Ramasubramanian earns NCA IDEA Scholarship Award

Newhouse Professor Srividya Ramasubramanian is the recipient of the IDEA Scholarship Award from the National Communication Association (NCA). The award recognizes scholarly engagement with inclusion, diversity, equity and access in terms of research, the diffusion and importance of a research program and bringing new insight and understanding to the discipline.

Srividya Ramasubramanian
Srividya Ramasubramanian (Photo by Courtney Glen White)

The honor is part of NCA’s national awards program, which recognizes the best achievements in outstanding teaching, scholarship and professional service.

Ramasubramanian is widely recognized for her pioneering work on race and media, media literacy initiatives, implicit bias reduction and scholar-activism. She is the editor-in-chief of Communication Monographs, the flagship journal of the discipline, and is the first woman of color to hold the position.

She recently was honored with the International Communication Association’s Mass Communications Division Innovation in Theory Award for her article “Critical Media Effects Framework: Bridging Critical Cultural Communication and Media Effects through Power, Intersectionality, Context, and Agency,” published in Journal of Communication in 2020.

At Newhouse, Ramasubramanian is the director of CODE^SHIFT (Collaboratory for Data Equity, Social Healing, Inclusive Futures, and Transformation), which brings together data scientists with social justice scholars.

The IDEA Scholarship Award will be presented in November at the NCA conference in New Orleans.  

Gaggin to publish text on nonprofit communications


Kelly Gaggin, assistant teaching professor in the public relations department at the Newhouse School, is under contract with Routledge to publish the textbook, “Nonprofit Communications: A Mission-driven and Human-centric Approach.”

The textbook introduces a model for campaign planning that is rooted in supporting the mission and values of an organization, while reinforcing the human-centric nature of the sector. The book also explores the unique responsibilities of the nonprofit communicator. Gaggin will leverage her academic expertise and more than two decades of professional experience in the nonprofit sector to ensure that students and practitioners alike build a sufficient foundation in nonprofit communications and gain an understanding of the business aspects of nonprofits.

The book is designed to serve as the primary textbook for courses in communications majors with a focus on the nonprofit sector, and a companion textbook for classes in public service and public administration majors. Additionally, the text features a model of nonprofit communications planning that is ideal for current practitioners in the space.

“The number of students interested in the nonprofit sector is on the rise,” says Gaggin, who was elected to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)’s College of Fellows this past July. “There is a great need for educators and practitioners alike to have the tools to assist them in crafting communications strategies that meet the unique needs of nonprofit organizations, and the people and communities they serve.” 

“Nonprofit Communications: A Mission-driven and Human-centric Approach” is slated for a release in 2023-24.

Two industry professionals join Newhouse NYC team, share insights and experience with students

Two industry professionals have joined the Newhouse School as adjunct instructors for the Newhouse NYC program.

Alumnus Kevin Belbey ’13, G’16, L’16, a sports media agent at Creative Artists Agency, is teaching Communications Law. Danielle Noriega, a strategic partner manager at Meta, is teaching the Social Platforms and Processes course.

“Kevin and Danielle have both been huge supporters of Newhouse NYC as guest lecturers and mentors,” says program director Cheryl Brody Franklin. “They both bring so much experience to the classroom, and I know the students will love hearing about what they are working on.”

Kevin Belbey: Seven years at Syracuse and counting

Kevin Belbey

Belbey’s Syracuse University journey began in eighth grade. The New Jersey native attended a sports broadcasting camp with alumnus Ian Eagle ’90 and was immediately hooked.

“He exposed me to Syracuse, to Newhouse, how great of a program it was,” Belbey says. “Throughout high school, it was my dream to go to Syracuse.”

Belbey eventually earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism, a master’s degree in new media management at the Newhouse School and a law degree at the Syracuse University College of Law.

Belbey says his goal is to modernize the class as much as possible through guest speakers, real-world examples and presentations. At work, he often encounters the legal issues that are covered in class, such as navigating social media sponsorships or working with Federal Trade Commission guidelines. He’ll also cover more recent cases, such as Taylor Swift’s album rights battle.

“It’s a very unique class where it’s a legal class, it’s a law class, but it’s for students who aren’t pursuing a career in law,” Belbey says. “Our goal is to build that baseline foundation and acknowledge that’s necessary to enter the professional communications field, but try to make it as interactive as possible, as timely as possible.”

Belbey says students who are entering the industry must understand legal issues like journalists’ rights or how free speech applies to social media. He says he feels the course is more relevant now than ever before.

