An Anthropology of a News Person Professor

Long Island
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As an undergraduate, I majored in Sociology with a minor in Anthropology and that study informs my journalism and my pedagogy. Three things I remember from my studies — we need food, clothing and shelter.

In these times of economic recession, those three topics might provide the conceptual foundation for the news pages of Nassau News Live, my research project to support the NewsHub and the journalism curriculum at Hofstra University, where I am an assistant professor of journalism. My specialty is the digital domain,  which I have studied and reported on since 1994 as a converted sports journalist.

I have covered the rise of the World Wide Web, and the dot-com crash as a technology reporter and editor leading teams based in New York City and I covered the recovery operations at Ground Zero in the days following 9/11 in New York City.

I moved to the exciting and emerging genomics and personalized medicine space as a technology reporter specializing in microarrays, and the field described as systems biology, an umbrella term for the search to expand and catalyze the study of biology.

I joined Hofstra in 2006 as an Internet consultant, and adjunct in the graduate journalism program, teaching a course in web journalism. Since then, I have been appointed to the faculty and have taught online journalism to 11 classes, photojournalism once and web tools twice.

I have created new workflows and methods to incorporate new technologies into the news gathering and distribution process, building on a small kit of very inexpensive technologies, a lot of innovation and creativity, to produce student-run video live streams, live text-blogging collaborations, social media reporting, and instituted easy and inexpensive training and production methods for video news gathering — live and to digital “tape” — as well as other methods of multimedia reportage.

The school has purchased 35 Flipcams, and three webcams for the use of the students and I have contributed sound boards, audio, microphones, video cameras and a laptop to support this work. As well as countless hours sketching out operations and staffing for innovative live coverage of the opening of the NewsHub, visiting speakers, staff memorial services, the 2008 Presidential debate on the Hofstra campus and the 2008 presidential election.

These previous operations allowed the testing of new techniques under the duress of a real-time deadline and to an audience of as many as 500 viewers/readers from 28 countries.

Students have reported and shot video along with complementary text production in rapid turnaround operations and they have successfully live streamed from the field with web cams and web-based applications.

Students have also produced investigative online “articles” covering issues affecting the villages surrounding Hofstra University. Students produce multimedia packages of edited video, separate text articles with hyperlinks, with multimedia presentations as well as reported statistics-based graphics.

They work hard covering learning how to cover Long Island and advance rapidly in their skills in the 15 weeks we spend together.

This new project helps the students gain experience in all aspects of news operations in the glistening NewsHub in Dempster Hall where they tap and click away at new Lenovo desktops, monitor three HD screens of satellite-delivered news and issue man-in-the-street reportage and real-time reporting from Terrace Avenue to Times Square.

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