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Meet A Member

"Behind the scenes" with members of the New York Press Club

Chip Barnett
Mark Molesworth

By Christina Brown Fisher

There can be no denying that Mark Molesworth has had a storied career. His life’s work is filled with both historically important and astonishing stories from around the world.

As a cinematographer with more than 30 years of experience, he has an impressive track record of shooting with a broad base of globally renowned investigative reporters, broadcasters, and production companies. As a result, his material routinely airs the world over. He is an award winning Director of Photography having won a Cine Golden Eagle for his work on "Dick Smith Make Up Artist" and an International Monitor Award for the BBC short film, "Street the Beat." He co-owns Molesworth Enterprises, Inc., a film and television production company based in NYC with his wife and journalist, Donna Bertaccini, also a NY Press Club member.

Tell us about how you started off in your career.

I graduated from New York University with my BFA in Film and Television. Not long after I created my company Molesworth Enterprises, Inc. so that I could offer my camera expertise to filmmakers and broadcasters in a buttoned down, corporate way. I was very lucky early on in that I was put under contract by the BBC NY office to supply them with not only my photographic talents and skills, but to also supply them with crews and equipment for their North and South American filming needs. We often had many crews out at any one time working for the BBC and others. That contract lasted for roughly ten years. During that time, I was fortunate enough to meet many talented, fledgling, movers and shakers in the world of journalism. To give you an example, I worked closely with Gerard Baker (recent Wall Street Journal Executive Editor) on stories for the BBC while he was stationed in New York City for several years. He and I had a blast working together on "The Road To Hope", a BBC documentary about President Clinton’s first presidential run. I also worked back then with Mark Thompson who initially worked as a producer for BBC’s Newsnight, and who then went on to become the BBC’s Director General for many years. He is currently the CEO of The New York Times. Those are just two examples. So in that regard, being under contract to the BBC afforded me the opportunity to meet many dedicated career journalists, directors, and producers who typically went on to other broadcasting corporations or who would eventually set up their own film and television production companies. Many of these UK talents now have co-pros, (co-production) deals with broadcasters from around the world. In turn, I am often hired by these same former colleagues to work on their film and television productions. We’ve always remained very busy as a company as a direct result of those early BBC days and the professional relationships we forged there.

What are you currently work on?

I’m working on a number of projects currently, including a series about the Bush Family Dynasty for a UK client, and I’m working on another series called "BioPics" for the UK’s ITV. It’s a biography series. I’m also slated to do some filming on the National Geographic show "Drain the Oceans", in addition to working on a few independent films. To be honest, the phone will ring tomorrow and I’ll most likely add more to that list.

Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?

I see myself doing what I’ve always done. Putting my eye up to my camera’s eyepiece and capturing the best image I can possibly capture.

Chip Barnett
Chip Barnett
Senior Market Reporter for The Bond Buyer

Nearly 40 years at the newsdesk and in the front and back offices of various news and information organizations.

Chip Barnett is a journalist with almost 40 years of professional experience. He started off his career in 1977 at Gannett Newspapers in Westchester County, working his way up from back-shop compositor to Senior News Editor.

Barnett then moved to Thomson Reuters in Manhattan, covering state and local government finance as a reporter and later executive editor for and then as editor-in-charge of municipal finance for Reuters news.

Chip was named editor of Municipal Finance Today at SourceMedia. He has also worked for DebtWire/Municipals, covering distressed municipalities across the United States, and has written about commercial and residential real estate in South Florida and the Midwest for both The Real Deal and Globe Street.

Barnett is currently Senior Market Reporter for The Bond Buyer.

Vicky Llerena
Vicky Llerena
Host, Social Vibes Media; PR strategist

Formerly with Univision WXTV-41, Hudson Media Group, and PRNewswire, Vicky is also an adjuct professor at St. Peter's University.

Career hightlghts: Vicky Llerena is Social Vibes Media’s host, content creator, and public relations strategist. No amateur to the media industry, Vicky brings with her over eight years of experience having worked at Univision WXTV-41, Hudson Media Group, and PRNewswire. Aside from managing SVM, Vicky is also an adjunct professor at Saint Peter’s University, New Jersey City Institute of Technology and Hudson County Community College. Vicky is a proud member of the New York Journalism Press Club.

Q. How did you get into the field of journalism?
I had this misconstrued perception that majoring in journalism would land me a lucrative writing job at a major tv station. I imagined a career in pursuit of unveiling the evil practices of corrupt politicians-- clearly this was not the case. In 2008, during our economic crisis, many publications and T.V. news stations began to downsize often resulting in layoffs and hiring freezes. I knew it was time to reinvent myself and my career.

I worked for Univision WXTV and PRNewswire but later took the decision to launch my own business: Social Vibes Media. My company provides copywriting content to other businesses in need of content. We produce blogs, press releases, videos, and articles for small businesses.

Q. What do you do besides run a business?
I am an adjunct professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology, Saint Peter’s College, and Hudson County Community College where I teach courses in Composition, Humanities, Political Science, Technical Writing, Speech, and Fiction -- phew! I’m a certified mom, level 1 Krav Maga practitioner, entrepreneur, host, and writer . Here I am today -- wala!

Q. What’s the best part about being a host?
The best part about hosting interviews for my business is that I am constantly learning from other experts. I host a segment in which I interview business owners, medical practitioners, self- made millionaires, and experts in various industries. I think the best part is when I am allowed to ask them the most bizarre and outlandish questions in order to feed my curious mind. Check one out:

Q. How do you reinvent yourself as a Journalism graduate when journalism jobs are scarce?
Recognize that your journalism degree is not a job voucher. Rather, your journalism degree is a set of highly sought after skills needed in many industries and businesses. Your ability to communicate ideas, manipulate words, weave stories together, and organize information in a systematic way is highly valuable to any employer. Focus on these skills and hone in on these skills. These are the skills you have walked away with as a journalism graduate -- these are killer skills that sell at any job interview. We live in a world saturated with information --- some good, some bad -- but we are in need of highly keen communicators that can help us sift through the madness.

Q. What advice do you have for Journalism students?
Join the New York Press Club

Q. Is there such a thing as objective writing?
This is the first myth I debunk for my students during our first week of class. Objective writing does not exists. News reporters, anchors, researchers or historians can only present information based on their experiences. Their choice of words alone dictate the tone, meaning, and connotation of their text. At the end of the day, we are all storytellers. We share information to others in the way that we perceive the information -- subjectively.

Q. What is a good habit to develop if you want to become a better writer?
Read, read, and read. There is no secret to becoming a proficient writer. No one is born a great writer, speaker, or thinker. It is a skill we must exercise everyday if we want that muscle to grow, figuratively speaking. I myself struggled with English at the age of five because my family predominantly spoke Spanish at home. I remember being fascinated and perplexed with the word chaos. I was curios to figure out why such a word is pronounced key-os and not cha-os . It is often an anecdote I like to recall to remind myself that English is not the easiest language to learn , although we somehow made it an undeclared universal mandate to learn.

Q. Secret to a successful life?
The secret to a successful life is to accept that a successful life does not exist. Exuberate in your victories and in your failures. Learn to accept the fact that you will fall and fail -- and that’s o.k. A failure is a moment of growth and examination. Learn from your mistakes and improve on your own setbacks. Thomas Edison experienced 1,000 unsuccessful attempts before inventing the lightbulb. In fact, his teachers thought he was too stupid to learn anything.

Ayodale Savage
Ayodale Savage
Entrepreneurial and artistically inclined

A journalism major at Middlesex College in Connecticut, Ayodale is near the end of her final year there.

Ayodale Savage is a young writer and photographer with her own Internet magazine, SVGE. The magazine serves as an extension of Ayodale's gifts as a photographer and journalist and also features raw, new talent not yet widely known.

Career Background:
Currently a journalism major at Middlesex College in Connecticut, Ayodale is near the end of her final year there. In addition to running SVGE, Ayodale reports and writes for FLOSS magazine.

Q: When did you realize you were a writer?
Probably since the day I picked up a pen and realized I could do something creative with it. Writing is second nature to me. Through school and personal activities, I find myself writing many different types of pieces. Poetry, short stories, magazine articles, and more.

Q: Besides writing, what else do you enjoy?
Sketching and designing clothes for an upcoming collection. I also enjoy my other profession, which is Photography. While I do not have many years of this in my back pocket, I like to think my talent speaks for itself. One thing I have also discovered about myself is that I enjoy full-on entrepreneurship. Building things from the ground up gives me a kind of satisfaction that nothing else does.

Q: Do you have a "Five Year Plan"?
I plan to build-out SVGE into an attractive, successful outlet for creatives. A print edition available on every newsstand and on every residential and business coffee table. I also plan to lauch a clothing collection of my own. Quality over quantity with a loyal base of customers. I plan to publish the work of others but want to be one of the most successful young writers out there!

Q: What creation are you most proud of?
This is very hard to say, being that I am very proud of all my endeavors equally. I must say I am most proud of my magazine. Knowing that I built something out of thin air, and know that people support and pay attention to its success.

Q: What advice would you give other young writers?
Do not write for the approval of others. Write what your heart tells you, and only push through what you know you are proud of. Writing is not something that you MUST do, it is something that is done because you LOVE to do it. Many say that when you're doing something that you love, it isn't called work. Do what you love, and always love what you're doing. THAT is what makes a successful writer, successful.

Jordan Griffith
Jordan Griffith
Sports reporter, color commentator & radio host

Representative of the new wave of young journalists working in media, and joining the New York Press Club.
Career background:
Jordan Griffith, at 25, has covered scholastic sports for MSG Varsity's website and Cablevision channel, has been a host on two radio shows and is the color commentator on TV, radio and the web for the Westchester Knicks of the NBA's D-League. His parents both had long careers in journalism, and he is interviewed here by his father, Joe Griffith, who has been a Press Club member since 1982.

Q: What made you want to become a journalist?
It's interesting because I never really remember actually choosing to be a journalist. I played football and basketball in college, so a lot of my choices on schools came with sports in mind. When it came time to make a decision on a major, I knew I was a strong writer and always enjoyed discussing sports, so I kind of just circled journalism. My parents were both journalists so I was around it and I felt like it was something that combined all of my skills. You could say it was a natural choice and it ended up being one of the best I've ever made. Things just kind of fell in place ever since.

Q: Back in my day, reporters, photographers and video journalists all did separate jobs. Today, the same person must do all that and more. Do you find that multitasking easy or difficult? Which do you like best?
I find multitasking quite easy actually, because it keeps everything fresh. In a typical week, I usually physically videotape a game or two (or five), call a game on a broadcast, write game stories, previews and articles, speak on radio shows and do analysis on video, in addition to maintaining my Twitter feed.

Many of those things, I do at the same time, for the same game. It sounds like a lot, but for me, someone with a wandering mind, it forces me to build structure. Because I'm doing multiple things at once, I find myself not wasting time and it honestly ends up making my work better. The more I do things, the more comfortable I get with them and the easier it is to tell the story.

It's a bit like playing sports actually, because you're reading and reacting to everything that happens. For me personally, that pressure makes me perform better.

Q: What has been the most exciting story you've covered?
I've seen some pretty astounding stuff over the last few years, but nothing tops "The Shot" by New Rochelle High School's Khalil Edney to beat Mount Vernon in the 2013 Section 1 Class AA basketball championship.

Mount Vernon, a national powerhouse, was the clear favorite facing off against New Rochelle, one of several programs in the area that were always good, but always lost to Mount Vernon. New Rochelle trailed by 10 with two minutes remaining, but capped off the stunning comeback with a 70-foot heave by Edney as time expired.

The play instantly went viral and was shown less than three hours later on every major network in the United States. I was working the stream and did interviews after and to see our footage on every TV station that evening was a special moment.

Q: What's worse – watching a boring game in a warm gym or an exciting game on a sub-freezing football field?
Despite the cold, I'd take an exciting game over a boring one any day of the week. There really is nothing like watching a great finish or a spectacular performance, no matter what the sport. We all complain when we wake up in the morning and see that temperature, but some of the best games I've seen have come in the worst weather.

And if you're wondering, the press box is for the weak.

Q: You played high school basketball with some guys who are now in the NBA's D-League. As a commentator for the Westchester Knicks, you may be reporting on players who are your personal friends. When they have a bad game, how do you report it objectively and maintain your friendship?
I won't be directly covering either of my friends this season unless they make the championship, but if I did, they'd understand the balance that needs to be there between my personal life and professional life. I don't think it's wrong (in sports) to become friendly with some of the people you cover; in fact, it can make you a bit better at your job. But they must always know that when it comes to your profession, you will report the facts and any story that comes along.

If you're honest, clear and concise about what you're doing, people understand. They may not always agree, but they understand and most of the time, respect you even more. There should be no difference between your personality when it comes to your professional and personal lives. If you are respectful and honest when it comes to your profession, people will have respect for you personally.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your career? What's your ultimate goal?
I literally have no idea. One day I would like to be an analyst for the NBA, but it's not what I would call an ultimate goal. I think I'll always be around sport, but in terms of a career, I am pretty open and progressive. I just want to be able to sit down in the future and have a story to tell.

Q: I joined the club almost 33 years ago, and in that time I've seen many changes in journalism and how news is gathered and disseminated. How do you think it may change by the time you're at my stage of the game?
I think that there are still a few significant developments/discoveries that will come along, but that we're pretty close to peaking in terms of the ways news is delivered. If something newsworthy happens right now, you can search within seconds and likely find out some sort of information on it.

There is always going to be a natural buffer on information spreading, so any more immediate is a bit unrealistic. I imagine one day we could have information floating in the air around us or accessible by some sort of implant (I wish this was a joke), but in terms of speed and accessibility, I think we're pretty close.

Hopefully, that means that newsgathering will eventually shift to higher quality content in a faster amount of time, but either way, I think the major (print, radio, television, mobile) breakthroughs have all come. Even if we were able to, say, teleport one day, how much faster can and accessible can we get than in your pocket within minutes?

Q: OK, thanks for putting down your phone long enough to answer these questions. Last one: How much is this publicity going to cost me?
How much ya got?

Sofia Villa
Sofia Villa
News and economics freelancer

Award-winner reporting mostly economic news in North and South America.

Freelance news and economics reporter Sofia Villa is a link between New York's Hispanic community and the wider world of Latin American and South American affairs.

Sofia's contributions have have appeared on NY1 Noticias and Caracol Radio in New York City, El Especialito in New York, New Jersey and Florida, and on various other Spanish-language outlets. Sofia's focus is usually on economics. She is twice winner of journalism awards in Medellín, Colombia, for economics research and reporting.
Bob Lemoullec
Bob LeMoullec
Reporter and author of
"The Newsroom Confessions"

Bob joined the New Yor Press Club in 2010.
A seasoned and established newsman, Bob LeMoullec gives a no holds barred look at what it's really like to work in a small market radio newsroom at the beginning of one's career in his book, "The Newsroom Confessions". To newbies, don't even think of going into the business without first reading this highly accurate and salty page turner.