Belbey is most excited to build connections with students.

“I think it’s a beautiful thing to have students from the different majors in comm law together to be able to bring different perspectives,” he says.

Danielle Noriega: Reaching global audiences from the classroom

Danielle Noriega

Noriega didn’t realize the power of audience engagement and social media until she was able to reach people in Venezuela from her dorm room in New Jersey when she was a student at Rutgers University.

In college, Noriega launched a show that focused on Latinx issues in both the United States and Latin America. After an internship working with emerging social media platforms, she quickly realized the global influence she could have.

“I never thought that people would say, ‘Thank you for bringing light to these issues,’” she says. “I was like, ‘Maybe this is something I want to work into.’”

Noriega went on to land a job at Facebook, now Meta, and has since traveled to newsrooms  around the world, including in Latin America, the Middle East and North America, talking to journalists about how they can grow their audiences.

Noriega launched Facebook for Student Journalists, which took her to different college campuses where she would teach students how to build a social media presence.

“What stands out most to me is [Noriega’s] desire to look back and share what she knows with young people, particularly those most overlooked,” says Simone Oliver, former global editor-in-chief of Refinery29, who previously taught the course and is a mentor to Noriega. “The way students respond to her is remarkable and exciting, and her background in crafting curriculum for social-first journalists around the world is going to translate really well.”

Noriega says she’s consistently impressed with young people in the industry who ask important questions and want to be as informed as possible. Students today are extremely open-minded and vocal, and know what they want to get out of the industry, she says.

“[Students] are the trendsetters,” Noriega says. “Even though I’m the professor, I’m the one who’s learning.”

Noriega says she’s excited to dive into topics like building personal brands, social media strategies, audience engagement and students’ social reach. She’s also looking forward to incorporating her own personal stories into class, and sharing her experiences with students.

But above all, Noriega says she wants to be a resource for students as they enter the industry. As a first-generation Latina college graduate, she’s looking forward to providing students with some of the support that she didn’t necessarily get in school, even if that’s just learning how to fill out a financial aid form or combatting “imposter syndrome” in their first job.

“I’m really excited to share whatever wisdom I have along the way,” she says.

Maggie Hicks is a senior in the magazine, news and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.

Syracuse University Part of a Team Awarded $60 Million USDA Grant to Promote Climate-Smart Commodities

Three Newhouse School faculty members—Jason Davis, Regina Luttrell and Erika Schneider—are investigators on the project.

Syracuse University is a leading partner in a multi-university project that aims to increase supply and demand for climate-smart commodities produced and manufactured in New York state, supported by a new grant from the USDA’s Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities. The $60 million project is led by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Agriculture and Markets.

A climate-smart commodity is an agricultural commodity that is produced using farming, ranching or forestry practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon. As project partner, Syracuse will lead one of the four primary focus areas. Over the next five years, Syracuse University researchers will develop and expand existing markets and develop new markets for climate-smart commodities produced in New York State—benefiting the environment, farmers and manufacturing sectors alike.

“Both governments and industry around the world are rapidly committing to a net-zero carbon economy, and in order to meet these grand challenges, the industries of today will need to find low carbon and green-tech alternatives for which biobased feedstocks and products will play a critical role,” says Jay Golden, Pontarelli Professor of Environmental Sustainability and Finance in Syracuse University’s Maxwell School and director of the Dynamic Sustainability Lab, who is the project’s principal investigator from Syracuse.

The interdisciplinary team from Syracuse, working in collaboration with Cornell University, SUNY-ESF, New York State agencies and additional public and private partners, includes faculty and student researchers from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, the School of Information Studies, the Newhouse School of Public Communications and the Whitman School of Management. In addition, the team will work in partnership with Syracuse University Libraries’ Blackstone LaunchPad to develop a pipeline of new green tech and climate-smart innovators with a focus on developing new climate-smart businesses in underserved communities.

Faculty from Syracuse University include:

“Our Syracuse team will be at the global forefront of this effort by providing public and private decision makers the ability to track and verify low and zero carbon feedstocks through the value chain; to develop important incentives and polices to support market demand; and to model the environmental, climate and economic/jobs benefit to New York and America,” Golden continued. “The anticipated climate-smart commodities will serve as a platform for a new generation of low-carbon chemicals, fuels and energy sources, as well as building and construction materials and a vast array of consumer products to support the transition to a net-zero carbon economy,” he added.

