Social Journalism Class of 2015

Our inaugural class has chosen communities they will serve and are developing new strategies to engage them

This January, 14 students became pioneers in our new MA program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism that attempts to recast journalism as a service rather than a product.

Their goals are to better understand these communities so that they can produce the kinds of journalism they need and want. Yes, this includes tough reporting about the communities’ problems, but it also can include developing all kinds of information resources, including apps or databases.

Meet the class and learn about the communities they are working with. We welcome your ideas and feedback! Please feel free to comment here or contact us if you have suggestions for them.

Pedro Burgos is working with the nonprofit journalism community. He wants to help journalists connect with opportunities to fund their work, and has begun developing a database of fellowships and grants. He is also interested in better understanding how to define and measure journalistic impact. Pedro comes to CUNY from Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he worked at Gizmodo Brazil for four years, the last three as editor-in-chief of the technology-focused site.

Deron Dalton is working with the Black Lives Matter movement. He has developed his own hashtag to curate information about this community, #blksocialj. Deron is especially interested in making sure this community and the media coverage of police violence has diverse voices, including black women and black trans and LGBTQ people. Deron has a degree in convergence journalism with a minor in black studies from Mizzou and is an active member of the National Assocation of Black Journalists.

Sean Devlin is working with the Irish community in New York City. He’s gotten to know this community through the New York Celtic Supporters Club and a few stops at some local pubs, but has also learned about its struggles with immigration issues. One thing he hopes to develop is easier access points to local resources on immigration. This fall he will travel to Ireland to get a different perspective on this community. Sean is a Villanova grad and does stand-up comedy in his spare time.

Luis Miguel Echegaray is working with the soccer-loving community in New York City, from youth players to fans of the new New York City Football Club pro team. A former professional player and current coach, Luis Miguel has long been passionate about soccer. He recently produced a short documentary for Newsweek about a winning high school team on the Upper West Side that succeeds despite little funding and no field of its own and published a Guardian piece on a Latin drum group. His background is in acting and tv production.

Cristina Furlong is working with an organization she co-founded on pedestrian safety in Queens. She advocates for victims, especially children and those who have suffered severe loss or injury. Her work, alongside that of other advocates, has successfully pressured local politicians to enact a variety of safety measures, including the lowering of New York City’s speed limit. She hopes to use social media and civic technology to educate and mobilize more people around these issues.

Rachel Glickhouse is working with the undocumented Latin American immigrant community. Among her goals is to connect people with better legal resources. In her short time working with this community, Rachel already has one success story — a man she wrote about had his deportation stayed. Prior to coming to CUNY, Rachel, who is trilingual, was an avid blogger at RioGringa, where she covered the Brazilian economy, politics and culture.

Emily Goldblum is serving the queer community in New York. She hopes to help the many diverse voices within this community find common ground and to improve mainstream media representations of this group. Emily was previously a digital media planner for Zenith Optimedia/Moxie USA, where she worked for major clients such as Verizon FiOS and L’Oreal.

Julia Haslanger is serving the community of social media/community engagement editors working in newsrooms. With support from the Kettering Foundation, she is delving into how different news organizations define this job and determining some of the best techniques for engaging citizens in the news process. Julia comes to CUNY from Politico, where she worked as a designer and senior web producer.

Betsy Laikin is serving Muslim women in New York. She wants to help the activists, artists and change-makers in this community build a vibrant, progressive community that promotes tolerance, agency and resistance to extremism. She previously worked for Women’s Voices Now, a women’s rights organization and film festival, and she is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Hebrew.

Adriele Parker is serving African Americans dealing with mental health issues. Her goal is to help end the stigma around depression and other disorders and connect people with resources and conversation. Previously, she founded her own brand management and event planning business that primarily works with independent artists.

Nuria Saldanha is serving residents of favelas in her native Brazil. A graduate of our entrepreneurial journalism program, Nuria is creating a platform that will help stories told by her community thrive. She will conduct media skills trainings for the Facebook Innovation and Entrepreunership Lab in the Favela of Heliópolis in São Paulo beginning in August. She has eight years of journalism experience covering economics and agribusiness for radio, television and online news sources.

Aaron Simon is serving the neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where he is especially interested in raising awareness of issues surrounding environmental pollution. He hopes to help residents in this rapidly gentrifying neighborhood better understand how the spills, toxic sites and poor air quality may affect their health and what they can do about it. Aaron has a degree in human rights and sustainable development from Columbia University and experience in community organizing.

Erica Soto is serving independent musicians in New York. She has used her considerable video talent to help artists produce music videos and get to know them better. Among her goals is better connecting artists with fans in ways that can help musicians support themselves financially and fund tours. Erica has worked in television production for a number of networks, including E! Entertainment/NBC Universal, MTV and others.

James Wasserman is covering issues surrounding gentrification in Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights, with a particular focus on how long-term residents are handling the surge in new development, including high rises that block treasured views. James is a graduate of Fordham and has interned at the Sun Sentinel in Florida.