GRAPHICThis New York Press Club member began his radio journey full-time at WRKL-AM where he became News Director. He also worked on the air at a number of stations, including WRNW-FM, WFAS-AM and FM, WLNA-AM and WHUD-FM. He did freelance reporting at the Associated Press, UPI, ABC Radio networks, WNBC-AM, WABC-AM and The New York Post before moving on to all news 1010 WINS in New York City where he worked as a writer, editor and street reporter. Bob is currently teaching broadcast writing at SUNY Rockland.
Fr. Matthew Malone, S.J.
Editor in chief of America magazine

Fr. Malone succeeds Fr. Joseph O'Hare, now retired, as a spiritual advisor to the New York Press Club.
Career background:
Father Malone is the 14th and youngest editor in chief of the Catholic weekly, America magazine. He entered the Society of Jesus in 2002 and was ordained a priest in 2012. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and holds a M.A. from Fordham University; a Bachelor of Divinity from The University of London, and a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology from the Catholic University of Louvain.

Prior to joining the Jesuits, Fr. Matt served as the founding deputy director of MassINC, an independent political think tank, and co-publisher of an award-winning review of politics, ideas and civic life. His writing has appeared in numerous national and international publications and his work and ideas have been featured in The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others.

Fr. Malone is a member of the pastoral teams at the Parish of Saints John and Paul in Larchmont, N.Y., the Church of Saint Francis Xavier in Manhattan and the Cathedral of Saint Patrick.

Q: How does your life prior to joining the Jesuits contribute to your current work?
I spent ten years working in politics prior to joining the Society of Jesus, first as a campaign and congressional aide and then as one of the co-founders of a political think tank based in Boston. America magazine has multiple, overlapping constituencies and interests. In managing these relationships, my background in politics is hugely helpful.

Q: What made you want to be a journalist? How do you see the field evolving?
I understand my vocation more as a priest who happens to work in journalism rather than a journalist who happens to be a priest. I wanted to work in journalism as a priest because the Jesuits have a long tradition of helping to lead the public conversation about faith and culture. Journalism is one of the ways in which we do that.

Q: What do you consider to be the mission of America magazine?
America is a smart, Catholic take on faith and culture. Our mission is to lead the conversation about faith and culture by providing content that is excellent, unique, relevant and accessible, content that makes a credible presentation of the Catholic faith in the public sphere and supports the progress of civil society.

Q: How do you decide what topics to cover in the magazine? Is anything off limits?
Nothing is off limits, though how we cover a given topic often requires a lot of inventive thinking and planning.

Q: What is most challenging about your position?
The most challenging part of my job is leading a 100-year-old organization as it makes a transition from an exclusive print mindset, to a mindset in which we are producing content across multiple platforms, one of which is print.

Q: What would you like to accomplish at America?
I would like to accomplish the goal identified in question 5.

Q: What are the demographics of your readership?
Our readers are highly educated and faithful Catholics and engaged citizens.

Q: Do you use social media at the magazine? Has it had an impact?
Yes, and it has had a dramatic impact on the work of the magazine, along the lines of other media organizations.

Q: What have you learned from your position at America?
The importance of perception in managing the transition.

Q: Do you have any advice for young journalists just getting started?
Write something every day.

Liz Willen
Liz Willen
Editor of The Hechinger Report

Having been on the education beat for most of her career, Liz Willen now is editor of The Hechinger Report and director of The Hechinger Institute. The veteran journalist seeks to produce in-depth coverage on what's happening inside America's classrooms and strives to share the collective reporting of her tenacious editorial team with various news and education outlets here in New York and beyond.
Career background:
A graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Liz spent much of her career covering the New York City public school system for Newsday. She is also a former senior writer at Bloomberg Markets Magazine where she focused on higher education. Among her awards for education reporting, while at Bloomberg, she and two colleagues shared a 2005 George Polk Award for health reporting. Here, Liz talks about The Hechinger Report, both her job and passion-project.

Q: How does The Report reach an audience greater than its online readers?
Our stories are pitched to an array of newspapers, websites, magazines, and radio stations throughout the country where we’ve developed partnerships or collaborations. Sometimes we work alongside reporters at other news organizations, and sometimes they simply publish our work. All stories also appear on our website.

Q: How is the website funded?
We are grateful to be funded by numerous foundations, philanthropies, and individuals. A list of supporters can be found on our website.

Q: As the editor and face of The Report, do you travel often to speak on behalf of the organization and education itself?
Absolutely. I enjoy moderating panels and like to attend a broad range of events because there’s always so much to learn about education. As a journalist, I don’t express personal opinions, but I love to listen to and encourage conversations that showcase a variety of views and voices.

Q: Where did you get your start in journalism?
I’m a proud graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and I’ve worked small and medium-sized newspapers over the years, learning the basics of covering a beat. There is no better training, and no better beat than education.

Q: What do you find most challenging about your current position? And what would you like to accomplish at The Hechinger Report?
The constant need to raise funds is among the biggest challenges that any nonprofit news organization faces, especially those like The Hechinger Report, without an endowment or a way to raise revenue. We have a tiny staff, and I’m amazed at how much we’ve produced and accomplished in a short time. We’d love to do more — to reach more audiences, work with more collaborators, and cover additional education issues in more geographic locations. Quality work, however, requires a great deal of time and effort. For example, we want to increase our capacity to utilize data, to do large-scale investigative projects. One of our staff writers, Sarah Butrymowicz (who won the New York Press Club’s Nellie Bly Cub Reporter award in 2012), is being trained now in these areas, but she’s also in the middle of at least half a dozen stories. We also want to continue writing the in-depth, long-form, narrative-style pieces that have already won us considerable attention, including the work of Sara Neufeld with the New Jersey Spotlight and Sarah Garland on the website of The Atlantic.

I’m also proud of our project called Mississippi Learning, which looks at the many roadblocks young people face in the Magnolia State. Mississippi has the highest rate of childhood poverty in the country, a sad legacy of racism and segregation and some of the lowest standardized test scores; we won a New York Press Club award for the first year of the series. In the coming weeks, Jackie Mader, who trained first-year teachers in the Mississippi Delta before attending Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, will be moving to Mississippi full-time to spearhead that coverage. There is a huge education story to tell in Mississippi, and I’d love to have an entire team there. And there are so many other areas of the country we’d like to explore. But it is a challenge: as our coverage has grown, our infrastructure has not, and that’s always a tension. We are fortunate to get back office support and assistance in many areas from Teachers College, and we benefit greatly in many ways from being located here. Still, everyone juggles a lot. Also, I have less time than I’d like to write and report myself, which I miss. It’s really important to be in classrooms and visiting schools around the U.S. to really understand what is — and isn’t happening — in education.

Q: When did you become a member of the New York Press Club?
So many years ago I don’t remember! I always enjoy the awards ceremonies, and the chance to catch up with so many former colleagues in New York. It’s great to have a forum to get members together.

Liz is a decade-long resident of Brooklyn's Dumbo neighborhood, and a bike commuter to Columbia University. She is also a New York City public-school parent, and in her spare time she writes a blog called High School Hustle for a website that gives tips to parents trying to navigate the mammoth system.

For more on The Hechinger Report, sign up for their weekly newsletter and follow The Report on Twitter @hechingerreport.
Althea Chang
Althea Chang
Research Analyst and Producer at CNBC

In this ever-changing media landscape, Althea Chang has embarked on a new frontier in the profession: data-driven journalism. After 10 years of covering financial news both in print and online, Althea is now a research analyst and producer for CNBC’s daily digital program, "Big Data Download.” There, she covers stories using data sets that run the gamut from stable jobs in the U.S. to the best beers.
Career background:
Having worked in business journalism as a researcher and reporter for almost a decade, Althea decided to further her skills by attending graduate school. As a student at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism, she gleaned a new enterprising skill set: producing, shooting, and editing for both video and radio. Her J-school decision paid off: Althea is a sought-after multimedia journalist currently covering big data for CNBC. Read on to learn more about this Press Club member and her views on journalism today.

Q: Why did you want to become a journalist, and where did you get your start?
I've loved writing since I was at least eight years old. That's when I started journaling. In middle school, I realized that journalism was a career path that could allow me to write, do a public service and even make money. I started writing for various sites in college in the late 1990s. After college, I wrote and edited for an Asian-American quarterly called Hyphen magazine. But my introduction to business journalism was as a researcher at Barron's, where I learned from seasoned mentors who help shape financial news coverage and influence investors.

Q: What brought you to your current position?
I currently cover big data for “Big Data Download,” a web program at CNBC produced in partnership with Yahoo! Finance. After about 10 years of reporting for print and the Web, I realized that I could soon be bypassed by younger journalists with more multimedia skills than I had. So I decided to go to grad school. At the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, I learned how to produce, shoot, and edit my own video and radio stories and operate as a one-woman band. My current position as a research analyst and producer at CNBC leverages my research experience, writing skills, and news judgment, and adds to my arsenal of broadcast script writing and control room experience.

Q: You’re a multimedia journalist — explain to us what that is.
To me, a multimedia journalist incorporates the written word with video, audio, or interactive graphics. It requires an eye and ear for different types of storytelling.

Q: How did you learn to shoot videos? And what goes into shooting and editing a video?
I learned to shoot video in grad school, in an all-digital environment. I spent most of my time using a DSLR and a Marantz audio recorder. I edited in Final Cut Pro 7 and X. From my previous work in print, I've been proud of the fact that I'm effective and efficient under deadline pressure, but video deadlines are a different world for me. The amount of work that can go into editing a video is amazing. But as I learned, I got faster and realized that the way I decide to cut video and audio and weave them together allows me to use a whole new kind of creativity which I love.

Q: Do you prefer telling storytelling via video?
Often I do prefer using media other than print to tell a story. I actually enjoy producing radio pieces the most because it's a challenge. It relies on rich ambient sound along with interviews to tell a story. And to me, sometimes sound can be more immersive than video. And I love audio editing. Editing in Pro Tools and playing through a well-produced session is so gratifying. But I wouldn't want to leave print reporting in my past. I feel like it's a part of who I am.

Q: What's your fondest moment as a journalist, so far?
In 2005, at the beginning of my first full-time reporting job, I covered the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. I'd done some research for my mentor, a biotech reporter, years earlier, but being a reporter covering cancer drugs from that kind of conference was like taking a language immersion course. And from what I remember, I wrote 25 posts in just a few days. Especially when I was younger, it was nice to be recognized for good work.

Q: What has been your best interview?
My "best" interview may have been with Montel Williams. But I'm pretty sure it wasn't his!

Q: How has the newsgathering process changed since you started out in the field?
I made a lot more calls when I started. And lead times were longer. Now a lot of sources would rather communicate by email and deadlines are immediate.

Q: What advice would you give a young reporter?
Don't be afraid to feel silly. Report on things you care about, even if you don't know yet who you can sell it to. Be versatile. One of my college professors told our class that journalists don't always feel completely confident in what they're doing until they're in their 30s. I think it was true for me, but I never let it discourage me.

Q: What are your daily reads? How do you get your news?
My daily read is actually a podcast. I listen to the Wall Street Journal podcast using the Audible app on my Android phone. Besides that, I use Facebook and Twitter. Since most of my friends and the people I follow are journalists, social media is a good way for me to gauge what people I respect are paying attention to.

Q: What's your guilty read/pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is definitely self-help audiobooks. Setting the cheesy self-affirmations aside, they do really offer some insight in how to improve in everything that I do.

Q: As a journalist, what are you looking forward to in the not-too-distant future?
I'm looking forward to having more influence on the way that journalism evolves. The Web and mobile news are the future and that's where I plan to be.

Q: What is it that keeps you going in this profession?
I want to be involved in how journalism evolves. And I value being able to both learn and help people for a living.

Althea lives in Brooklyn and is a self-professed mixed martial arts, car, and food fan. Visit her website to see her work, and follow Althea on Twitter @theabug.
Melanie Gray
Melanie Gray
Editorial Development Director, The Real Deal

In a city where real estate is king, where rent-stabilized apartments are coveted rarities, journalist Mel Gray has parlayed 30-plus years of news gravitas into her role as editorial development director at The Real Deal, a New York City source for news about what's happening in real estate. Mel joined the Press Club to socialize with colleagues and to meet journalists in her field.
Career background:
Nebraska's Lincoln Journal covering death and weather — that's where it all began for Mel the Monday after she graduated from college. Since then she has moved to many parts of the country to cover myriad subjects and honed her news-gathering skills as both reporter and editor. Get to know more about Mel below in our Q&A, below.

Q: What made you want to be a journalist?
It really wasn't what. It was who: Walter Cronkite. I grew up in Nebraska during the 1960s, long before cable. The CBS affiliate was the only station we could get out in the boondocks. After the broadcast, we would talk about the big story at the supper table. Current events played a big role in our lives — the evening news, Time, Life, National Geographic, the Lincoln Journal, and the Omaha World-Herald

Q: In your career, where has your job as an editor and writer taken you?
I spent 15 years at the Kansas City Star. Then, I hit 40 and decided to move around. Are you ready? Knight-Ridder Tribune News Service in Washington, AP's national desk here in New York, the Montgomery Advertiser in Alabama, Air Force Times in D.C., and back to New York again for a stint at The Daily (the iPad news app that folded in December) and now The Real Deal.

Q: What brought you to the Air Force Times?
Truthfully, layoffs. I was managing editor of the Advertiser, a Gannett property, and I had laid off almost a dozen journalists. I looked around and thought: "A newsroom this size doesn't need two well-paid editors." So, I decided to look around. The jump to Air Force Times was a transfer.

Q: And your position now at The Real Deal: How do you bring everything you’ve learned through the years into a publication focusing on real estate?
Solid reporting and editing are the same whether your audience is airmen or developers. Of course, there's a learning curve, but the basics of good journalism and management are the same. Get the facts, get them right, be fast about it, and respect your colleagues and your readers.

Q: What was your greatest lesson in the newsroom?
Training is everything. If you want reporters and editors to succeed, you have to set them up for success. Explain the goal, how to achieve it, and provide the tools. Show your support and give your team the credit. They deserve it.

Q: Who was your best interview?
All the regular people ... their stories are the best. Like the airman who was away from her kids for three years because of back-to-back deployments. A high-profile person would be Gen. Norton Schwartz, when he was chief of staff of the Air Force. He's a really decent guy.

Q: Who would be your dream interview?
You know, there's not anybody living who I want to talk with. They really have very little interesting left to say. I take that back: I'd like to have a conversation with Bill Clinton, not an interview, though. And, I'd love to turn back the clock and sit down with Martin Luther King.

Q: From the time you started in media, how has the profession changed? And, has it changed for the better?
Wow, where to start. Digital platforms, of course, are the obvious biggies. And, on the whole, the changes have been for the better. One example: media companies giving readers greater access to public records through searchable databases.

Q: What has this profession taught you? And what advice would you give a budding journalist?
I could say lots of things — that journalism has taught me to be tougher, to think on my feet, to take the initiative — and they all would be true. But the most important lesson I've learned in these last 30 years: how to be more compassionate. You aren't human if you don't feel something when you see a soldier come home from Afghanistan without his legs or poor kids in Alabama's Black Belt so hungry that they eat dirt. I can't tell their stories if I don't care about them. Once I figured that out, I became a better reporter — and a better person.