Student work wins top honors in Online Journalism Awards competition

Recent Newhouse School graduate Kate Brennan ’22 is the winner in the Individual Student Portfolio category of the 2022 Online Journalism Awards competition. She was honored her in-depth multimedia reporting project, “Aloha ʻāina,

Brennan spent two years developing the project, which tells the story of the ongoing debate between Native Hawaiians and the science community over a proposed large-scale telescope. In summer 2021, she traveled to Mauna Kea to interview individuals on both sides of the debate. During her senior year, she worked with communications design major Madeline Coyte and faculty members Shelvia Dancy and Jon Glass to create an engaging interactive digital story in conjunction with The NewsHouse. She completed the work as part of her Renée Crown Honors Program capstone project.

The win was announced today at the Online News Association’s annual conference in Los Angeles.

This is the second year in a row that the work of Newhouse students has been recognized by the Online Journalism Awards; The 61% Project earned the Student Team Portfolio honor in 2021.

Celebrating sneaker culture: Graphic design student’s work is featured at Detroit exhibit

The work of graphic design senior Matt Brodsky is part of a monthlong exhibit in Detroit celebrating sneaker culture.

Brodsky has three digital portraits on display at the Sneaker House art installation, which celebrates and highlights sneaker culture through visually dynamic displays and artwork. The exhibit is part of Design Core Detroit and sponsored by Foot Locker.

Soles series of portraits by Newhouse student Matt Brodsky
Brodsky’s featured portraits, part of his “Soles” series, are “LeBron,” “Carmelo” and “Serena.” He created “Serena” as a high school student.

Brodsky’s portraits, part of the design series, “Soles,” are collages made from pieces of sneakers. He says he first found creative inspiration while growing up in Chicago, where the Michael Jordan and the Bulls meant sneaker culture was strong. He started making sneaker art in high school, eventually creating an independent study making sneaker portraits and creating art on commission for family and friends.

At the Newhouse School, he has continued to develop his work with support from professors like Adam Peruta, Renée Stevens and Ken Harper.

“Matt’s artwork is compelling and unique. What I’m most excited about is watching him push the boundaries and take his work to emerging platforms—I’m thrilled to see it extend to augmented reality and NFTs,” Peruta says. “Matt is taking advantage of all that Newhouse offers to help turn his vision into a reality.”

Matt Brodsky at exhibit
Brodsky at the opening of the Sneaker House art installation in Detroit earlier this month

He is currently working on a project called “Soleless,” which allows people to buy trading cards featuring his art and potentially win a pair of sneakers. The cards are sold at J Michael Shoes and Shirt World on Marshall Street.

“Syracuse University has allowed me to explore so many routes for how to market and enhance my artwork,” he says. “I’m extremely thankful for the opportunities and motivation to see where my artistic skills can take me.”

Visit Brodsky’s portfolio site to view more of his work, or follow him on Instagram at @mattbrodesign.

Syracuse University Human Rights Film Festival Celebrates 20 Years

The Syracuse University Human Rights Film Festival (SUHRFF) celebrates 20 years of programming with outstanding films about human rights and social justice from around the world. SUHRFF takes place Sept. 22-24, and is part of Syracuse Symposium 2022-23: REPAIR. It is presented by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the Syracuse University Humanities Center in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Tula Goenka
Tula Goenka

“When I started the Human Rights Film Festival 20 years ago, I never imagined that we would sustain the energy and momentum over two decades, or that it would become an eagerly awaited annual event for our Syracuse University campus community,” says festival founder Tula Goenka, professor of television, radio and film at the Newhouse School. Roger Hallas, associate professor of English and SUHRFF co-director, ascribes the festival’s staying power to a combination of factors. “We’ve been able to build an audience among students, faculty, staff and the Syracuse public by consistently programming what we believe to be the most interesting, stimulating and vital films to emerge from the international film festival circuit.”

Adds Goenka, “Roger and I have programmed several films for the University community before they’ve gained wider recognition or success, such as Joshua Oppenheimer’s Oscar-nominated ‘The Act of Killing’ (2012) or Rudy Valdez’s ‘The Sentence’ (2019), which won an Emmy for exceptional merit in documentary filmmaking.”

Roger Hallas

Hallas also points out that he and Goenka work hard to build enriching experiences for students and visiting filmmakers, who interact with one another during post-screening Q&As and smaller special events where they discuss social justice storytelling in greater depth.

“The Syracuse University Human Rights Film Festival is a prime example of the important work of our faculty,” says Newhouse dean Mark J. Lodato. “It builds community and provides our students with the opportunity to view and understand the world in new ways. Kudos to Professor Goenka for creating this initiative and sustaining it for 20 years.”

