Syracuse University will host a Commencement ceremony—delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic—and other celebratory events for the Class of 2020 during the weekend of Sept. 17–19.
Commencement will be held Sept. 19 at 10 a.m. at the Stadium. This University-wide ceremony, where Syracuse University Chancellor and President Kent Syverud will formally confer degrees, is for all undergraduate, graduate and doctoral candidates. Doors open at 8 a.m.
Following Commencement, all 2020 Newhouse graduates and their families are invited to join Dean Mark J. Lodato and the faculty and staff for a celebratory reception. The event will include a dean’s welcome, recognition of participating graduates and an opportunity to reconnect with faculty. A precise time and location will be announced soon; stay tuned for details.
For more information about Commencement activities for the Class of 2020, see the event listing.
The 19th News will be honored with the Lorraine Branham IDEA Award from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications June 8. The award, presented as part of the 16th annual Mirror Awards ceremony, will be accepted by editor-at-large Errin Haines. Sunny Hostin, three-time Emmy Award-winning co-host of ABC’s “The View” and New York Times bestselling author, will present the award.
The 19th News is an independent, nonprofit newsroom reporting on gender, politics and policy with the goal of empowering readers—particularly women and LGBTQ+ people from underserved communities—with the information, resources and community they need to be equal participants in democracy. The name is a nod to the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, but the logo includes an asterisk to symbolize that “suffrage remains a work in progress” in the U.S.
The 19th News was founded in 2020 by former Texas Tribune staffers Emily Ramshaw, who is CEO, and Amanda Zamora, who is publisher. It’s supported by a mix of membership, philanthropy and corporate underwriting.
The IDEA Award recognizes a media organization that has worked to promote inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility over the course of the previous year. Specifically, the award acknowledges the hiring and development of leadership talent who create change, both to the organizations they oversee and the content they produce. The award was established in honor of late Newhouse dean Lorraine Branham, the first Black woman to serve as dean of the school, who died in 2019.
About the Mirror Awards
The Mirror Awards are the most important awards for honoring excellence in media industry reporting. They were established by the Newhouse School in 2006 to honor the reporters, editors and teams of writers who hold a mirror to their own industry for the public’s benefit. Finalists in the 2022 competition were announced in April.
The 2022 Mirror Awards ceremony will be held Wednesday, June 8, at French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), New York City. The event will begin with a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by the presentation of the awards at 6:45 p.m.
Newhouse dean Mark J. Lodato will preside over the ceremony, and Newhouse alumna Contessa Brewer ’96, a correspondent with CNBC, will serve as master of ceremonies. In addition to the IDEA Award, the Newhouse School will present the Fred Dressler Leadership Award to New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet. Six juried journalism awards—winners of the 2022 competition—will also be presented.
The eight-member committee oversees the fund, which is a unique SPJ resource that can be tapped by journalists for legal or financial assistance. Committee members work throughout the year to raise money to support the fund, and they also advocate on legal issues.
Additionally, Gutterman will serve as a liaison between the Legal Defense Fund Committee and SPJ’s Freedom of Information Committee, on which he has served since 2015.
Rockell Brown Burton, an experienced academic leader and accomplished researcher with a passion for cultivating impactful, mutually beneficial relationships, has been named Associate Dean of Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility at the Newhouse School. After a national search, she was chosen from a pool of more than 50 applicants.
“Dr. Brown Burton brings a strong record of leadership and a passion for inclusivity, diversity and equity to the Newhouse School. Students will find her personality infectious, while her experience helps us chart a course for success in this important space,” says Newhouse dean Mark J. Lodato.
Brown Burton is a two-time HBCU graduate with nearly 20 years of experience in higher education as both a faculty member and administrator. A self-described “serial collaborator,” she says she is committed to establishing pathways and pipelines for marginalized and underrepresented groups in the academy and beyond.
“I am beyond excited and thrilled to have the opportunity to join the world renowned Newhouse School of Public Communications,” Brown Burton says. “I am ecstatic to be joining the Newhouse faculty and staff—and the entire Syracuse University family—to move the needle forward and ensure there is inclusion, inclusivity, connection and community at Syracuse.”