Q: Being a New York transplant, how do you view media here? Is it different than other placed you’ve worked? And how has your experience been so far?
Oh, who doesn't love a bikini-clad babe on Page 3 every morning? It's a tabloid town. The stories are pretty much the same as everywhere else, they're just put out there in a much more sensational way. Now, before I get any nasty-grams, there are lots of outlets out there that play it straight. The beauty of New York is its brashness and its variety. As for my experience, I've never worked with better folks — at AP, The Daily, and now The Real Deal.

Q: Which New York-related story or stories have impressed you most?
WNYC's coverage of Hurricane Sandy. A disclosure: I'm a sustaining member of the station. I'm a huge fan of WNET, Channel 13.

Q: What are you daily reads, and how do you get your news?
The Times, the Post, and the Daily News (two crossword puzzles!). I'm also a fan of Channel 4's 11 o'clock news and I'm a C-SPAN junkie.

Q: Are you in favor of social media? (And, if you think so, in what ways has the profession regressed because of it?)
Yes, I'm in favor of social media because it's here and it's not going away. I do think that we sometimes tweet and post silly stuff. But some editor probably said the same thing about the printing press.

Q: What made you want to join the New York Press Club? Why is it important to socialize with fellow journalists and professionals?
There are two big reasons to socialize with your colleagues: First, you learn from each other by shooting the breeze, talking about what worked and what didn't, what you would do differently next time; secondly, you need to network. I speak from experience: You never know when you're going to need a job.

Q: Being a judge for this year’s Press Club Journalism Awards, what are you hoping to see? What basics in good journalism will make you take notice?
I want to see stories that connect with readers, that show them why they should care, and why the issue is important to them. We all know what the basics are; sadly, too many of us aren't using them like we should. The winners will be the stories that are reported out, that have context, that are well written.

Q: What's your favorite thing to do in New York when you have a day off from your busy job?
A long walk in Central Park, then go inside all the tourist traps up and down Seventh Avenue.

For Mel, the best thing about living in Flushing, Queens — besides being able to drive and afford to park — is all the different kinds of people. And to decompress from work, Mel loves the challenge of a Will Shortz crossword puzzle or swimming laps at her local pool.
Mike Clendenin
Michael Clendenin
Media Relations Director, Con Edison, Inc.

When the lights go out, Con Edison spokesman Michael Clendenin will quickly get word out about what's being done to fix the problem. Michael has been with Con Edison for 13 years, a driving force in interacting with the media and public on a daily basis. His roots are in journalism though, and he makes time in his busy schedule to attend regular New York Press Club events where he catches up with colleagues and friends.
Career background:
As a journalism student at Northeastern University, Michael did what he calls "the usual" — writing for the student newspaper and yearbook. He also had co-op experiences with the Gannett newspapers in Westchester County and the Quincy Patriot Ledger just outside of Boston. Working for both, Michael received all the basic training of an emerging reporter, everything from listening to police scanners and chasing accidents and fires, to covering town halls and writing feature stories. Graduating in 1982, primed as a reporter, Michael worked for three years on the assignment desk at WEEI-AM — then the all-news CBS radio station in Boston. He says he learned quickly about the excitement and fear of having to fill “empty air” with news every hour of every day. But soon after, public relations piqued his interest... Read on to find out why, and Michael's rules for communicating with the press.

Q: What made you go into media relations?
After a few years [as a journalist], I made the switch to public relations. I did it for a few different reasons, but mostly I was intrigued about learning issues on the “other side” of the fence. I wanted to learn how decisions were made behind the scenes. I still used the same skills I learned in journalism, just from a slightly different vantage point. Whether you’re a journalist or PR person, I think we’re all inherently curious about everything.

Q: When did you start at Con Edison?
In 2000, after 10 years at City Hall working for the New York City Council Speaker in the press office.

Q: And, how did you parlay your journalistic skills into media relations?
I think the skills I learned to become a journalist are the same I use in my current job. I have to write well, ask a lot of questions, be accurate, gather all the facts to the best of my ability, and be comfortable working fast.

Q: Describe a typical day in ConEd media relations.
My staff and I will pour through the day’s news, be prepared to react to any breaking news involving our company or employees, try to find some interesting stories we can pitch, and work on issues we know are looming in the days, weeks, and months ahead. These projects can involve many phone calls, meetings, and emails with engineers, in-house experts, consultants, and other key personnel. Our job is to look at every issue, no matter how complicated, anticipate questions the media will ask, and boil it all down to simple, easy to understand language for the public.

Q: What are the most important rules in communicating with the press? The public?
Be straight, be accurate, and promise to always get back to them if you don’t know the answer to something. And if your information turns out to be wrong, say so and correct it as soon as you can.

Q: How well did you think ConEd communicated with the press during Hurricane Sandy?
I’ll leave it to the press to judge how well we communicated with them during Sandy. I’d like to think my staff and I did a good job getting information out constantly, being available for interviews around the clock, making engineers and other experts available whenever they were needed, and opening up our response and restoration efforts to media scrutiny. Some of my staff members are former journalists themselves, and know what reporters need and understand deadline pressures. We made a concerted effort to let the media cover Con Edison’s work “from the inside-out.” We brought the media into our control room, to staging areas, and tent cities where we were housing and dispatching out-of-state crews, substations, and we provided opportunities to interview key Con Edison personnel. We issued at least two press releases a day to keep the news desks updated on service restorations, daily tele-conference news briefings, and we used social media to a huge extent, growing our Twitter handle from 6,000 followers to nearly 30,000.

Q: How important is social media to you? Is it an effective tool in communicating with news organizations and New Yorkers?
Social media has been very effective in allowing us to hear what customers are saying about us, or what they’re hearing from friends and news reports, while also giving them another way to reach us. Social media also allows us to deliver our messages and information directly to our customers, and I think its growth and popularity has been a good thing for all of us. Like any communications tool, it needs to be respected and used appropriately. And I don’t see it replacing traditional media — it’s more like another means of reaching people and hearing what they have to say.

Q: How did you become involved with the New York Press Club? Do you think it's important for a club like the Press Club to exist for journalists and media professionals?
I’ve been a member of the Press Club since joining a public relations firm in New York in the mid-80s, but I was going to their events well before that. I used to tag along with my dad, who was in the business — both as an editor for the Daily News and in public relations for New York Telephone (yes, way before it was Verizon and when cell phones were just an idea). The Press Club is an important organization, with a long, great tradition, that can help nurture aspiring journalists or other media types like me. I try to attend all the conferences to learn what’s happening in the business, and where it might be going — even if no one really knows. For anyone starting out, I’d highly recommend joining just to see what opportunities might be out there for insatiably curious writers or video professionals.

Q: What have been some stand-out Press Club events?
I took a lot away from a talk Bob Schieffer gave one year, particularly about the tough challenges news organizations face turning a profit with their work when the internet has made information basically free and easy to find. And I always enjoy the annual Journalism Awards dinner and holiday party.

Q: Describe New York in one word:

A resident of Hollis Hills, Queens, Michael is a budding amateur photographer and he's also into sports. Every so often he plays basketball pick-up games, and he likes to golf, even though his job doesn’t afford him much links time. Michael's also an ardent Mets fan who "still lives for miracles."
Larry Seary
Larry Seary
President of the New York Press Club

Larry captured history for NBC News where he worked as a videographer inside and outside the newsroom. Now, he's stepped out from behind the lens and is at the helm of the New York Press Club, where he's been a longtime member. In addition to quotidian duties like member benefits and driving membership, Larry is focused on aligning the club with journalism's digital age.
Career background:
Everyone has a story about why they went into journalism. For Larry, it was because he wanted to "tell a story." His early impressions of the power of journalism were formed watching "NBC White Papers"—occasional documentaries aired in the 60's and 70's portraying current events and social issues. As a teen, Larry had been shooting stills, developing and printing them, and he became interested in videography while at New York University's film school.

After college, he worked on a few industrial films and then, in 1974, he was hired by NBC when WNBC expanded its newcasts and the network progressed to video shooting. His tenure at NBC gave him opportunities to move from the street to the bustling newsroom and he picked up a few prestigious Emmy Awards in 1978 and twice in 2003 for his stories. In 1994, Larry won a New York Press Club Award and thus began his affiliation with the New York metropolitan area journalism club. He served as a vice president for nine years before assuming the post as president in 2012.

Q: How did you become affiliated with the New York Press Club?
Just as I joined the TV Academy after being awarded an Emmy, I joined the Press Club after receiving an award. I felt I should, and it was a great choice. The talents and caliber of our members is humbling.

Q: As president of the Press Club, what do you want to accomplish most and in 2013?
I would like to see more members, as we are advocates for their profession. As well, I would prefer more involvement and support from the newsroom executives to help us protect their journalists from the increased government pressures and restrictions. I'm concerned that newly arrived reporters view ambivalent or even hostile treatment by some government agencies as the way it is. It wasn't, and shouldn't be, especially if the public is affected.

I also yearn for more involvement by younger members, as I'm only passing through. The club will celebrate its 65th anniversary in 2013. I'm fortunate that I'm riding on the coattails of those past presidents and a consulting director who have made it all easy.

We've moved ahead recently with scholarships. We've partnered with the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and the Poynter Institute's NewsU to allow our members discounts for online professional development. The courses would look great on any résumé, and, because of a Knight Foundation grant, they're really inexpensive.

Q: Are there any special challenges you are tackling in positioning the Press Club in journalism's digital age?
We need to have more involvement with those in digital and we must offer members any professional development possible to enhance their skills to ensure their voices are heard. They have the experience and having them to adapt to any new applications will guarantee their skills and talents are not lost.

Q: What's the value proposition you give when promoting Press Club membership to younger journalists?
We have to give opportunity to grow in the profession through training, to have the chance to meet seasoned reporters, to know that we are their advocates and to have a good time.

Q: How has "citizen journalism" impacted the profession of journalism?
It's creating a golden age for journalism—look at the Arab Spring, and, recently, the Lance Armstrong story. Citizen journalists using Twitter and blogs advanced the story while the "traditional" media held back. We still need editors and "shoe leather" to fact-check. Just look at the story about the New York Stock Exchange being flooded because of Hurricane Sandy. Someone tweeted it, and CNN and the Washington Post reported it—without checking the accuracy.

My best source of citizen journalism is It's impressive, and I recommend it, along with (undergoing maintenance at this writing), the Knight Community News Network, which offers learning tools for citizen journalists, embracing fairness, accuracy and context. Both embrace the ethics which builds trust and credibility. It's vital to our society to have the enthusiasm which will protect us from apathy and indifference. We'll have an Ida Tarbell or Jacob Riis rise from citizen journalism. Really, it's not much different than when, as a little boy in the Bronx, Gabe Pressman updated the World Series scores on sheets of paper in an apartment window for passersby to see.

Q: Has the job of professional news shooter been impacted by the proliferation of cell phone video cameras?
Not much of an impact. The footage may significantly add to your story, if someone else shot it and the cell phone footage advances your piece. But there is a cinematic language to being able to tell a story, which a cell phone camera cannot easily speak. That being said, since I've moved from film to tape to digital, it's still basically a box with a lens—a tool. It's how one tells the story, not the recording mechanism which does it.

Q: If you were starting your career as a news shooter today, how would you proceed?
Learn the basic cinematic language to allow you to tell the story, allow the sound and sound bites to enhance, know how to write well and simply and embrace the platforms available so you can reach as many as possible.

Q: And if today you were starting your career as a TV reporter?
The craft can be easily learned: just tell the story. Allow the subjects, the video, the audio, to work for you. Aside from writing skills, embrace history. Be wary.

Q: Any advice to young, hungry videographers?
Be able to adapt; change is the only constant in the business. Embrace any way you can tell a story. There are more jobs out there now than when I started. When I was hired at NBC in 1974, there were only three networks and a few local stations—no CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and certainly no internet access. There are more avenues to allow your audience to experience your work.

Q: What was one of the highlights of your career?
There've been many, but one I laugh about is when I slept overnight at the White House—not the Lincoln Bedroom, but a couch in the press briefing room, when Carter was leaving office and Reagan was to be sworn in. The hostages in Iran were about to be finally released, and we waited a long time—throughout the night—for that to happen.

Q: What are your daily reads?
I get the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Daily News delivered at home, but online, I have the Irish Times, the Guardian and Business Insider, which is a fabulous Web site, not strictly business-related, despite the name. Like The Week, it aggregates.

Q: Do you own an iPad or do you prefer an old-fashioned paper? And what do you think of news moving to this digital platform?
I own an iPad, am overly attached to it, and, because I'm a print subscriber to the Times, The Week and TIME, download the issues as well. But I generally prefer holding paper, including books, but I have Overdrive on my iPad, so when I went on vacation recently, I had books to read. It's much easier to access news online—my Associate Press mobile app is incredible.

Q: Be honest: Which part of a newspaper do you enjoy most?
The local news ... the Wall Street Journal started a Greater New York section at the same time the New York Times folded its coverage into the A section.

Q: Is it true that you once brought an authentic New York City hot dog cart to a Press Club event about baseball?
Yes, but I wasn't allowed to fire it up. Nathan's lent the cart, donated the hot dogs, and we heated them in the kitchen and served them from the cart. It was a lot of fun, which we want the Press Club events to be.

Aside from his busy daily schedule and Press Club duties, the Beechhurst, Queens, resident can be found his the kitchen where he likes to cook, not bake (he refuses, in fact, as he says one can't alter recipes as one can easily do when cooking). He often uses, when in-season, fresh herbs from his garden.

Barbara Nevins Taylor
Barbara Nevins Taylor
Investigative reporter

A veteran in the business with scores of Emmys and prestigious journalism honors (including New York Press Club Awards) for her investigative reporting, Barbara recently launched, a website brimming with articles, expert advice and videos focused on financial issues.
Career background:
It was 1974 when New York native Barbara Nevins Taylor began her career as a TV reporter at WHNT-TV in Huntsville, Alabama, followed by a stint as an anchor and reporter at WKYT-TV in Lexington, Kentucky. With her growing resume and TV presence, Barbara soon became a chief political correspondent at WAGA-TV in Atlanta where she stayed for eight years. There, she covered politics and the state legislature, all the while honing her reporting skills.

But home was calling and eventually Barbara returned to New York. She became a correspondent for WCBS-TV, well-regarded for her in-depth reporting. After WCBS, she spent time at CNBC but missed working as a local news reporter. She found a place at Channel 9, and then at WNYW-TV Fox 5 as an investigative reporter.

Barbara is now busy with, which she founded. She is Jack Newfield Visiting Professor at Hunter College, teaching investigative reporting. She's also in the adjunct journalism ranks at both Brooklyn College and Hofstra University. Barbara is co-author of the book, "Beautiful Skin of Color," which evolved from her reporting at New York’s My9 TV and she pens travelogues from her adventures near and far.

Q: What made you want to be a journalist?
My dad, Zeke Segal, was a journalist. As a TV reporter in 1961 Miami, he broke the story that Marines were training Cuban ex-patriots in the Everglades to invade Cuba and overthrow Castro. Later, he became a news executive at CBS. So, I grew up reading newspapers, watching the news on TV and talking about the news. At first I resisted going into TV journalism, which seemed like the family business. And then I realized I wanted to be a TV reporter. My dad helped me put together a sample reel, which he said wasn't very good. But I wasn't discouraged, and I sent it out again and again. Rejections piled up. But I kept at it and got a job about a year after I sent out my first letter.