Syracuse University faculty also praise the festival for providing students with intellectual and social engagement both in and out of their coursework. While many instructors incorporate the festival’s films into their course syllabi, others appreciate the festival’s capacity to broaden campus discussions of major issues.

Vivian May, director of the Humanities Center, says, “We are delighted to once again partner with SUHRFF to celebrate its 20th year as part of our annual Syracuse Symposium public event series. Film is an important medium for forging dialogue, offering an immersive experience and bridging divides. Social justice storytelling is essential in our collective pursuit of a more just world for all, locally and globally.”  

SUHRFF began as “Illuminating Oppression” in 2003, when Goenka collaborated with the international social justice organization Breakthrough to program a series of films focused on human rights issues in South Asia. The program was broadened to showcase films from across the world in 2007. Mallika Dutt, founder and former president and CEO of Breakthrough, says, “It has been an honor and delight for me to collaborate with my genius friend Tula to create the first South Asian human rights film festival in the United States in 2003 as a partnership between Breakthrough and Syracuse University. As the festival celebrates 20 years of highlighting multiple forms of justice, I want to congratulate everyone involved for their ongoing commitment to global social change.”

When Hallas joined Goenka as co-director in 2010, they collaborated with the Mellon Central New York Humanities Corridor to organize the first Digital Witness Symposium as part of the festival. The symposium, which ran for five years, invited scholars, media makers and human rights leaders to discuss how the digital revolution was transforming human rights media.

“Tantura,” investigates how difficult the repair work of peace building becomes when one side refuses to recognize the historical trauma endured by the other. (Beno Rothenberg collection. Courtesy of the Israel State Archives. All rights reserved.)

The 2022 Syracuse Symposium theme of “Repair” proved a powerful inspiration for this year’s program, according to Goenka. The opening film, “Tantura,” investigates how difficult the repair work of peace building becomes when one side refuses to recognize the historical trauma endured by the other. The film will be screened on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse 3. Israeli filmmaker Alon Schwarz will introduce the film and participate in a Q&A session following the screening.

SUHRFF continues with “Framing Agnes,” Chase Joynt’s playful but deeply moving documentary about the everyday lives of trans people in mid-century Los Angeles. Joynt uses inventive formal devices to repair trans histories so long beholden to the power of medical science. The film will be screened on Friday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse 3. Joynt will introduce the film and participate in a Q&A session following the screening.

SUHRFF concludes on Saturday, Sept. 24, with three films: “Hidden Letters,” “Aftershock” and “Rehana Maryam Noor,” which explore the necessary work of repair in the process of empowerment against diverse forms of gendered and racial discrimination in China, the United States and Bangladesh.

Festival co-sponsors are the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics; Atrocity Studies and the Practices of Social Justice Minor; Department of Anthropology; Department of Film and Media Arts; Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics; Department of Political Science; Department of Religion; Latino- Latin American Studies Program; Jewish Studies Program; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Studies Program; Renée Crown University Honors Program; Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC); Hendricks Chapel; Lender Center for Social Justice; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Resource Center; Office of Diversity and Inclusion; and South Asia Center.

Festival supporters are the Department of Art & Music Histories; Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies; Department of English; Department of History; Department of Women’s and Gender Studies; Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition; Asian/Asian American Studies Program; Disability Cultural Center; and South Asian Student Association (SASA).

All films are closed-captioned or subtitled and audio described in English. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is available during all Q&A sessions. If you require other accommodations, contact Amanda Lerch at alerch@syr.edu or 315.443.2150.

Free parking is available to the public on Thursday and Friday at the University Avenue Garage, and on Saturday at either the College Place or Women’s Building lots. Drivers should indicate to the attendant that they are attending the film festival.

Full information is available online at suhrff.syr.edu. Follow on social media at #SUHRFF.

WCNY-TV’s ‘Ivory Tower’ celebrates 20 years

Twenty years ago, Newhouse Dean Emeritus David Rubin sat down with faculty members from several Central New York colleges and universities to discuss current political and societal issues.

The setting was the WCNY-TV studios. The occasion was the launch of “Ivory Tower,” the station’s weekly public affairs program. Rubin served as the show’s first moderator; panelists were Kristi Andersen of the Maxwell School, Glenn Altschuler of Cornell University, Bob Greene of Cazenovia College, Tara Ross of Onondaga Community College and Bob Spitzer of SUNY Cortland. Barbara Fought of the Newhouse School has served as substitute moderator for the show’s whole run.

Tonight, a live one-hour special will celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary. It airs at 8 p.m. on WCNY-TV.

