired future career?
20. What would be your personal motto?

21.  What social media (or other news feeds) do you follow or use?

Week 3: The Art of the Interview

Thank you students for your insightful commentary on “The Origin of the News” and the Virtual Print Tours you took.

Some of the key points you noted from “The Origin of the News” included:

  1. The constant evolution of the news and news platforms
  2. The history of censorship
  3. The diversity of print producers across eras and in our own nation (which we also saw in the virtual tours of various printing districts)
  4. The incessant curiosity humans have for news of all kinds
  5. The very real dangers of “news cycle fatigue”
  6. The merits of “the general public becoming more aware of the news”
  7. The danger of “bias” in the news and the question of whether “news” coverage has become weaker over time

These are just some of the many media issues we will continue to track across the semester and I look forward to continuing to hear more from you about them.


This week, we turn to the practice of journalism by examining a news feature that has always fascinated readers: interviews of famous, or otherwise interesting people.

If you end up working in the media, inevitably you will be asked to write a profile on an important person in a field of wide general interest.

In an upcoming assignment, I will be asking you to interview a fellow student. In preparation for your assignment, this week I want you to review two profiles, one on legendary journalist Juan Gonzalez and, the other on Eden Bridgeman Sklenar, editor of the legendary Ebony Magazine.

The first pieces are on Sklenar:

1) “Ebony Returns to Chronicle a New Moment” 

2) “Did I Really Just Buy Ebony?”  Interview with Eden Bridgeman Sklenar

The second profile features Gonzales, now co-host of alternative news site, Democracy Now.

3)  “Street-Beat Confidential”

and the best interview of all (!) is one by Jillian Jorgensen of New York 1 in which she interviews City Tech student Carlos Rodriquez. Carlos was a student in my writing course this summer, where Jorgensen did the filming.

4) City Tech Student Profile on NY1

POST ASSIGNMENT: By Monday, Sept. 18, post a response to what you found interesting about one or two of these pieces (a technique, unique focus, or rhetorical move) that you think will be helpful for a student journalist. Be sure to read the student responses before yours and try to focus on a different point if you can.

Week 2: “History of the News” — Upload your post response by Monday, Sept. 11

Journalism Students:

Welcome back from Labor Day weekend.

Thank you for your creative, exuberant, and informative self-introductions. It’s clear we have a class of diverse talents, experiences, majors, and pet lovers. I expect that we will learn a great deal more about each other and our course topics as the semester progresses.

On the right of the site, you will find a “check your grade” link. You can check on your grades here throughout the semester.

This week I ask that you consider the history of news since it began as well as the important role journalism has played in New York City since our city’s beginnings.

I first ask that you watch this fact-filled video entitled “The Origin of the News”   

As you watch, take notes. Consider the meaning and consequences of terms like “news cycle fatigue” and “censorship” as well as the many reasons people “follow” the news. You might also want to consider the effect of important developments such as the invention of paper, the block press, and movable type as well as the different — and evolving — forms of the media (early newspapers, radio, newsreels, broadcast news, CNN, and today’s social media platforms) as well as new reporting methods.

I also ask that you take a virtual walking tour of one of New York’s famed neighborhoods to learn about local printing history.

In the summers of of 2015 and 2020, I served as Director of the “City of Print” Institute. Owing to the pandemic, the in-person institute of 2015 was transformed to being fully on line. This meant that rather than give walking tours of printing districts in person, I created five virtual tours (of the Seaport, Printing House Square, Union Square, the East Village, and the West Village) to be watched at home.

Choose ONE tour and comment on what interested you most about it.

NYC Seaport Tour

Printing House Square (NYC City Hall/Entrance to Brooklyn Bridge)

Union Square

The East Village

The West Village

Please also take a general look around the full site at City of Print.

One of your options for your final Unit #3 assignment is to write a proposal for an extended journalism project you might like to do in the future. My site was developed using Square-space (with help from Matthew Joseph, a talented City Tech graduate!). The walking tours were taped on “screen-cast-amatic” and uploaded to Vimeo. As our course progresses this semester, think of some of the technology that might help in the production, development, and distribution of your proposed project. I’m happy to advise on this.

Lastly, if you have not yet read Nolan Higdon’s Teaching Media Literacy, please do so.

HOMEWORK (due Monday, Sept. 11 — by the end of the day):

POST a 1 paragraph response to a topic you found particularly interesting in the “Origin of the News” video and, in another paragraph, discuss what you learned (or found interesting) from the virtual walking tour you viewed.  As a substitute for one of these prompts, consider writing a response to Nolan Higdon’s essay “Teaching Media Literacy,” which I assigned last week.



Welcome to English 1151: Introduction to Journalism.

This is an asynchronous class that only meets virtually.

I will post video lectures and assignments each Tuesday. You are required to complete your post assignments by the following Monday (end of the day is fine).

I hold weekly office hours on Zoom (on Tuesdays 4-5 pm). Attending office hours is optional (i.e. not required)

Here is the Office Hour Link:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 835 1284 1644
Passcode: 060506

Office Hours Begin on Tuesday, Aug. 29

I can regularly be reached at:

Professor Mark Noonan


Here are your duties DUE by Friday (Sept. 1):

  1. Watch my course Welcome Lecture
  2. Sign up to OPENLAB, join our course, and upload your self-introduction


1.  Sign up for your OpenLab account with your name and a profile photo.  Log in, then join our course.  If you need  help,  contact the OpenLab Community Team

2. Look around our course site to familiarize yourself

3. Introduce yourself.  To write a new post, click the + sign at the top of the page. (It’s a small icon next to the class title and message box icon at the very top of the page). Fill in the subject heading with your name, then add your info and photo below.  After your work is complete, scroll down and check off CLASS INTRODUCTIONS under Categories (right side of page), then click Publish.

  • Paragraph 1: Include how you would like to be addressed, your pronouns, and any other info you’d like to share. This could include where you are from, where you reside now, your academic interests or major, any hobbies or NYC activities you enjoy, what media topics interest you, how you feel about being in college right now. Feel free to be creative!
  • Paragraph 2:  Include a photo of something (place, space, person, pet, object, etc ) meaningful to you, and tell us about it.  You can paste the photo into the body of your message, or Add Media  to upload it to your post.
  • Before next class, check back to read your classmates’ responses and reply to a few. Getting to know each other, we start building our community.

In a separate email (, please let me know if you have any issues with technology and/or working space that may affect your ability to complete your coursework. Go to this site if you are in need of a loaner laptop or chromebook or MyFi (portable WiFi):

4. Read: Nolan Higdon Teaching Media Literacy

“Instead of attempting to control the flow of information from the top down, the best solution for addressing the threats posed by fake news is to ensure that schools teach critical news literacy, wherein students can learn how to be a journalist, evaluate and analyze sources, separate fact from opinion, interrogate the production process, and investigate the politics of representation.”

5.  Create free New York Times account

6. Subscribe to WNYC’s On The Media 

7. Follow the alternative news site: Democracy Now

See you soon!

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