Q: What was your very first reporting job?
A news director in Huntsville, Alabama, took a gamble on me. It was the first time that I would live outside of New York City and it was a giant leap. I loaded up a rental car with whatever fit, and drove south. Everything seemed exotic to me and for the Alabamians, I was "that Yankee reporter from New York." It was an interesting place to start a reporting career, and I loved it. I joked I would have paid them to let me work at WHNT-TV. I won my first Associated Press award there for a story about a bootlegger named Dewitt Dawson whom locals feared. He talked candidly to me about his wealth. After the story aired, Dawson was arrested and convicted for tax evasion. The experience brought home the power of journalism and the importance of reporting stories that make a difference in a community.

Q: How long did it take you to get back to New York?
When I started my TV-reporting odyssey, I dreamed about coming home to work for WCBS-TV. But it took me ten years to work my way back to New York. I felt lucky when they hired me. It's great to report in your hometown, and the exciting stories, as you know, are the bonus.

For starters, I was one of the first reporters on the scene after "Boss of Bosses" Paul Castellano was killed. Suddenly, I was a Mafia expert and assigned to cover a series of Mafia trials. I reported on the comings and goings of John Gotti and his crew. But during that period in the '80s, we were having a homeless crisis and crack epidemic in New York and this was where my heart led me. And when we discovered that the city was keeping babies born to crack mothers in hospital nurseries for months and in some cases more than a year, it was a story that I had to report and stay on. While I covered other stories, I continued to follow the problems of children who live in poverty in New York. My curiosity brought me to a story about a boy who my huband and I fostered and who changed our lives.

Q: What are the best stories, so far, of your career?
People always ask that, and to me, the last one is always the best and the most interesting. While I was at Channel 9 in the '90s, I began to report about fraud in the FHA's mortgage program. I was astounded at the ease with which scammers tricked homebuyers and defrauded the banks. Ultimately, a congressional hearing was based partially on my reporting and that was a big deal to me.

I also began to report about white-collar criminals who offered to fulfill people's dreams and ultimately destroyed them. At Channel 9 and later at FOX 5, I reported stories that exposed bad actors and these reports provoked law enforcement officials to take action. A number of those exposed for Medicaid fraud, medical abuse, banking and immigration frauds ended up in prison. That kind of reporting ultimately led me to create where we provide a resource for people to help them avoid making bad decisions. But more about that later….

Q: What was your most trying experience as a journalist?
For a lot of us in New York, 9/11 became a turning point. I live downtown and my house shook when the planes flew low over Sixth Avenue on their way to the towers. When I heard what happened, I put on a pair of sneakers, filled a book bag with what I'd need, and asked my husband to walk with me. We walked against a sea of people trying to get as far away as possible. I understood why they fled. But I also understood that I was impelled to go to the scene of this unthinkable horror. I am a journalist by instinct as well as by training, and this was the worst day of my reporting career. The days that followed were also tough. We had set up our live truck on the West Side Highway near Christopher Street and people stopped to talk to us on their way to try to find their loved ones, or to work at Ground Zero, or on the way out of the makeshift morgue. People stood with me as I held a microphone and let them tell their stories live. Most still stay with me.

Q: How do you get your ideas for stories? What interests you most?
I'm interested in a lot of things, so I have to be disciplined about what I choose to spend my time on. Like a lot of reporters, I had a tendency to want to do everything. It never occurred to me to be more selective until Steve Wasserman, a news director at WCBS-TV at the time (and now vice president and general manager of WPTV in West Palm Beach, Fla.), pointed out that you can't do everything—you have to make a choice. I'm forever grateful for that advice.

Q: You write for many outlets, and in all forms. How do you keep up that momentum? And since you're always busy on a new project, how do you keep yourself organized?
For a while, I was writing for print as well as reporting on TV. But I felt too scattered and, remembering Steve's advice, I pulled back and focused on what's important to me. I've learned to be disciplined and create a plan for what I want to accomplish during a day, or a week. That allows me to tackle one thing at a time, but I can also look forward to the next project or story. I teach video journalism at Brooklyn College and encourage the students to organize their thoughts about a story while they are on the scene, and when they come back to put it together. I ask them to create an outline and jot down numbers one through ten. For each number, they write a phrase or a sentence that lays out that part of the story. That way, they can see the beginning, middle and end.

Q: What is your advice for pitching stories?
I tell my students to pitch stories they care about and can deliver. We all have great ideas, but if you don't have a story that you really like, it's not worth expending the energy. Pick wisely. And then, it's important to have a story with good characters and a story that has significance. Editors are like everyone else—they’ll embrace an irresistible idea. But they want to be sure that you can get the story and present it in a way that meets their standards.

Q: Since you first started in the business, how has journalism changed? And how has it stayed the same?
Our business is a lot tougher than it was when I started. There are so many media outlets and so many people who are reporters and so many who think they are reporters. It's tough to stand out and break through the crowd. But good writers and presenters can do it.

Q: What is your take on social media and how important is it for journalists?
I've learned a great deal about social media and it can be very useful. It can also eat up all of your time. So, you have to decide how you want to use it. Twitter, particularly, can expand your reach and that's important if you have a point to make. I'm not a fan of using social media to tell people about getting a haircut, but it's great if you discover an amazing story.

Q: Your best advice for a young reporter?
It's a good idea to follow a beat, or develop a specialty; this becomes your brand. Targeting one area and developing expertise helps, so does persistence. And remember there's a balance between being aggressive and being annoying.

Also, if I’m being honest, I want to tell all young journalists that the biggest mistake I made in my career was failing to play nice all of the time. Those who succeed—really succeed—work hard at being good team players and saying "yes" to everything that's asked. It took me a long time to learn that lesson.

Q: You recently launched the website What is it exactly?
It's a website filled with original videos that feature smart experts who offer advice about important personal financial issues. We started with credit repair and mortgages and we're adding videos about paying for higher education, saving money, elder care, health care and more. We create the content and we're proud of it. But now I'm trying to turn it into a media business. My dream is to build a platform where a team of strong journalists report video stories that help consumers make good decisions.

Q: What do you love about autumn in New York?
I love seeing plays in the new Broadway and Off-Broadway seasons. I also enjoy riding my bike along the Westside Greenway with the cool fall breeze pushing me along.

Barbara lives in New York with her husband, writer and former Authors Guild president, Nick Taylor. Visit her website (, and follow Barbara on Twitter at @BNevinsTaylor, and @ConsumerMojo for financial advice.

Albert Goldson
Albert Goldson
Op-Ed columnist, Williamsburg-Greenpoint News

With an education in journalism and a strong sense of the profession's impact and responsibilities, Albert is edging into the profession and finds his Press Club affiliate membership to be helpful in the transition.
Career background:
A journalism student at Hofstra University and a writer for the school's newspaper, Albert followed a different trajectory after graduation, earning an MBA in international finance at Pace University. He worked as a project manager for an energy company where he handled various analytic and managerial tasks which were a long way from the athlete profiles and other items he penned for The Hofstra Chronicle.

Now a procurement manager at a transportation firm, he negotiates contracts for architectural mega-projects. As interesting as procurements might be, Albert is in a kind of "Roots" phase, wrestling with the allure of journalism and his passion for it. To scratch the itch, he writes an op-ed column on urban planning issues for the Williamsburg-Greenpoint News, animated by his experiences working with world renown architectural and engineering firms. If the planets align, Albert says he may very well jump full time into journalism.

Q: What interests you about the profession?
Journalism is a blank canvas. The internet age has facilitated the arrival of the "citizen journalist" to express their opinions worldwide in multiple formats.

Q: Why is being a Press Club member important to you?
I wanted to learn more about journalism and I figured an excellent source would be the NYPC. Membership is important because it provides the opportunity to exchange experiences, ideas and trends with journalists and media professionals. The interesting aspect is the respect between the old-school journalists who covered a bygone New York City before the internet and globalization and the younger generation of media professionals who have known nothing else but the internet to acquire information. If one listens carefully, the old school stresses that nothing will ever replace the depth of face-to-face meetings with sources despite newer and faster yet impersonal technological methods like video conference, emails and texting.

Q: You're an "affiliate member." What does that mean?
I consider this classification as a hands-on introduction to the world of journalists by attending the NYPC lectures and conferences. I think of it as the foyer to the eventual active participation in this field.

Q: Why are you transitioning to an active membership?
Part of this transition is a career change to a profession I like and have a passion for. I’'ve always had an intense interest in particular topics and I follow them closely. I’'m bursting with perspectives and opinions that are not covered well, if at all, in mainstream media and on blogs. I’'m unabashedly contrarian, counter-intuitive and a maverick of sorts so I feel compelled to write about issues that the media has not considered. I want to persuade the target audience to view an issue somewhat differently than what they’'ve been exposed to.

Q: Besides the New York Press Club, what other organizations and clubs are you a member of?
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary as an aviation liaison, American Institute of Architects, Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association as a private pilot and in the SATERN program which is emergency radio for the Salvation Army.

Q: How do you get your news? What are your daily reads?
I have a litany of subscriptions to newspapers and magazines that run the gamut from interior design to international affairs. My daily reads are the daily New York City newspapers and the Financial Times.

I also attend numerous lectures and conferences which enable me to chat with distinguished guests such as ambassadors and other high-ranking government officials, executives, authors, academics and journalists. Interestingly during the receptions I gather some fascinating insights from the “salt of the earth” attendees who are there because they have a personal curiosity about the topic.

Q: What news programs do you watch?
I watch documentaries which provide me with detailed information on topic I’'m keenly interested in, such as the History Channel or MSNBC. I also watch many news reports in their respective languages from Europe, South America and Asia that supplement my print material.

Q: What kind of stories interest you/captivate you?
I like to engage in what I call "journalistic fracking" by taking an issue or topic that seems rather benign on the surface and asking a series of uncomfortable questions that neither mainstream media nor bloggers have thought or written about. For example on the local scene, I’'ve already written about the newly awarded Applied Science Institute on Roosevelt Island and the proposed casino venture at Aqueduct Racetrack as examples of poor and short-sighted urban planning. These are billion dollar investments with far-reaching social impact which the media has under-reported leaving the public out of the loop about critical changes occurring in New York City.

The important yet more nuanced issues exist but one must ask the right questions to get the seemingly always elusive right answers. These issues are the subtle, unseen, under-currents to major trends within the overwhelming informational clutter. I provide a look beyond the limited sight road sign as to what may be ahead and describe it in a way in which most people can understand and how it impacts him.

Q: Who are your most revered journalists?
The New York Times's’ David Sanger and Paul Kruger who offer fascinating perspectives and don'’t pull any punches, yet who are highly credible and respected.

Q: What is journalism’s future?
What will remain the same is ownership (control) by large corporations whose financial and political power far exceeds most governments. The public continues to receive plenty of news but all within a controlled framework of opinions. Control of the media is control of the market.

The most disturbing change is the fewer number of "revered journalists" whose credibility is without peer. The great journalist icons of the past are dying with no replacements in the younger generation. These iconic reporting sources are becoming more anonymous and homogenized. "“Who are those guys?”" as Paul Newman asked in the movie "“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."” It'’s human nature to attach a name to a face. In journalism it’'s a name to a story or topic. In the visual medium, every TV reporter looks the same throughout the country. Even the minority TV reporters fall within a narrow physical definition determined by the networks.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I imagine heading a boutique consulting firm consisting of other media professionals with unique non-journalism skills to advise small- and medium-sized firms on operating in an international, intercultural environment. There are many brilliant technical people operating small firms who don’'t have the breadth of knowledge or time to effectively handle the "soft power" of communications—, negotiations, public speaking, etc. Skills which nowadays can determine whether you land the account or not. Imagine an office of people with technical expertise who are excellent and experienced media professionals.

Q: Your New York hidden gems?
Jules Bistro in the East Village, Café Gitane in Nolita and Caffe Dante in the West Village all are under-the-radar, throw-back culinary gems with the decor and atmosphere from a bygone era.

Movie and jazz buff Albert lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter at @pygmalionNYC.

Elliot Levin
Elliot Levin
Music journalist; budding war correspondent

Recent New York Press Club member Elliot Levin does video production by day and at night, covers a broad range of rock and heavy-metal news and events for the website,
Career background:
Elliot began his career at Bader TV, a VNR production company, where he specialized in same-day video packages for events. After a two-year stint at the Fox News Channel, he now works at a private production company and spends his evenings covering New York's rock and heavy-metal scene for Elliot applies his passion for hard-hitting journalism to monthly rock n' roll shows, which keep him happily rocking out at Metallica and Van Halen concerts while awaiting opportunities to cover disasters and conflicts for a world audience.

Q: What piqued your interest in journalism?
The desire to know what was happening, as it was happening. The desire to share what was happening with others in an informative and when possible, entertaining fashion.

Q: Video production?
I filmed and made rough edits of almost anything since I was a teen and once I got my first taste of Final Cut Pro in college, I was hooked on the power and potential that video allows you to tell a story in myriad ways.

Q: How do you keep spontaneity in Q/A during video inerviews?
I try to phrase the question in a different way if it's a second take. Sometimes you just have to prep the subject and say "let's say that again, pretend it's the first time."

Q: What is different about telling a story in video vs. print?
I've come to prefer publishing printed interviews over video ones since it allows the viewer to skim the article for interesting questions and answers, whereas in video if you don't catch their interest in the first minute, they click away. On the flip side, video of course allows images and sound to enhance the immersion experience and tells a more complete story.

Q: Describe a typical day for you:
I work a 9-5 in a post-production facility, and do interviews or go to concerts two to four nights a week. Most days I stay at my office until 7 p.m. preparing questions, transcribing interviews or writing reviews, then head off to that night's concert with my camera and a couple of whiskey shooters. Headlining acts usually go on between 9 and 10 p.m. and wrap up by 11, 11:30 p.m. I eventually make it home with ringing ears and a nice buzz, then try to catch the Daily Show and Colbert Report from the DVR before going to sleep.

Q: Best story you've ever covered?
My personal favorite was the Metal Masters Clinic at Best Buy Theater, where vocalist Phil Anselmo of the now-defunct Pantera joined other metal all-stars to perform Pantera songs for the first time in a decade. From a harder news perspective, I brought in field footage from the Times Square carbombing attempt to Fox News at 1 a.m. and put it right on air.

Q: What was your worst interview?
Steven Adler, former drummer from Guns 'N Roses. He cried at one point, and when I got home I discovered someone had knocked the camera and the shot was all out of frame.

Q: Share your most humbling experience in the field?
Shooting the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit release party in '08, and getting elbowed hard in the photographer scrum. This is a tough business!

Q: What story are you eager to cover?
I would love to interview Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) as he comes around again with his baseball stadium production of The Wall.

Q: Tell us your daily reads?
I start my day with the NY Times app for the top and breaking stories, then read the NY Post every morning on the commute to work for local news. At work I usually start with the Jerusalem Post and Al Jazeera, as the Middle East conflict fascinates me and I find those two sites each give their side of the complex stories and battles there. I usually glance at the Drudge Report and Yahoo! News at some point, and then mainly follow stories posted on social networks.