Brown Burton joins Newhouse from Texas Southern University (TSU), where she has served as interim dean of the School of Communication for three years. Under her leadership, the school formed several professional partnerships, including a program established in partnership with ABC News that provided students with the opportunity to cover the Democratic debate at Texas Southern University in 2019. Other partnerships include HBCU Game Day, AT&T Regional Sports Net, the Monterrey Jazz Festival and Houston Methodist Hospital TV studios, where Burton developed internships for students from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups. As interim dean, she also established the first School of Communication Advisory Board and oversaw the launch of a student multimedia streaming operation.
“Our loss is your gain,” says Brown Burton’s colleague Arthur Murray, director of student-run multimedia station KTSU2 at TSU. “She is a personable person with the students, and while her talents will be missed, we know she will go on to do great things at your institution. She’s been a great asset here, has led this team over several things, including COVID. She is just phenomenal.”
Brown Burton also has held positions as associate professor of radio, television and film, interim chair of the Department of Speech Communication and director of graduate studies, where she led the charge to overhaul the curriculum and create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for students of color.
Brown Burton is the co-author of “Race and news: A critical perspective” (2011) and several book chapters and journal articles. She holds a Ph.D. in communication from Wayne State University, a master’s degree in human communication studies from Howard University and a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Xavier University.
Brown Burton was an AEJMC Institute for Diverse Leadership in Journalism and Communication Fellow for 2019-20 and was a nominee for the Orlando L. Taylor Distinguished Scholarship Award in Africana Communication. She was named Teacher of the Year and Stellar Communicator by the School of Communication in 2009.
“Rockell Brown Burton stood out to the committee for three notable reasons: Her experience as an academic leader, which many noted positioned her well for success, her history of student-focused initiatives and her record of scholarship that demonstrates she understands our disciplines well,” says Melissa Chessher, who has served in the IDEA role in an interim capacity and chaired the search committee. “She also received strong feedback on her teaching presentation and demonstrated a commanding demeanor and an approachable, calming presence. Given our ongoing work to create more partnerships with HBCUs, we also love that she possesses considerable ties to many of those institutions.”
Chessher also notes Brown Burton’s ability to get things done, her understanding of how universities work and her ability to engage and enlist support from a range of constituents.
Says Syracuse University Trustee and Newhouse Advisory Board member Howard Woolley ’80, president of Howard Woolley Group LLC: “We are looking forward to Rockell’s partnership with Dean Lodato in his efforts to diversify our faculty, student enrollment and the industry at large.”
Other members of the search committee were faculty and staff members Anne Osborne, Hua Jiang, Wes Whiteside, Ulf Osterle and Jeffery Mangram, and students Herve Magaribi Lehani, Aminata Sylla and Michael Spenser.
“The Newhouse School is committed to a diverse enrollment, faculty, staff and curriculum to prepare the next generation of communications professionals,” says Charles W. Stevens ’77, principal at Global Writers Group and a member of the Newhouse Advisory Board. “Creating this new position is just another demonstration of the school’s commitment to diversity. Leaders in journalism and other communications fields can count on Newhouse to produce graduates who reflect and share those values.”
Thanks to the commitment of Newhouse School alumni and partners, three new industry partnerships have been established to benefit students from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups.
“We are committed to increasing the diversity of our student body and, ultimately, of the workforce. These new opportunities don’t just benefit students, they also benefit our partner companies with an influx of young talent and new perspectives on the communications industry of today,” says Newhouse dean Mark J. Lodato.
Diversity Fellow at DKC
Melissa Chessher, Newhouse’s interim associate dean of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, and public relations professor of practice Brad Horn worked with alumnus Dave Donovan ’92 to set up a Diversity Fellowship at New York City-based public relations agency DKC. Donovan is executive director of DKC / DKC Sports.
“Giving back, mentoring and positively impacting future leaders is central to our mission at DKC and quite significant to me personally as a proud Newhouse alum,” Donovan says. “We look forward to collaborating with Syracuse University and its talented faculty and students to maximize this unique fellowship program.”