Over the course of two decades, “Ivory Tower” has served as the backbone of local programming on WCNY-TV, focusing on on news and events from the perspective of academicians.

“We highly value the platform that ‘Ivory Tower’ affords us to discuss the major local and national issues of the day in front of an intelligent public television audience,” Rubin said in 2015. “If we can influence the public debate for that audience even a little bit, we are very satisfied.”

Rubin retired in 2016 and stepped down from his role as moderator. Fought and David Chanatry of Utica College have both served in the role since then.

In addition to Fought, Ross and Andersen, current panelists are Anirban Acharya of Le Moyne College, Ben Baughman of Cazenovia College, Chad Sparber of Colgate University, Luke Perry of Utica University, Nina Moore of Colgate University, Ty Seidule of Hamilton College, Rick Fenner of Utica University and Michael Tillotson of SUNY Cortland.

“Ivory Tower” airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET and again on Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. ET on WCNY-TV. It’s also available for streaming at wcny.org.

The panel in 2019, from left: Lisa Dolak, Kristi Andersen, Bob Greene, David Chanatry, producer/director Doug Moreau, Barbara Fought, David Rubin, Tara Ross and Bob Spitzer
The panel in 2016, from left: Lisa Dolak, Kristi Andersen, Holly Rine, Bob Greene, David Chanatry, David Rubin, Barbara Fought, Tara Ross, Tim Byrnes and Bob Spitzer
David Chanatry (left) and David Rubin in 2016
On the set in 2017

New podcast showcases research and creative work of Newhouse School faculty and students

In an effort to showcase the wide-ranging research and creative work of Newhouse School faculty and students, a new podcast, “Newhouse Impact,” will launch this month.  

The podcast, created in partnership with WAER, is the brainchild of Regina Luttrell, associate dean for research and creative activity at Newhouse, and Kevin Kloss, content and operations manager at WAER.  

“Our faculty and students are always engaged in innovative projects across the communications spectrum,” Luttrell says. “I’m excited we will have the opportunity to highlight the stories and the people that make Newhouse great by celebrating the many accomplishments of our faculty and students on WAER.”  

In each episode, Kloss sits down with a different faculty member or student to chat about their work. “There is so much amazing work being done at Newhouse,” he says. “To be able to bring that expertise to an on-demand audience is something we are very excited about.”  

The first episode, which airs Sept. 27, features Newhouse doctoral student Stan Jastrzebski, who discusses power dynamics and generational change in public media. Future episodes will include “Social Activism Hits Broadway” with alumna Samantha Aaronson ‘22 (October); a panel discussion about the Black Media Mogul Maker initiative with assistant professor Daniela Molta, Sean Branagan, director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, and College of Law student Zebedayo Masongo (November); and “The Art of the Obituary” with Eric Grode, director of the Goldring arts journalism and communications program (December); and “The Importance of Data Journalism” with Nausheen Husain, assistant professor of magazine, news and digital journalism/broadcast and digital journalism (January). 

The podcast is the latest in a series of initiatives designed to bring more attention to research and creative activity at the Newhouse School. The Newhouse Symposium, a biannual daylong event featuring presentations from faculty and students, was launched last fall. This summer saw the debut of a new publication, also called Newhouse Impact, that highlights the research and creative endeavors taking place in the school.  

How to Listen 

“Newhouse Impact” can be heard on Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Apple Podcasts (iTunes) and WAER.org.

Welcome to Campus

Hundreds of new students joined the Newhouse School this summer, marking the start of the 2022-23 academic year.

At an opening event Aug. 26, the school welcomed 602 new undergraduate students, including 530 incoming first-year students as well as 15 external transfer students and 57 internal transfer students. Collectively they represent 35 U.S. states and six countries, and have an average high school GPA of 3.9. Thirty percent of them are students from underrepresented groups.

Earlier in the summer, on July 5, 160 new master’s students arrived at the school. They hail from 28 states and 12 countries, with 37% from underrepresented groups.

The new Newhouse students embark on their inaugural year alongside several new faculty members.

Meanwhile, Newhouse spirit is thriving in the school’s three off-campus programs: Newhouse DC, Newhouse LA and Newhouse NYC. The brand-new Washington program enrolled five students this semester, while 35 students went to Los Angeles and 18 to New York City.

Dean Mark Lodato welcomes new Newhouse School students at the Schine Student Center.
Newhouse School dean Mark J. Lodato welcomed new students at a convocation in the Schine Student Center’s Goldstein Auditorium Aug. 26.