Q: How did you parlay your love for music and journalism into a freelance career?
The website doesn't pay particularly well but it's a matter of earning the work you put in. It's an ideal site for freelancers, as you can post as often or as infrequently as you like so I can work it around my other obligations. It also gives me the opportunity to be involved with the music I love and go to my shows for free, then force my opinions of the music onto the masses. That said, it could never pay the bills, and therefore, I work a 9-to-5 for money, while pursing a career of my passion on the side. Hopefully someday that will evolve into full-time work, and every week I lay more groundwork and add to my portfolio.

Q: Your dream job?
A war correspondent is a dream job, with the assumption that if you die in your dreams you can still wake up alive. Excluding life-threatening jobs, I'd love to write for Rolling Stone, or be a personal biographer/videographer for a major rock band.

Q: What types of social media do you use?
I use Facebook and Twitter to share my stories, interesting links, and pre-sale passwords for concerts.

Q: What advice would you give a newbie journalist?
Work your ass off and put in your time. This is a game where seniority counts for a lot, so the earlier you get started and the harder you work, the faster you'll advance. Also, be polite and make friends with everyone you meet, because you never know when a contact will come in handy.

Q: Last question non-journalism and New York-related: What's the best place for breakfast in New York?
Big Apple Deli on 46th and 6th. Fantastic omelets.

Elliot lives in South Flushing, Queens. Follow him on Twitter, @NYRockExaminer.
Steve Scott
Steve Scott
Afternoon Anchor, WCBS Newsradio

A broadcast journalist for more than thirty years, Steve is the afternoon news co-anchor, along with Wayne Cabot, on WCBS Newsradio 880 in New York. He and his colleagues at 880 have won a bounty of New York Press Club Awards through the years, and Steve is a familiar presence at Press Club events as both audience member and panelist.
Career background:
Born and raised in California, Steve began his career as a news broadcaster in 1979 in San Jose, Calif. He moved to Chicago in 1986 where he worked for 20 years, the last 13 of them as morning anchor, reporter and news director at WLS, ABC Radio's talk/news powerhouse. Steve moved to New York in 2006, joining all-news WCBS as afternoon co-anchor with Wayne Cabot. Steve says he likes breaking news best, and politics, and he has reported on everything from 9/11 to the “Miracle on the Hudson,” which he reported as the story broke.

Q: Why did you choose journalism?
I’ve had a fascination with radio since I was a little kid. I remember using a portable reel-to-reel player to record fake radio shows when I was eight or nine years old. I had no idea that I would go into news, though. I really liked sports. I played sports in school, and my first goal was to be a sports broadcaster. I started on my college radio station, broadcasting women’s volleyball. I also DJ’d, and then got into doing newscasts. I was okay as a disc jockey. I really enjoyed sports broadcasting. But, it soon became apparent that I was probably best at news. So, that became my focus.

Q: How did you break in?
Like many broadcasters, I got my start on my college radio station. I attended San Jose State University, and the campus radio station, KSJS-FM, was (and still is) quite good. I was able to get on the air as a freshman. Using demo tapes made on the college station, I got my first paying radio job: Operating the control board for a Portuguese-language radio program on KRVE-FM in Los Gatos, Calif. That same station played mellow adult contemporary music during the overnight hours. I was eventually “promoted” from control board operator to weekend overnight disc jockey. I made minimum wage; I think it was $2.70 an hour. Part of the DJ shift included reading newscasts. It was “rip-and-read" — pulled straight from the Associated Press teletype. The news director at another local radio station, KLIV-AM, in San Jose, hired me based on hearing those “rip-and-read” newscasts. And, I was on my way!

Q: How did you get to WCBS Newsradio 880?
I was working in Chicago, and the legendary WLS-AM. I was news director and morning anchor and also reported for ABC News Radio. I had been in Chicago for more than 20 years, and fully expected to finish my career there. One day, the phone rings in the newsroom, and it’s the program director at WCBS Newsradio 880 in New York. It took me a few minutes to figure out why she was calling me. Then it hit me — she was interested in having me work at WCBS! It took several months for everything to come together but on Sept. 11, 2006, I started on WCBS Newsradio 880. I love WCBS and New York!

Q: Why news radio?
I’ve always loved radio. I took some TV news classes in college, but never had a real interest in going into television. I’ve always thought there is something special about storytelling on the radio. You don’t have pictures to tell your story. Your words have to be your “pictures.”

I’m definitely an on-air guy, as opposed to behind-the-scenes. I’ve been a manager at past stations — that’s not something I enjoy too much. I like being on the air. There is something very cool about being the person — the voice — who informs listeners about important breaking news and other news of the day.

Q: How do you write for the ear that's different than for print?
When I am writing a broadcast news script, I don’t start by typing. I start by talking. Speaking aloud, telling the story that I want to tell. Because, in the end, we’re not reading to the listeners; we’re speaking to them. I tell broadcast students to say their story out loud. Tell me aloud what it is you’d like to convey. Say it. Say it again. Again. And, again. Say it aloud several times. Then, write down what you’ve been saying. So many people do it backwards. They start by typing. They should start by talking and using their voice to tell the story. Once they hear it — over and over — write it down.

Q: What is your typical day like at 880?
I like to arrive several hours before my 2 p.m. on-air start time. I normally show up around 10:30 a.m. I immediately start “reading in,” to get on top of the latest news, both locally and around the world. I record some interviews to air later in the day. Occasionally, there are meetings to attend. By around 12:30 p.m., I’m really starting to focus on writing my 2 p.m. show. I go on the air solo at 2 p.m., and I’m joined by co-anchor Wayne Cabot at 3 p.m. We’re on the air until 7 p.m. Then, I head for home.

Q: How do you stay calm and focused during breaking news?
I think the best way to report on breaking news is to simply say what you see. We don’t have pictures, so we have to paint those pictures for our listeners with our words. Don’t get hyperbolic. Don’t make events sound bigger than they are. Don’t speculate. And, don’t be afraid to say, “We don’t know exactly what is going on there — but, we are going to find out and let you know.”

A good anchor knows a little about a lot of things; it’s always good when you can add some context to your descriptions. To stay calm, I just focus on what I’m doing. Kind of like a guy shooting a free throw with 20,000 people screaming at him. Just focus and do it. I have a side job as a public address announcer for the New York Knicks. I try to use those same tools when a game is reaching a crazy crescendo. Block out the crowd, and just focus on what is happening on the floor. You need to keep your emotions in check. Sometimes, you need to take a deep breath and consciously tell yourself, “stay calm.”

Q: With an abundance of news outlets and social media, do you feel there's still a place for the news on the radio?
Yes. There will always be a place for live, locally focused content. I know the medium is evolving. It is incumbent upon radio to be on the front edge of that evolution, if it wants to continue to thrive. Quite frankly, for the past 15 years, I think radio, in general, has been going in the wrong direction. Consolidation has eliminated competition. Here in New York, the main competitor to WCBS 880, 1010 WINS, is our sister station! Sure, we want to beat them — it’s a matter of sibling pride, I suppose. But, it’s not cutthroat. I want WINS to do well. I want all six of our CBS NYC radio stations to do well. If we all do well, the company does well. And, that’s a good thing. In my perfect world, WCBS 880, 1010 WINS, WFAN, CBS-FM, Fresh 102.7 and 92.3 NOW are the six highest-rated radio stations in New York.

Q: How do you keep your audience interested?
One key is to constantly update your stories. Don’t let a listener driving home from work hear the exact same story — verbatim — that s/he heard while driving to work. Update it with new information. Let the listener know that it’s an active story.

I’m also a big fan of posting our news stories to the Web. If I record an interview with Governor Christie, we may have time to play only a portion of the interview. I like to post the entire interview — even if it’s 15 minutes — online, and direct listeners there to hear the full conversation. I think 60 Minutes does a great job of that, with their 60 Minutes Extra.

Q: What are you doing to stay in touch with social media and how do you engage your audience?
I use social media all the time. I use it to engage listeners with our product. Whether it’s my personal Facebook page, the station’s page, or our Twitter feeds, we are constantly trying to engage the listeners. “What do you think of this story?” we’ll ask the listeners. “Sound off on our Facebook page — we may read your comments on the air!” Hopefully, they will participate — and then stick around to hear us read their comments on the radio.

I also use social media for help on stories. When a train gets stuck in a Hudson River tunnel, I’ll scour Twitter, looking for people who are tweeting about it. Then, I’ll reach out to them with a tweet, and ask if we can talk to them on the air. I’ve also posted Facebook and Twitter messages that basically say, “I’m looking for people who experienced (fill in the blank) for a possible WCBS 880 interview.” It almost never fails. Some one sees it and gives me a call. It’s a great way to expand our newsroom resources beyond the traditional sources.

Q: What was, so far, your most prized or memorable story as a journalist?
9/11. I was working for WLS Radio in Chicago on the morning of 9/11. ABC News Radio immediately brought me to NYC to help with their coverage. I’m very proud of the work our team did and I will never forget that experience.

Q: And what was your best interview?
I would say the most impactful interviews I ever did were in Albania, during the Kosovo war. I was talking to refugees from Kosovo who had barely escaped with their lives. Their stories were just shocking. I spent time in a refugee center and that was a life-changing experience.

Q: Who is someone you'd like to interview?
Well, I haven’t talked with Barack Obama since he was a U.S. senator from Illinois, so, if he wants to give me a call, that would be great. I remember being in his hotel suite with Mrs. Obama and the girls the night he was elected to the Senate [in 2004]. I had a feeling that family had big things in their future.

Q: Which journalists do you admire?
From Anderson Cooper and Katie Couric (a brilliant interviewer, in my opinion), to some of the great correspondents from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Business correspondents who speak in plain English, like Jill Schlesinger (CBS Moneywatch) and Alexis Christoforus (CBS News) do a great job. The entire 60 Minutes team does inspiring work.

On the radio, Harley Carnes, of CBS Radio News, is probably the best writer in the business. He’s amazing. My WCBS 880 co-anchor, Wayne Cabot, is a brilliant communicator — one of the best at talking to each listener, one-on-one. John Montone, of sister station 1010 WINS tells great “everyman” stories. Brian Lehrer at WNYC does great work. And, laugh if you want, but, few interviewers can draw more from a guest than Howard Stern.

I also admire smaller market radio and television journalists. They do a fabulous job of serving their local communities. They work hard, often for little financial reward. Their reward is simply serving their community.

Q: What is your favorite touristy thing to do in New York?
I never get tired of being a tourist in New York! Empire State Building. Statue of Liberty. Exploring new neighborhoods. Finding new restaurants. It’s all fun, every day. One thing I’d like to do — but haven’t yet — is go to a taping of David Letterman’s show.

Follow Steve on Twitter at @SteveScottWCBS.
Murray Weiss
Murray Weiss
Investigative Journalist

No stranger to a newsroom, Murray has held star posts at the city's rival tabloids, the Daily News and the New York Post. A Press Club member for 30 years, he's now a columnist for the hyperlocal online news site,
Career background:
Literally and figuratively, Murray Weiss is having a storied career. He is a police and courts reporter who for decades covered some of New York's most unforgettable stories of crime and justice. Winner of numerous awards for his investigative work, Murray is often "sourced" by colleagues because of his knowledge of government, criminal justice and law enforcement. A Press Club Governor for many years and winner of three New York Press Club journalism awards, Murray wrote for two of the country's largest newspapers, the New York Daily News and New York Post. His stories and exposes of corruption often spashed across the front pages, punctuated by scintillating tabloid headlines. For the Daily News, Murray was bureau chief at "the Shack" inside 1 Police Plaza and he served as Criminal Justice Editor at the Post for 17 years. He is the author of two books, including New York Times best-seller, "The Man Who Warned America."

Q: Why journalism?
A number of factors, and it may have been in my blood. My grandfather was a deliveryman for the Sun and my father, after returning from combat in WWII, drove for the New York Daily News. Every morning, when he arrived home, so did all the morning newspapers. I grew up with them in my kitchen. And I loved the stories, the great columnists, and always imagined that the reporters behind the bylines led interesting lives. They wrote about important events that changed every day and were so vital to people’s lives. And by the time I graduated Queens College, the country had gone through extremely turbulent times: an unpopular war in Vietnam and the post-Watergate resignation of the President. I had majored in philosophy and was interested in writing. And I was eager to do something meaningful, but exciting, to meet different people and experience all that the city had to offer. For the first time, I thought that becoming a journalist at a New York newspaper might fulfill those private desires.

Q: What was your first job?
Copyboy, New York Daily News. I worked 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. with Wednesdays and Thursdays off.

Q: What was your first big story?
I did an expose on a sole-sourced city contract awarded to a marina near LaGuardia Airport. The series spurred the creation of the New York City Franchise and Commission Review Committee. Also right up there was a stunner that the Black Liberation Army, the Weather Underground and the Puerto Rican FALN terror groups had united, and were responsible for scores of bombings, including New Years Eve attacks at The FBI and Police Headquarters, where three police officers were maimed.

Q: Tell a personally poignant on-the-job story.
I covered the death of a close childhood friend. He was killed on West 54th Street in the first major crane accident in Manhattan that reigned debris from a skyscraper roof.

I was young reporter basically covering the cleanup efforts late in the day. The media had yet to learn the identity of the victim. Everyone was looking for information. My father got a message to me at the scene that it was my friend, Warren Levenberg, a young married father of two who had become an accountant for the Barnum & Bailey Circus. We had been friends since the age of five. Naturally, I was shocked and saddened. A Daily News city editor told me to take a few minutes to compose myself, maybe get a drink and prepare to file a first-person story about Warren, which I did.

A somewhat amusing aside: A New York Post reporter heard on the street that I knew the victim. She came over to pay her respects. She put her arm around my shoulder, said how badly she felt for me and then starting asking me questions. It took only a moment to realize she was really interested in information for her paper. As Jimmy Breslin would say: "Beautiful." I managed to keep my scoop.

Q: What was your most difficult story?
An investigation that revealed there was a phantom army and other corruption in the New York State National Guard.

Q: Your favorite subject to write about?
Dramatic front-page crime and corruption stories, the kind that stuns the city, or the public’s conscience, or captures everyone’s imagination, and runs for days with readers looking for more.

Q: What interests you most about investigative journalism?
It is the challenge to unearth the truth and expose a wrongdoing. There is something very noble and purposeful about digging and digging, and not allowing yourself to be thwarted and to finally arrive at that point where even the target of your story knows that you have it right. It’s the feeling of knowing you have done something good, as in the greater good, which journalists and most people do not often get an opportunity to feel.

Q: Career highlight (so far):
Writing a posthumous, biographical 9/11 book on John O’Neill, the FBI counter-terror official who chased Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, but perished in the fallen towers just days after being squeezed out of the FBI.

And the first time my picture byline ran on the front page with the exclusive account of the four officers who tragically shot and killed an unarmed African immigrant, Amadou Diallo. There had been weeks of civil disobedience and arrests, including of former Mayor David Dinkins. The story immediately altered the dialogue. Years earlier, there were exposes about tragic firefighter deaths, cover-ups and breakdowns at the FDNY that led then-Mayor Koch to fire his Fire Commissioner.