The annual paid summer fellowship is open to graduate or undergraduate students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. Students spend the summer working at the company’s New York City headquarters, where they experience the agency’s dynamic, cross-sector practice areas and are exposed to external client work that jives with their own areas of interest and career aspirations. Students also create content such as press releases and media resource materials.
“We’re thrilled to further strengthen our relationship with DKC and create this incredible, sustained opportunity,” Chessher says. “We are committed to building out new career pathways and creating these real-world, world-class experiences for our students.”
Michael Ras Tafari Spencer, a graduate student in public relations, is the inaugural fellow.
“I can’t wait to start my diversity fellowship at DKC because I believe the program is setting me up to embark on a career,” Spencer says. “I want to gain experience and develop my professional insight, but most of all, I want to get connected with the people who have fought to open the doors for people like me.”
Diversity in Media Internship at Fairchild Media Group
Facilitated by Tara Donaldson G’12, executive editor of WWD, a new Diversity in Media Internship program at Fairchild Media Group offers three eight-week, paid internships for Newhouse students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.
“The opportunity to make space for more people of color in media is really an honor for me—and, even more importantly, voices in media should reflect global diversity, so this just brings us one step closer to where we need to be,” says Donaldson, who is head of diversity, equity and inclusion for Fairchild Media Group. “And to do this all with Newhouse, which provided me with so many of the tools to get me where I am today, just adds to the significance of this moment.”
Students are placed at three Fairchild publications: WWD, Footwear News and Sourcing Journal. The program also offers mentorship opportunities, career development workshops, networking opportunities and a chance to learn the ins-and-outs of covering the full end-to-end fashion industry. At the culmination of the internship, the three students collectively present a program project to leaders across Fairchild Media Group and the greater Penske Media Corp. In doing so, the students are able to demonstrate their understanding of the nuances across fashion and the supply chain and convey their acquired skills to mentors and potential hiring managers.
Elijah Brown, a junior in broadcast and digital journalism, Ayana Herndon, a senior in magazine, and Paola Gonzalez Torres, a graduate student in magazine, news and online journalism, are the inaugural interns.
Carol Cone ON PURPOSE Diversity Fellowship
Kelly Barnett, director of Newhouse’s Career Development Center, worked with Carol Cone, CEO of consultancy Carol Cone ON PURPOSE, to create a virtual paid internship for diverse and underrepresented groups.
“As more students and young professionals seek roles in the field of purpose, we wanted to bring more diverse individuals into this critical career path,” says Carol Cone, the company’s founder and CEO. “For purpose, ESG [Environmental, Social and Governance] and sustainability initiatives to be truly authentic and reflective of the world we live in, the professionals developing such strategies must come from diverse backgrounds. We are delighted to partner with Newhouse.”
The summer fellow will work as a junior team member on key accounts for the agency, which serves organizations and brands whose mission is social impact beyond profit. Social impact initiatives for clients may be in the fields of plastics recycling, mentoring for youth, affordable housing, regenerative agriculture or overall purpose positioning. The fellow will also perform issue landscape research, contribute to portions of presentations and research for the company’s podcast, “Purpose 360.”
Ezozhon Ismailova, a graduate student in public diplomacy and global communications, is the inaugural fellow.
When junior Lauren Brennan opened Adobe Illustrator to work on a project designing stamps for the Typographic Design class taught by Claudia Strong, she barely knew the software. Despite that, for the first time since the beginning of the class, she felt she had the creative skills to complete the assignment.
As the only design minor in the class, Brennan experienced “imposter syndrome” at first. She had only taken the Introduction to Graphic Design class, and that was remote. When she started the Typographic Design class, she wasn’t sure how to approach the design process. Midway through the class, however, she was confident enough in her design skills to know that even if she didn’t fully understand the software, she could design something great.
And she did. Her stamp series, “Fashion Forward,” which highlighted the fashion contributions of Lupita Nyongo, Michelle Obama, Naomi Campbell and Diana Ross, won gold in the Graphis New Talent Annual 2022 competition.
“The whole class and especially this project pushed me to do many things that, honestly, I didn’t think I was capable of with the skillset that I was going in with,” she says “But it’s definitely rewarding now to see that the hard work pays off.”