Q: Could you ever choose between the Post and the Daily News?
Not really. I loved the Daily News and spent 12 great years there. It was the largest paper in the country and I held several exciting reporter and bureau chief positions. But there was so much about the Post to love and I had an equally exciting time. But I did spend almost twice as long there.

Q: What's next for you? Are you writing another book?
Writing my “On The Inside” column at is my primary focus these days and a wonderful new web challenge. I have also done work for CBS News' "48 Hours" on a program that will air in February. As for another book, I have written two, turned down a few, but now would very much like to do another. Just don’t know what it will be and have to wait to see what develops.

Q: When did you join the Press Club?
I joined the Press Club nearly 30 years ago, and I think it is an organization that every journalist should belong to. The media today is so spread out and rapidly changing and splintering. Yet, at its core are the journalists who gather and produce the news regardless of how and where it is delivered. The club should be the central link for them.

Q: What's your fondest memory of the club?
It’s a tossup. At an annual award dinner at the Water Club, the late great Jack Newfield received a Golden Typewriter award from the Press Club for a series he did on the Crown Heights riots. At the time, I had been on the New York Post metro desk during that crazy year when the Post was the Titanic and Pete Hamill was editor. I suggested the idea to Jack. The mayoral election was at hand. Giuliani vs. Dinkins. Crown Heights would likely be an issue. Jack was reluctant at first. But being Newfield, he produced a masterful piece. Max Frankel of the Times said it was Jack’s best work.

Still at another annual dinner, Vinnie Lee, a great cop and fire reporter for the Daily News and a former Press Club president, ordered a case of Heinekens to the table — just for himself.

Q: Favorite journalist haunt in New York?
Elaine’s until she passed, followed by The Knickerbocker in the Village. Back in the day, it used to be McFadden’s and the Lion’s Head.

Q: Do you own an iPad? How do you feel about getting news this way?
I have an iPad and I think they're amazing. I will always have visceral affection for newspapers. But there once was the telegraph, typewriters and newspapers before radio, television, computers, the Internet and smart phones.

Q: What's your take on Twitter?
I think it is an important contemporary communication tool but often littered with inconsequential chatter.

Q: What's the best thing about being a journalist in New York?
It’s the door into an amazing universe and you get a front row seat.

A native New Yorker, Murray can be found most of the time in The Village with his longtime girlfriend, along with their dog and two cats. When the newshound isn't looking for stories, he's in pursuit of a good saloon or finds time for the occasional golf game.
Maya Shwayder
Maya Shwayder
Columbia Graduate School of Journalism

A recent Press Club member, Maya is a Harvard grad, now at Columbia's J-school. She hopes to make contacts and glean all she can from the seasoned reporters and editors who are also Press Club members.
Career background:
Before moving to New York, Maya lived in Boston as a student at Harvard. She became interested in journalism and had stints at the school's Harvard Crimson, Gazette and Harvard Magazine. Now at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism — to which she applied on a whim — Maya is studying investigative journalism while tackling hands-on projects: a three-week internship at Condé Nast and a summer at National Memo (political e-newsletter). Set to graduate next May, Maya is interested in exploring radio and the world of online reporting.

Q: While in college, what piqued your interest most about journalism that made you want to join the school's daily paper?
When I first started at the Crimson, I wasn't sure that journalism was my "thing." Instead of joining the News Board or Arts Board as I had originally planned, I joined the Editorial Board and my interest in journalism developed because of it. At times I realized that I didn't know enough about the topics being discussed at editorial meetings to comment substantially. So I started trying to keep up more with the New York Times, et cetera, and got hooked.

Q: What types of articles did you focus on? What was your beat?
I didn't have a particular beat or column, but basically became the Crimson's unofficial "sex columnist" for my tenure there (one op-ed, "No Sex and the Ivy," hit No. 1 most-read for a while during my junior year). I spent most of my time writing about women's issues.

Q: What was your experience working at the Harvard Gazette and Harvard Magazine?
Getting the internships at both publications at the same time was basically a happy accident, one of those situations where I heard about the positions through a friend and got the job. At the Gazette, I got my first taste of what journalism was really like with interviews, deadlines, editors and re-writes, and I loved it — especially the interview part. I loved talking to professors about their work and the amazing results they were seeing from their research. Interviews are still my favorite part of the job, although I definitely still have a lot to learn about proper interviewing technique.

Q: What made you want to attend journalism school, and at Columbia University?
By mid-way through my senior year of undergrad, I knew I wanted to pursue journalism, but I also knew I did not have the contacts or journalistic skills to land a job, especially in this economy. Getting into Columbia validated my decision to pursue journalism, and I knew I would come out the other side a far better journalist with a far better shot at getting a job.

Q: Many people debate the question: Is J-school worth it. What would you say to them?
For me it will definitely be worth it. Because my love of journalism developed relatively late, I didn't have the time in college that some people have to learn the ropes and get the right internships. I know Columbia will teach me the skills and work ethic I need to be successful.

To people who naysay journalism school, I would say that if nothing else, the contacts you can make at the school and through the alumni community, especially at Columbia, are invaluable, and I know that I will be taken much more seriously with a Columbia degree.

Q: What do you hope to do upon graduating?
I used to live in Italy, and I’d love to go back and work for a publication or network there. Also Al Jazeera — I love what they do and I’d want to see more of them on the U.S. airwaves.

Q: How do you manage your time, in general, and with school and writing?
There’s a lot of staring at and tinkering with my calendar. I also have a constantly updating to-do list that I keep on my desktop. Whenever I feel like I’m being too idle or have a mysteriously large amount of free time, I’ll check it. Usually that free time evaporates.

Q: They say in business, it's about who you know. What are you doing to meet people in the field of journalism?
Networking is important in every field, and like I said, Columbia is a wonderful place to make contacts. I’m doing my best to meet people, both peers (future colleagues) and those in the field. I’m looking for a mentor; my professor, Sandy Padwe, has been immensely supportive, and even after just over a month I feel like I’ve improved exponentially.

Q: How do you get your news? What is your daily routine in knowing what's going on in the world?
I have 25 blogs and publications that I read every day via Google reader, and I add to that list all the time. Whenever I have a spare moment, I’ll pull it up and scan the headlines. I follow abortion coverage pretty closely since I’m passionate about women’s rights, and I make a point to try and read all of Al Jazeera and most of the BBC, since I think they do the best international coverage. I also enjoy Mother Jones and Slate.

Q: How did you become familiar with the Press Club?
I heard about it through Columbia and I figured that being as I’m a new member of the press community, it would be a good first career step to join. It’s important to have these sorts of clubs around as a way to introduce the young and aspiring reporters to the more experienced hands in the field.

Q: Who would you like to meet from the Press Club?
I’d love meet Jane Tillman Irving — she seems like a strong, fascinating woman with a wonderful career.

Q: What is your favorite Columbia stomping ground?
I'm still in the process of scouring New York for my perfect hangout, but right now I spend a lot of time in and around Brad’s Café at the J-School.

Born in Detroit and raised in Farmington Hills, Mich., Maya now lives in New York — next stop unknown. Aside from her busy school schedule, she still makes time for her two passions: singing and playing the cello. Follow Maya on Twitter at @meshwayd.
Winnie Hu
Winnie Hu
New York Times Education Reporter

A Princeton graduate, Winnie's pre-Times tenure included stints at the Dallas Morning News and as a religion reporter for the Pensacola News Journal in Florida. Her journalism career began as a copy editor for the China News in Taipei, Taiwan.
Career background
Regional education reporter for the Times since 2006, Winnie's beat is as porous as the many imponderables that impact education. Funding, tuition increases, charter schools, union issues, student performance, accountability, cirriculum and of course the overarching influence of politics — local and national — have all been recent topics of her reporting from around the region. A general assignment reporter before taking the education beat, Winnie found plenty to write about from the Times bureaus in New York City Hall, Albany and Westchester County. Winnie joined the Times in 1999 after finishing a master’s program in public affairs reporting at the University of Maryland.

Q: Why did you become a journalist?
I kind of backed into journalism because I liked to write and travel, and with journalism, I could do both and get paid. After college, I lived in Taiwan and paid for trips to Thailand, Korea, Hong Kong and China by copyediting for a Chinese-language newspaper and writing freelance articles. It was a cheap and fun way to get around the world.

Q: What made you want to go back to school to study journalism? And why in public affairs?
After writing for a while, I decided that I liked journalism enough to make it my career. In many countries, journalism is more of a craft than an academic study. But in this country, journalism has a rich history and culture and I think it is important to know the context in which you work. In graduate school, I got a broader understanding of the media industry — something I would never have gotten from simply covering stories on a beat. A program in public affairs reporting seemed ideal because news stories do more than just inform and entertain, they help shape policy debates and public opinion. As the writers behind these stories, I think we should try to be as thoughtful and as responsible as we can about what we’re covering.

Q: You've covered many stories — everything from the smoking ban to 9/11. What do you like most about being able to cover such a wide scope of issues?
I think the best part of journalism is getting to learn something new almost every day. When I was in the City Hall bureau, I visited corners of the city I had never heard of even after living here for years. In the Westchester and Albany bureaus, I discovered whole swathes of upstate New York. One of my favorite stories involved trying out swimming holes in July. Another story gave me an excuse to hang out at farmers markets and indulge in fresh-picked strawberries. There are, of course, the obligatory stories that you have to write, the bread-and-butter assignments, and then there are the enterprise stories that you come up with on your own. Those are the most fun, and the most rewarding, and ones that I remember years later.

Q: What has been the most difficult story for you to cover, and why?
After the 9/11 attacks, I worked on the portraits of grief, which was a collection of stories about the individuals who were killed. It was incredibly sad and depressing and emotionally draining. I remember calling families the first couple days after the attacks, and they would give me detailed descriptions about what their sons, daughters, husbands and wives were wearing. They still thought they could be alive somewhere. By the second week, most of them had given up hope. I didn’t know any of the victims personally but I felt like I did after talking to their families. It was really hard.

Q: How did you get into education?
At the Times, reporters switch beats every few years. I was assigned to the regional education beat after a couple years covering politics in the City Hall and Albany bureaus. I had never covered education before, but I went to public schools in New Jersey and was interested in the topic as a new mom. You find that once you have a child of your own, you can’t seem to get enough of school news and what works and what doesn’t. It’s what I spend a lot of my own time thinking about anyway so it is a bonus to be able to research questions about, say, homework or Singapore math, at work.

Q: How do you keep your reporting unbiased when you're a mother yourself and have your own views on the education system?
There are a lot of education experts out there, and I am not one of them. I consider myself a relative newcomer, and as such, I leave opinions to the people who are quoted in my stories. I try to make sure that stories are balanced and that if there are opposing sides, each side gets a chance to speak. An advantage of education stories is that you usually have well-informed, articulate people on all sides.

Q: Has covering education made you more aware of what you want for your daughter's academics?
Covering schools, I’ve learned to recognize good schools and good teachers but I don’t necessarily know what would be best for my daughter. Every kid learns differently and I don’t want to start dictating what would be best for her before she has a chance to find out on her own.

Q: Who in education do you feel deserves recognition?
I think some of the people doing the most important work in education are school principals. They set the tone for their schools, provide support for teachers, and if necessary, referee disputes with parents. Many of the best principals work 80 hours a week and get little or no credit outside their schools.

Q: How do you balance being a mother with your job?
When I’m not working, I try to do things with my daughter, Brynne. I often end up working and doing things with her at the same time. I have interviewed many people from the playground, and taken Brynne with me to night meetings and events. When she was a baby, she used to play in City Hall. She doesn’t seem to mind, so far.

Q: How did you get involved with the New York Press Club? What is important to you about being a member?
When I worked in the City Hall bureau, I met Rich Lamb and some of the other members of the Press Club. New York City must be one of the few places left on earth with enough working journalists to have an actual press club. I think that’s great, and I want to do what I can to help preserve that tradition.

Q: Besides the New York Times, what other publications do you read?
New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, Travel + Leisure and Real Simple.

Q: What is the last great book you read?
An old favorite from my bookshelf, "A Year in Provence" by Peter Mayle. Every time I read it, I’m inspired to try to enjoy life more. Living in New York City, it’s so easy to fill every second with activities. You forget how wonderful it is to do nothing at all.

Q: Favorite block in New York City?
The one with Bryant Park. We take picnic lunches there and Brynne loves the carousel.

Raised in West Windsor, N.J., Winnie now lives in Hell’s Kitchen with her husband, Davis D. Janowski, a technology columnist, and their daughter, Brynne, 6, along with their miniature schnauzer, Nixie.
Sabrina Buckwalter
Sabrina Buckwalter
New York Press Club Board of Directors

A student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Sabrina Buckwalter was elected this year to the board of directors of the New York Press Club. As student member representative she will work to expand the Club's involvement with area J-schools with goals that include boosting interest among students in Press Club events, programs and membership.

Career background
With the ink still drying on her undergraduate degree from Columbia (political science) Sabrina is now enrolled in a masters program at the university's Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism. She's had professional experience as a journalist, in Mumbai, as a reporter for The Times of India, the upshot of a study abroad program. A Hindi speaker, she is also conversant in French and has plans this academic year to brush up on Arabic script.

In addition to serving on the Press Club's board, Sabrina is active with the South Asian Journalists Association student chapter and the Society for Professional Journalists student chapter. She admits that balancing school, work and other activities can be difficult, but finds that the busier her schedule, the better her ability to manage time. An indisepnsible skill for journalists, especially these days.

Q: What made you want to go into journalism?
I was a student at Georgia State University in 2004 when the campus erupted over a blatantly racist incident that went unacknowledged by school administrators for over a month. I was outraged, and set out to use the incident as the focus for a class paper. My teacher loved it and suggested I edit it for submission to the school paper. From then on, I started writing for the GSU Signal and eventually became an editor. It was from that point forward I found I could serve a community more by writing than by working for nonprofits, which is the direction in which I was headed before this incident happened.

Q: What are the principles of journalism to which you most relate?
One of the most important functions of journalism is to monitor power. Therefore, I feel extremely grateful that in my short time in media, I've been able to contribute some small semblance of work to that endeavor (i.e. one particular story I broke called attention to the lack of justice in a rape and murder case).

One of the things I'm most excited about with doing investigative journalism at the Stabile Center is the opportunity to learn skills that will help me invaluably in continuing work that monitors power.

Q: In your opinion, how competitive is J-school?
I've found the journalism school to be less competitive than the undergraduate school at Columbia, but that is not noteworthy. The journalism school is a very eclectic place that nurtures students who've never worked in the media to students who've spent years in the media, so the entire experience is very nuanced.

What I do find very competitive though is the angling to take a class with a certain professor. There are several courses taught by well-known professors that are wildly popular, like Sam Freedman's "Book Writing" class or Ari Goldman's "Covering Religion." One friend of mine came to journalism school just to take a semester with Sam Freedman!

Q: What are your thoughts on social media and how do the Facebooks and Twitters apply to your academics, and news-gathering in general?
Social media is a very important tool for journalists. Facebook, for example, challenges me to stay fresh and current with various news. The competition to post the most interesting content, and stories that generate comments, keeps me on top of what's going on in the world.

With Twitter, I wish more people knew how to use it because I've found it to be very useful in news-gathering. When I need to know instantly what's happening with a breaking news item, Twitter is usually one of the first places I check. I found out about Michael Jackson's rush to the emergency room through Twitter.

As far as other outlets like Foursquare, Gowalla and Banjo, I've found that it's only as helpful as the number of people using it; I'm waiting for more people to join so that I'll be able to tap into its value even more.

Q: How do you feel about technology in the classroom, and in the journalistic field? Is there still a place for textbooks?
I read an article from the International Journalists' Network on tips for using an iPhone to aid in reporting. I find that with each new technological development I have access to, I'm more and more excited to do my job.

In class recently, we started talking about the next big thing in technology and journalism and a working editor pointed out the rise of Kindle Singles. She told the story of one writer whose magazine piece got killed, so he sold it as a Kindle Single and subsequently made tens of thousands of dollars on the proceeds from downloads. So, from my perspective, there is a wonderful space that exists right now to be entrepreneurial-minded when it comes to thinking of new ways to intertwine technology and journalism.

I still prefer textbooks to electronic books, though. It gives me a nice feeling to see them on my bookshelf.

Q: Once you graduate, what would be your dream job?
I would love to continue reporting abroad. Right now, I've got my sights set on the Middle East and returning to South Asia. Eventually I hope to find myself with both the stamina to write a book and a publisher who fancies it enough to publish it!

Q: How did you get involved with the Press Club? What do you want to do during your time as student representative?
Two years ago I co-organized a panel on editorial outsourcing with the Press Club. I've been involved ever since then and am thrilled to be involved even more now as an officer.

For me it would be wonderful if I were successful in starting a NYPC student chapter at Columbia. I really enjoy conceiving and organizing events, so it would be great to do a monthly “Job Talk” at the school with NYPC members.

Q: Are you a news junkie?
One of the first things I do when I open my eyes in the morning is check my news apps on my phone. My new favorite app is Live Journalists because it aggregates content from various news outlets according to keyword and significance.

Q: Which newspapers/magazines you read most frequently?
I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, and usually catch the weekend edition of Financial Times, as well. I also quickly check the New York Post and New York Daily News on my phone. As for magazines, I read New York magazine, The Economist and occasionally OPEN Magazine (from India).

Q: Which New York journalists do you admire most?
I think I would need five years just to soak in the work of all the great journalists here in New York! But I do admire the recent New York Press Club Gold Keyboard winner Graham Rayman's investigative journalism for his Village Voice piece, "The NYPD Tapes."

Q: What's your favorite shop in New York?
I love Housing Works Bookstore Cafe. Not only does it host the popular Moth StorySLAMs, but one hundred percent of the proceeds from all sales go right back to their nonprofit that funds AIDS activism.

Originally from Boulder, Colorado, Sabrina has called New York home for the past three years. She enjoys composing electronic music on Logic Pro and hopes to make an album's worth of trance/electronica. Follow Sabrina on Twitter at @sabrina2997.
David Diaz
David Diaz
CUNY Professor, New York Press Club VP

A distinguished lecturer at City College of New York, David's academic life is informed by 30 years as a working journalist, mostly in New York City. A teacher of both political science and journalism in the Mass Media and Politics and the Media and Communications departments, he is but a dissertation away from a Ph.D in political science. A New York Press Club vice president, David can often be found at Club events where his robust cheerfulness and wry humor add zest and sparkle to any proceedings.

Career background:
It all began three decades ago in Kentucky where David was hired as as urban affairs reporter by the Louisville Times. Along the way he spent 27 years as correspondent and anchor at WNBC-TV and WCBS-TV in New York where he was also host of several public affairs shows, including "Sunday Edition." He later become politics and media commentator for NY1's "Inside City Hall," and went on to the CNN Radio Network and the New York Observer. His most recent work in television has been for the Hispanic Information & Telecommunications Network as an anchor for a weekly program focused on metropolitan New York politics.

A winner of five Emmy Awards and numerous citations for journalistic excellence, David's assignments have included the Florida re-count of 2000, the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building and the 9/11 attack on New York City. His political reporting spanned the administrations of four New York City mayors: Koch, Dinkins, Giuliani and Bloomberg. David's CCNY teaching post augments brief teaching stints earlier in his career at Brooklyn College and NYU. He remains a member of the Inner Circle, an organization of political reporters whose annual charity roast of local politics and politicians is a perennial hot ticket.

Q: When did you know you wanted to be a reporter?
About halfway through a year of graduate work in philosophy and political science. I came to realize that I did not want to become a college professor, which I was stumbling towards. As I looked around for an alternative, I recalled a test I had taken in high school (Kuder Preference) that concluded I was well-suited for either law, advertising or journalism. The more I thought about journalism, the more it made sense relative to my interests and personality. So I applied to Columbia Journalism School. The rest is...

Q: But you eventually did go back to teaching. When? And how has it changed your life?
I've done it full time twice: once in the early 1970s at Brooklyn College during a stretch when I dropped out of the news business and most recently, since 2005, at City College. To me, teaching comes quite naturally. I believe much of what good journalists do is "teach," in the sense that they take information and break it down for other people in as understandable a way as possible. Also, it has given me intellectual space and time to put together my thoughts and insights about news, news media and politics. And it's been very rewarding because I have had a meaningful impact on my students - at least that's what they tell me!

Q: Do you believe in J-School?
I believe firmly that a fully professional journalist has to be a knowledgeable one - has to be able to learn all the time, so must actually know a lot about what's going on in the world. That's why I believe prospective journalists should major in a substantive field (e.g., economics, history, psychology, science, finance) rather than in journalism or "communications." It also makes sense for young people to have some real-world, real-life experience in some defined area of economic or social activity.

Q: What do you hope to impart to your students?
Several things: That although the American political system is historically stacked so as to thwart change, change can happen and they have the power to effect it; that it is essential and liberating to be able to communicate clearly and effectively, no matter what field of endeavor they pursue; that in the highly competitive world they live in, they need to be extra prepared, constantly refining their skills and knowledge so that they can make a strong case for themselves in the very short time they may get to win a position; and that discipline, commitment and passion go a very long way in compensating for limitations.

Q: What aspects of journalism do you feel are the most important to instill?
An ultimate respect for facts and truth; the primacy of the viewer/reader/listener; the power of journalism to not only educate, but to promote justice by spotlighting injustice wherever it may be.

Q: Have to ask: Has technology changed the way you teach?
It has vastly broadened the accessibility and reach of material that can be brought to bear on the learning process relatively easily and quickly.

Q: And your preference: print journalism or TV?
On a day-to-day basis, television's limitations make newspaper reporting far more rewarding because you do much more of it. But for telling a sweeping, emotional, high-impact story, nothing beats TV.

Q: Your most memorable assignment was...
Covering the Mariel boatlift in 1980 during which some 125,000 Cubans fled the island to come to the United States.

Q: Your most difficult story?

Q: Which living journalist do you respect most?
I would have to say Gabe Pressman.

Q: Lastly, what's your favorite reporter haunt in the city?
They no longer exist: The Lion's Head in the Village and Kennedy's on 57th Street.

Born in Puerto Rico and and raised in New York City, David now resides in Little Neck, Queens, with his wife, Andrea Garcia, an event planner. It should also be noted, David's a Mets fan.
Jack Dobosh
Jack Dobosh
New York Press Club Photographer

Jack passed away on January 7th, 2015, at age 79. When still with us he served tirelessly as the Club's official photographer and also its accountant. Jack knew quite a few things about capturing a moment, and checks and balances. He is sorely missed.
Career background:
A certified public accountant with his own business in Garden City, New York, Jack joined the New York Press Club seven years ago. Combining his line of work with his greatest passion, he moonlights as accountant and photographer for the Club. The always humble Jack prefers to stay behind the scenes, although such dedication deserves a little touting now and then.

Q: How long have you been taking photographs?
For over fifty years now.

Q: What was your first camera?
A Ricoh 300. It was well made, had a very sharp lens and gave many years of pleasure. I must have taken thousands of pictures with it.

Q: What kind of photography is the most compelling for you?
Portraiture because all people are unique and react differently under all types of situations. Photography documents emotions and I love that — especially people who strive to be or feel something.

Q: Do you still shoot with film?
Only with my Hasselblad.

Q: Do you miss film since the advent of digital?
Yes, I do, because when one does the exposure correctly, a professional lab renders a print that complements the accuracy of the exposure. Digital photography on the other hand just about renders the same quality as film, but it is hard to delegate the printing process. I manage anyway.

Q: Which photojournalists do you respect most?
The classics: Robert Capra, Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen.

Q: Have you thought about doing photojournalism yourself?
I would love to, but not to depend on it as a livelihood. To be at a Press Club event, or a party at the White House say, and to capture the activity, it's a joy that never ends if a camera is in your hand.

Q: What's interesting for you about shooting Press Club events?
When I get to see an Ed Koch or a David Paterson, and I can shoot at will, to me, that is euphoria.

Q: Your daily reads are...
The New York Times, and I scan the Daily News.

Q: The moments in history you'll never forget are...
The Holocaust, the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Q: If you could be anything, what would you want to do?
Probably a congressman because a sincere person can do much good if he is committed and well trained.

Q: Last question: What is your favorite building in New York City?
I love the Flatiron building. It's a wonderful piece of architecture.

The principal since 1956 of Dobosh and Company, CPA's, Jack lives in Oceanside, New York, with his wife Rosalie. An avid traveler, he counts London, Moscow and Warsaw as his favorite cities. Also a golfer for more than 20 years, Jack plays year-round, dividing his time on courses that include Westbury, New York and Boca Raton, Florida.
Vicki Salemi
Vicki Salemi
Freelance Writer

A former human resources executive, Vicki used her career expertise and recruiting prowess to pen the book, "Big Career in the Big City: Land a Job and Get a Life in New York." Now Vicki is a full-time freelance journalist who covers careers, entertainment, travel, and the social scene.
Career background:
While working in human resources, Vicki moonlighted for 13 years as a journalist and just two years ago, went full-time as a freelance writer. She has written for an array of publications, including AOL Health, CNBC European Business, iVillage, SheKnows, the New York Post,, The Daily and She also writes a blog, Big Career Corner, for The author of two books, her most recent, "Big Career in the Big City," is available on Vicki is a motivational speaker and career consultant as well, and is leveraging her extensive background as a former human resources executive for on-air markets.

Q: How did you get into journalism?
I kind of fell into it. I have always loved to write and in 1997, I started pitching fun college pieces (how to get in, quirky clubs on campus, volunteering trends ...) I was sent to a "press day" and met reporters from various newspapers and it really opened my eyes in terms of writing for a variety of outlets, getting the scoop and sharing it with readers.

Q: What kinds of stories do you love to do?
I love sinking my teeth into stories which excite me and will hopefully in turn, excite and/or enlighten the reader. For instance, if I wrote about politics, I wouldn't be as excited and probably wouldn't do it justice. That said, I absolutely love entertainment pieces that provide a backstory such as why a screen writer took on the project or how the director got the most out of his or her actors. Travel stories are fascinating since there seem to be an abundance of angles and ideas within any given destination. I also enjoy writing about careers because it's what I know best and I enjoy various ways to show readers a new way to approach a job search, etc. Event reporting is also a blast and I feel like I'm in my mojo when I'm on a red carpet. Although they're my three favorite beats, I also enjoy not being pigeon-holed so I mix it up and write about other topics like business, health, style, lifestyle, etc.

Q: Is it difficult being a freelancer? How do you stay focused on assignments while out getting new ones?
It's challenging for sure! There's no one or two keys to staying focused on assignments while getting new ones other than getting better at it. It's like a muscle and you have to build it up and constantly use it to stay strong. I always keep my eye on the prize in terms of the stories I'm writing during a particular week; they're a priority. But, it's important to continuously pitch as you're simultaneously writing stories. Often times I'll get story ideas from the actual pieces I'm writing — a new angle will surface with a news or health hook based on a comment a source says in passing. I think of pitching as important as writing assignments I need to get out the door. They're both critical to moving forward so I pitch several stories a week — sometimes by the dozen if I'm on a roll!

Also, working on deadline is only part of it, the other half is tracking down invoices, billing, etc., which isn't nearly as much fun as writing itself but of course, must be done. So, I like to think of myself as an entrepreneur and writing is one of the branches of my business. It's more like the tree trunk and lately I've realized my skill set expands into other branches per se.

Q: What are your pitching secrets?
Be relevant, timely, and ask yourself if you were the editor, "Why now? Why would I assign this piece?" Do your homework. I treat my pitches like I'm writing the lede for an actual story. I need to hook the editor right now; eventually I'll hook the reader. They're the same. So, I do a lot of digging on the front end to get details and flesh out a variety of angles. I also try to keep my pitches succinct and realize if an editor doesn't pick it up, there's a story to be told and there are an abundance of other editors who will be interested. I try not to get caught up in the rejection because it's part of the process and to be expected. The key is moving forward and tweaking the pitch or finding new outlets as you find a home for the research you've done. Sometimes though I have to let go of a solid story if time is running out and I need to move forward with other assignments.

Q: Your book: Did you choose the subject or did the subject choose you?
I chose to write about careers because it's what I know best. It's my subject matter expertise and I also feel like there's so much left unsaid in the world of career books. With my background in human resources and recruiting, I have a lot of insightful information to empower people when it comes to networking, negotiating, and finding a balance in their professional and personal lives.

Q: You often attend press events and parties. Is that the key to networking?
I think it's one key to networking but ultimately, it boils down to the relationships you build. The most valuable networking I've done lately is through my current network, not consistently expanding the number of contacts but rather, being specific in terms of what I'm doing next and who I need to connect with to make it happen. I do think press events and parties are one important facet because it gets you out there, in the swirl, and is just good and staying abreast of trends (especially when it comes to conferences and industry events). Sometimes we rely so much on social media that we forget the importance of face time!

Q: How has social media helped your career?
It's helped tremendously in terms of networking and also getting to know my editors and letting them get to know me through Facebook and Twitter, namely. I've connected with editors via Twitter, gotten last minute sources, landed placement in outlets to be quoted and promote my book and of course, was able to tweet (and have my articles retweeted) in terms of exposure.

Q: Do you think it's important to brand one's self?
It's incredibly important. Without making an indelible mark with your brand, you'll get lost in the crowd.

Q: What's next for you?
I'm working on two book proposals right now for follow up career books and then will finally tackle a novel.

Q:Last question: Which side of Manhattan do you prefer, east or west?
East side, hands down! I've always lived on the east side and it just feels like home to me.

Vicki graduated with a degree in psychology from Lafayette College and the New Yorker is a self-proclaimed die-hard Yankees fan. Visit her website, and follow her on Twitter @vickisalemi.
Hasani Gittens
Hasani Gittens
News Editor, The Daily

A member of the launch crew at News Corp's latest project, the iPad-only digital newspaper, The Daily, Hasani is a veteran newshound whose previous credits include stints at the New York Post and at
Career background:
For almost ten years, Hasani Gittens has been writing and reporting breaking news in New York City. His career as a journalist began with an internship at the New York Post just before September 11, 2001. His tenacity was impressive enough to land a spot as a reporter on the paper where he also cultivated headline and caption-writing skills. Hasani made the transition to news editor at NBC Universal and went on to become managing editor at that company's website. He's now on staff as news editor at The Daily, News Corporation's iPad-only digital newspaper. A relatively new member of the Club, in 2005, before joining, Hasani won a New York Press Club journalism award for Best Spot News Reporting.