Brennan’s gold was one of 30 awards won by students in Strong’s Typographic Design class, including two golds, 10 silvers and 18 honorable mentions. It’s a particularly impressive achievement because the competition is international and run by one of the world’s most prestigious publishers in design, advertising, photography and annuals. Students won for a variety of class projects, from brochures to typeface design.
Brennan says the class was pivotal in her understanding of design. While the sheer amount of projects seemed daunting at first, she says they each challenged her in a new way and built upon each other to give her a better understanding of what the design process looks like as a whole.
Strong chose to assign each project with specific goals in mind, like challenging students to work on a small scale in the stamp project or understand the intricacies of typefaces after designing their own. She says the class reflects the goals of the visual communications curriculum at the Newhouse School.
“Rather than forcing students into a pre-determined mold, we encourage all of our students to lean into their interests and instincts and strengths while coursing through the curriculum,” Strong says. “Our goal is to develop curious, adaptable thinkers who harness their individual vision to produce unique professional-level work.”
Sophomore Angelo Garufi, the other gold-winning student in the class, says that without these high expectations, he probably would not have been able to produce that quality of work. At the end of the class, when he revisited his first assignment to revise it for the final portfolio, he could see how much he had improved as a designer.
“It was a rigorous class. I learned a lot and I enjoyed it,” Garufi says. “We were held to a high standard, so we made high-quality work.”
Brennan agrees that the pressure to produce professional-caliber work was motivating, particularly because she knew Strong believed she could produce work at that level.
“It’s nice to have someone pushing you because that means they know that you are capable of what they are asking you to do,” Brennan says. “I think just having professors around you that are constantly encouraging you to do things or giving you advice [is] reassuring, that they trust that you have the capability.”
For Strong, submitting students’ work to the Graphis competition is all about showing students how capable they really are.
“I want these young design students to know that good work gets noticed, that hard work pays off, that they are talented, and that their future is at hand,” Strong says. “Placing at any level is a tremendous confidence boost and comes just in time to confirm their decision to become designers and propel them into the rest of their career here at Newhouse and beyond.”
Elizabeth Kauma is a senior in the magazine program at the Newhouse School.
Two professors from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications who are working on the development of technology to detect manipulated media and combat the spread of fake news are supported by a subcontract that now tops $1.1 million, thanks to a recent expansion.
Jason Davis, research professor and co-director of the Real Chemistry Emerging Insights Lab, and Regina Luttrell, associate dean for research and creative activity, will continue to work on refining a theoretical framework for the creation and testing of AI algorithms that can identify manipulated media. In addition, they will expand the scope of their research to include new modalities such as image, video and audio manipulations. They will collaborate with researchers from private industry and academia.
“While the challenges associated with fake news and misinformation may not be new, the speed, scale and global impact created by digital media channels certainly is,” Davis says. “This research effort underscores Newhouse’s continuing commitment to addressing some of today’s most challenging problems and contributing to solutions with global impact. It is our intention that this research will help develop solutions that can detect and combat the effects of disinformation across a rapidly evolving digital landscape.”
The subcontract is part of the Semantic Forensics program, funded by an $11.9 million Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contract with PAR Government Systems Corp. The program seeks to create a system for automatic detection, attribution and characterization of falsified media assets.
Davis and Luttrell will continue to grow a team of doctoral, masters and undergraduate student researchers, based in the Real Chemistry Emerging Insights Labs, to assist with the research.
Idalia Quinteros is a junior advertising major from Miami. She transferred to the Newhouse School after completing two years at a community college. She is a reporter on CitrusTV’s Spanish-language news program, “Noticias.” Like many Newhouse students, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to study in communications at first, but after a couple of classes, she felt her chosen major click for her.
“The thing I was worried about advertising was that I don’t consider myself a creative person,” Quinteros says, “but then I discovered, there’s this base to the creative, which is a strategic and account planning. When I started using the programs to do research on target audiences, that’s where I started seeing myself more.”
She says she loves how hands-on the professors are, and how they crack jokes and do exercises in class to illustrate concepts.
“I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, this is what an advertising class is like, this is so fun!” Quinteros says. “I’m so down for it.”