Q: Where did you get your start in the business?
As a nosy and curious kid, I was always somewhere between journalist and a scientist. After getting kicked out of mechanical engineering school, I got my start in the business, professionally, with an internship at the New York Post that started the week before September 11th. It was a pretty intense internship.

Q: So far, what was the most memorable moment in your career?
Many moments stick in my memory, most of them sad. But one of the most bizarre ones was co-piloting a three-seater propeller plane over Manhattan the night after Cory Lidle died in a crash, doing the same maneuvers, in the same type plane, just to see what it was like and if anything was going to go wrong. I don't know if that was journalism, actually, but my first-person got printed in the Post.

Q: What do you consider your best interview?
My favorite, I suppose, was Hugh Hefner — the fact that I had him laughing in stitches really made my day. Of course he laughs easily.

Q: If you could interview anyone, who would it be?
Alive: Moammar Gadhafi. Dead: Mohammed (the prophet, with an illustration.)

Q: Who was a great influence on your career?
All of my editors at the Post: Jimmy Breslin, Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut (although I have never met any of them).

Q: What's the best advice you could give a young reporter?
Devour the papers, but read for content as well as various styles.

Q: You work at The Daily, the new iPad newspaper. How has the iPad changed the way you consume news?
It has really complemented my attention deficit syndrome.

Q: Fill in the blank: For a journalist, the iPad is...
A great device to have on an airplane.

Q: What are your must-read newspapers each day?
Not necessarily in physical form, but the Wall Street Journal, the Times, the Post, the Daily News. Does Fark count?

Q: If you were going to City Hall to cover a press conference, what would you wear? What do you think about the casual dress of journalists today?
I'd probably wear khakis and a button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up. I am probably one of the people bringing down the formality of work dress in America. I love wearing jeans and I hate wearing ties. Sorry.

Q: Where's the best pizza in New York City?
Pizza Wagon in Bay Ridge.

Hasani graduated from Baruch College, City University of New York. He lives in Elmhurst, Queens with his wife Kavita Mokha who is also a journalist. Follow him on Twitter @hgitty.
Donna Molesworth
Donna Bertaccini Molesworth
Co-Owner, Molesworth Enterprises, Inc.

An independent documentary film producer who subsequently joined professional forces with director of photography, Mark Molesworth, the pair now own and operate Molesworth Enterprises, Inc.
Career background:
For several decades, Donna has worked with most of the world's prominent broadcast organizations, journalists and newsmakers – nationally and internationally – as director, producer, writer, reporter, researcher, camera operator and photojournalist. She has also worked over the years as a professional model for both print and network television.

Starting out as an independent documentary film producer Donna eventually joined professional forces with director of photography, Mark Molesworth. Together, they own Molesworth Enterprises, Inc., covering stories of all types for all types of employers. Donna has conducted countless interviews with luminaries ranging from Richard Nixon to Margaret Thatcher. She often travels the world – her life's passion. Reflecting her many talents, Donna holds membership in an alphabet soup of professional guilds, unions and clubs including BAFTA, NATAS, NABET, SAG and the New York Press Club.

Q: How was your interest in the media field piqued?
I vividly remember the exact time and place I realized I wanted to work as a journalist, more specifically in the world of documentaries. I remember thinking I didn't much care if it was as a writer, producer, director or as a photojournalist, audio engineer, editor or researcher. You name it. I just knew I wanted to have the expertise to do all of those things eventually.

The epiphany came when I was a freshman in high school watching the movie "Z" by Greek Director Costa-Gavras. That movie had an enormous impact on me. I thought to myself, that's what I want to be able to do. I want to be able to tell stories passionately, to interview people; to get at the facts of a situation and not to take things simply at face value. I wanted to help people be better informed about the challenging world we live in.

I have a profound love and deep respect for gifted story tellers the world over. Any medium that helps facilitate a person's ability to get a message, or their story across excites me. You've no idea the thrill I got watching the opening sequences for The King's Speech. The close up shots of the BBC's microphones, the emphasis that is placed in that film on the importance of the transmission, the sound and the quality of one's voice, the message that was to be given, that was nothing short of an electric experience for me. The word "broadcast" is, and always has been, a particularly compelling word/concept for me.

Q:What types of stories are most compelling to you?
Ones where my antennae go up. The ones where you innately believe, trust in your human instincts that someone is lying, withholding or hiding something. Then the challenge is, trying to get at the irrefutable truth. I also have always had this unending thirst for trying to figure out what motivates people. That's why I always come back to "the story" in one manifestation or another. Being a journalist/interviewer/storyteller satisfies me.

Q: What was your best interview?
I've got to admit, over the years, I've interviewed a broad spectrum of world class, heavy hitters. Honestly though, it would have to be the time I sat my own father down near the end of his life and formally interviewed him about his World War II experiences. You see, it wasn't until my teenage years that I learned my own father was a WWII veteran. My father never, ever talked about his war experiences. He just didn't. He was the most gentle and private man I've ever known. Yet don't get me wrong: he was a man's man if ever there was. He was in France and Germany at the height of the fighting. Both my mom and dad lost loved ones in that war. So, when I was at last able to get him to open up about his life then, well, it was incredibly moving and powerful for me personally. It was the most meaningful and poignant interview for me personally, and ultimately for my entire extended family as well.

Q: You had tea with Queen Elizabeth. How did that go?
It was a lifetime experience for sure. We had a wonderful time. It took place while we were covering Her Royal Highness's visit to Barbados, for the BBC, back in 1989. There were only about 10 to 15 of us – journalists mostly from the BBC and ITN – who had been formally invited by the Governor General to meet Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip for tea and to chat, so it was rather an intimate affair. We all knew each other fairly well in the press corps, and as a result, there wasn't much to stress about. Though, I do remember my female colleagues in the group practicing how to curtsey in the hours leading up to our meeting. Some were adding these really interesting and complex flourishes. I couldn't figure out what they were doing, so in the end I went the simplest of routes. I remember holding the Queen's white-gloved hand for a bit as I was introduced to her and as I curtseyed. I walked away thinking, "I so wish I could walk around wearing white gloves all the time without folks thinking there was anything wrong with it!" There's something so, well, otherworldly about white gloves.

She and the prince were gracious and spoke to each and every one of us about our work. They were absolutely lovely and could not have been more generous with their time. My husband, Mark, and I have the formal invitations with our names inscribed on them, framed, and in our dining room. Folks have been known to ask, "Are those real?"

Q: Which journalists inspire you?
These days, I've got to say, hands down, it's folks like Matt Taibbi, Nicholas Kristof, Paul Krugman, Frank Rich, Christopher Hitchens, Ofra Bikel and Alex Gibney, just to name a few. There are a number of British journalists I've worked with over the years who I hold in exceedingly high regard, but their names wouldn't mean much for an American audience.

Q: You've traveled all over. Why is traveling so important to you?
Goodness gracious. I believe that traveling and being able to see the world in all its diversities, cultures, ways of life, is what this journey of ours is all about – mankind.

Q: Tell us about some of your recent projects.
I just interviewed COO of Gawker Media Gaby Darbyshire for Britain's ITV on a story regarding privacy laws here in the United Sates versus the United Kingom. Then I interviewed Holly Hunter, Kelsey Grammar, Emily Mortimer, and Kristen Schaal for a BBC special which aired in January called "Pixar: 25 Magic Moments." Also, there's a film airing in the U.K. about the recent deadly shark attacks off the coast of Sharm el Sheik in Egypt. I flew down to Pensacola, Florida, recently to interview Erich Ritter, a world-renowned shark expert, about his theories on the sudden shark attacks. So you see it really runs the gamut.

Q: What is your favorite season in New York?
I love late spring, early summer and autumn in the Big Apple.

Donna graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in film and television. She holds dual Italian/United States citizenship and lives in Connecticut with her husband, Mark, and three children. For further information about her work, visit her website (
Nicole Bode
Nicole Bode
Senior Editor,

A senior editor at, the online-only, hyperlocal news site, where in addition to her long-term planning and community relations duties, she writes a weekly column.
Career background:
Before joining Nicole spent eight years as a reporter for the New York Daily News where she covered breaking news, education and the court system. Nicole found her calling as a journalist when she was interning at the News in 2001; her first big story was interviewing survivors of the September 11th World Trade Center terrorist attacks. She spent the next five months telling the stories of New Yorkers from that fateful day. Since then, Nicole has stayed on the front lines of the city's breaking news, covering the Sean Bell shooting by NYPD officers from the trial through to the verdict. Originally from New Orleans, she earned the 2007 New York Association of Black Journalists award for her coverage of her hometown after Hurricane Katrina.

Q: When did you get the journalism bug?
I was a late bloomer. I always loved to write but didn't start learning the basics of newsgathering until mid-college when I started writing for the Columbia Spectator. The moment when I knew I was hooked on journalism was when I was a news intern at the Daily News on September 11, 2001. I was desperate to do anything to help at that dark time and the only practical skill I could draw on was my ability to record and write the events going on all around me.

Q: Where did you get your start?
With the help of my mentors from the Columbia College Women's Mentoring Program: Jodi Kantor, then of Slate and now of the New York Times, and Sam Marchiano, then a reporter for Fox Sports and, and now a documentarian. Sam and her friend, Daily News Sports Reporter Roger Rubin helped me get a summer internship at the Daily News and once there, I stayed for eight years. The editors, rewrite staff, and reporters at the News – there are too many to name – took me in as very green reporter and taught me the ropes.

Q: How do you prepare for your typical workday?
I'm up at 4 a.m. for my 6 a.m. morning shift. I'm on camera now, so I have to pay more attention to my appearance than I did at the Daily News when I could hide behind the written word! Once that's taken care of, I read the morning news on my BlackBerry, check the major dailies online, check Twitter, Facebook, NY1, and the stories on that went up after I fell asleep early the night before.

Q: What types of stories do you prefer to cover?
I like covering a lot of types of news stories, but breaking news is my first love. I like the hyper-focused feeling that comes with being part of a team trying to get to the information as quickly and as correctly as possible. Covering breaking news relies very much on instinct, and there aren’t a lot of other opportunities I can think of that reward that.

Q: What do you enjoy most about being a journalist?
Having an excuse to constantly talk to strangers.

Q: How do you feel about the iPad?
I don’t have one, or an iPhone for that matter, but I’m very interested.

Q: What's your favorite park in the city and why?
Battery Park, because it’s an easy walk from my apartment, I love the views of the harbor and of the Statue of Liberty, and my dog loves to run through the park trying to catch a scent of the wild turkey who lives there.

Nicole has lived in New York since 1997. She received her bachelors degree in cultural anthropology from Columbia University and lives in downtown Manhattan with her husband and dog.
Mitch Lebe
Mitch Lebe
Anchor/Reporter, Metro Networks

Mitch can be heard on WABC, WOR, WWRL, and on various suburban stations. He is events chairman and is a past president of the New York Press Club.
Career background:
Prior to his current job at Metro Networks, Lebe was with Bloomberg Radio’s WBBR from 2000 until 2009 where he anchored afternoon newscasts. In the 1990s, he was a news anchor and reporter at WCBS Newsradio 880. Earlier, as an NBC News correspondent, Lebe anchored newscasts on various radio stations and during his NBC tenure, worked as a general assignment reporter covering the United Nations, Wall Street, presidential campaigns, and New York’s City Hall.

Over a cup of coffee at a cozy café in the Gramercy neighborhood of New York City, Mitch Lebe shared his thoughts on journalism’s changing times, his career in radio broadcasting – a career that has spanned more than 50 years – and his favorite New York Italian restaurant.

Q: What do you think about ever-evolving technology and it’s effect on the profession of journalism?

ML: I certainly recognize and accept the great strides technology has made in my profession – and that it’s made work much easier, all with a cut here and a paste there. Technology has come a long way since I began as a journalist. I remember what it was like before cell phones! It meant carrying around dimes – lots of them, especially when calling in a breaking story to the news desk. I also remember specific pay phones throughout the city where the phone’s mouthpiece detached easily. This of course made it easy for a tape recorder to be heard on the other end of the line. In short, it has changed and continues to change the way we report the news and get the news.

Q: How is technology affecting your work in radio?

ML: It’s made news and information readily available in so many ways, though unfortunately, radio isn’t the most used nowadays. Radio is definitely suffering, but for now, there’s still a place for it in media.

Q: When writing for radio, what does a journalist have to do to get a story across to listeners?

ML: One must think of the ear. Stories need to be written with pith, and in clear, short and declarative sentences. As a reporter, you have to digest the story and find what is most salient, and most important in order to get the story across – you must tell it in a creative way that grabs attention.

Q: What are your favorite types of news stories?

ML: Anything that concerns politics, spot news stories, news conferences, protests, and government business. Being a journalist, one must know a little bit about a lot of things….

Q: What makes for a good interview?

ML: Well, for the journalist, a great politician, for example, is an accessible one! I remember Giuliani was good at that. And Ed Koch – he was always quotable. I must say, even to this day, his mind is amazing and he remembers everything.

Q: Who was your favorite interview? (Lebe worked for the NBC Radio Network, where on Sunday mornings, he had a newsmakers show and interviewed notable authors, artists, and actors.)

ML: Steve Allen. He was my best interview. When I was younger, I had watched him on The Tonight Show and I always admired him. Needless to say, I was so excited to meet him in person. He was such a storyteller, musician, poet, actor – just an all-around talented individual.

Q: If you could choose another profession, what would it be?

ML: I’m very happy with what I’ve done but if I had to choose, the only thing I ever actually wanted to be is a television cameraman. I’d love to operate a big camera at a television studio. I’ve always been fascinated with making shots, framing, and zooming.

Q: Where were you raised and what did you want to be?

ML: I was born in Brooklyn and grew up in East Rockaway, Long Island. I loved the radio and I wanted to be a radio announcer. And I became one!

Q: Tell me your career’s beginnings.

ML: In 1958, while still in high school, I was a teenage disc jockey for New York’s WINS. I talked about school and music. I talked about new music groups. I talked about rock and roll. I’ve always been a talker. I remember they paid me $50 a week which was fantastic. And, being on the radio, well, it made it a little easier to call girls because they knew who I was.

Q: So far, what is the greatest life lesson you’ve learned?

ML: I have a few actually. Be prepared and do your homework. Think things through. And don’t take anything for granted because you don’t know what will happen next.

Q: What is it about New York that is so appealing?

ML: The pace. The opportunity. The architecture. The diverse populace.

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant in New York?

ML: Il Vagabondo on the Upper East Side. The restaurant has been around for a long time – since the 1950s – and I went there often on Friday nights as a teenager. It’s just a good neighborhood place with great pasta.

Mitch Lebe lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with his wife of 35 years, Arleen, their son Matthew and dog Jake, a bichon frise.


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