Quinteros is like many Newhouse students in her enthusiasm and her hopes for the future, but she’s different from most Newhouse students in one fundamental way.
“For half of my childhood, I lived in El Salvador,” she says. “I was three when my dad came to the U.S., and then my mom left a year later. I stayed with my grandparents from [the age of] four to eight years old, and then later I reunited with [my parents] here.”
Quinteros arrived in Miami in 2008, just months shy of the cutoff for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status.
“I’m a Dreamer in the sense that I’m undocumented,” Quinteros says, “but not in the sense that I have DACA [benefits].”
For instance, Quinteros says, students with DACA can apply for a driver’s license. They can get social security cards, so they can work. They can apply for a credit card. But even with those benefits, students with DACA can’t get federal aid, and they can’t travel outside of the country.
“It’s a few benefits,” Quinteros says, “but you have a status.”
For Quinteros, navigating an education without even those few benefits was challenging.
“I don’t think any college or university really rejects students based on status,” Quinteros says, “but they will say, ‘We can’t give you any money.’”
Even in-state tuition can be inaccessible for undocumented students, despite having lived in these states for as long as they can remember. Quinteros was lucky; there is a law in Florida that granted her in-state tuition for community college, and she was also awarded a scholarship. Community college, however, was only for two years; if Quinteros wanted to get a full bachelor’s degree, she was going to have to transfer to a four-year school.
“I applied to the University of Miami, which is crazy expensive,” she says. “When I got the rejection email, they blatantly told me, ‘We see that you’re not a citizen and we can’t give you any aid, so we’re not going to accept you.’ That was like the first time I had gotten a rejection like that.”
A friend who had gone to Syracuse and received financial aid recommended that Quinteros apply.
“She told me Syracuse was a good school and that they helped her out financially,” Quinteros says. “Then I also found out about the schools here, which were really good, like Newhouse.”
Quinteros applied, was accepted and was offered financial aid, so she packed her bags and came to Syracuse.
Huey Hsaio, associate director of multicultural affairs, says that Syracuse University is empathetic toward students like Quinteros. “We understand that DACA/undocumented students and students with ‘mixed-status families’ might feel daunted by the challenges of navigating higher education. However, we are committed to supporting their success at the University,” Hsaio says.
But even with the support, Quinteros says that pursuing a college education is not easy. Despite having lived in the U.S. for most of her life, she has no access to federal student aid packages, she can’t get a job to pay her bills and she can’t participate in the paid internships that give her professional experience in her field. These struggles are a big part of the reason she wants to talk about her undocumented status, even though she understands there are risks involved.
“The biggest risk is my whole future… being deported,” Quinteros says. “I take the risk because if I don’t speak about it, nothing in my future is going to change.”
Quinteros is undaunted by these risks, however, because she believes in the power of communications.
“[I want to] bring more awareness,” she says. [I want to] hopefully make things better for someone, at least one person. When I tell someone and then they asked me questions, it makes me realize that I need to keep doing this so that more people can keep asking questions and more people can care about it.”
Even with the challenges she faces being undocumented, Quinteros is grateful for the opportunities she’s had, and dreams about one day having a job in the United States that will sponsor her work visa.
But, like many of her fellow Newhouse students, she’s got a few dreams about what she wants to do once she’s able to work.
“I have two dream jobs,” she says. “One is working for a sports team, maybe a women’s soccer team. [I would also love to go into] communications for nonprofits, maybe trying to do something for the undocumented community, since I’ve already set kind of my foot in there.”
Each spring, the Newhouse School recognizes those students whose dedication, ingenuity, academic excellence and creativity exhibit extraordinary talent and effort.
2022 Syracuse University Scholars
Ghael Fobes Mora
Thomas J. Shaw
2022 Newhouse Class Marshals
Chelsea B. Stern
Morgan C. Tucker
2022 Newhouse Scholars
Ghael Fobes Mora
Thomas J. Shaw
2022 Graduate Master’s Prize
Sherman Patrick Hardy
Mary Zoretski Key Award
Dean’s Service Award
Newhouse First-Year Achievement Award
Harry d. Meyers Memorial Prize in Advertising
Deborah Fink Green Award
Most Promising Advertising Student
Advertising Department Award for Academic Excellence
Advertising Student of the Year
Bandier Program Innovator/Operator Award
Bandier Program Leadership Award
Don Edwards Broadcast Journalism Award
Radio-TV-News Power Producer Award
Beth Mowins ’90 Award in Broadcast Journalism
Bob Heisler Award For Excellence
Henry J. Wolff Memorial Prize
Heather L. Fleischman Memorial Scholarship
Maria Riccardi Scholarship
Magazine, News And Digital Journalism Graduate Achievement Award
Henry J. Leader Memorial Prize
Samuel V. Kennedy III Award For Newspaper Editing
Charnice Milton Award For Excellence In Community Journalism
William Glavin Award For Excellence In Magazine Writing
John Mitchell Award for Sports Reporting
Lauretta H. McCaffrey Journalism Prize And Newhouse Award For Journalism Excellence
Public Relations Certificate of Achievement
William Doescher Award for the Outstanding Public Relations Master’s Degree Student
William P. Ehling Award
Chelsea B. Stern
Public Relations Department Chair Award for Leadership
Public Relations Public Service Award
Julie Mendez Diversity and Inclusion Award in Public Relations
Gordon J. Alderman Memorial Prize
A. William Bluem Award
Edward L. Hersh Award
Bridgit M. Patterson
Glenn Steinfast Award for Excellence in Documentary Film Production
Rowan Elizabeth Ide
Stan Alten Excellence in Audio Award
Zak Trifone Love of Life and Music Award
Irene M. Sholkin Prize in Script Writing
George Plavocos Radio Achievement Award
Prize in Graphic Design
Prize in Motion Graphics
Natalia Deng Yuan
Bertram J. Davis Scholar Award
Dr. Frank Meola Photography Prize
Jeff Licata Photography Award
Society for News Design/Marshall Matlock Student Designer of the Year Award
Catherine l. Covert Research Award
Phoebe Smith – Honorable Mention
David Rubin First Amendment Prize
Excellence in Web Development and Coding
Soo Min Seol
Oh, The Places You’ll Go/ Rafferty Award
A majority of U.S. journalists say they have been abused and threatened.
According to a survey conducted by researchers at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, a majority of journalists working in news media across the U.S. say they have faced verbal abuse, and about a third have received threats from a variety of sources—likely a reflection of bitter political divides, social media use and the stress of the COVID pandemic.
Female journalists were 7-to-14 times more likely to have experienced sexism and about 10 times more likely to have encountered threats of sexual violence, both online and offline.
However, journalists’ professional satisfaction in their work, and the degree of freedom they feel they have to do it, appear to be up slightly compared to a decade ago.
These are among the initial findings of “The American Journalist Under Attack.” The study, based on an online survey of 1,600 journalists in early 2022, was funded by the Newhouse School and the John Ben Snow Foundation. The authors are Lars Willnat, John Ben Snow Research Professor at the Newhouse School; David H. Weaver, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Indiana University; and Cleve Wilhoit, Professor Emeritus at Indiana University. Survey findings will be published in a book titled “The American Journalist Under Attack: Media, Trust & Democracy.”
The survey continues the series of major national studies of U.S. journalists begun in 1971 by sociologist John Johnstone and continued in 1982, 1992, 2002 and 2013 by Weaver, Wilhoit and their colleagues at Indiana University. Few studies of an occupation as important as journalism can claim a half-century’s analytical perspective on the work, professional attitudes and ethics from large samples of the people working in it.
J. Daniel Pluff ’82 joined WCNY as the host of “On the Money.”
Anthony Calhoun ’96 was inducted to the Clayton Family Circle Wall of Fame.
Amanda Raus ’04 joined WTNH-TV in New Haven as weekend news anchor.
Taj Rani ’09 is a co-host on “Amanda Seales’ Smart Funny & Black Radio” on Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud Sirius XM radio channel.
Tommy Farrell G’18 was hired as the head football coach at Manchester Township High School in New Jersey.
Meghan Mistry ’17 joined “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” as producer.
Scarlett Lisjack G’21 joined KOB 4 in Albuquerque as the Farmington bureau reporter.