Broadcast and digital journalism senior discusses diversity and thriving under pressure

Aicha Sacko
Aicha Sacko

Aicha Sacko came to Syracuse University as an undeclared major in the College of Arts and Sciences. In the Spring 2021 semester, the broadcast and digital journalism senior transferred to the Newhouse School. Though she faced parental pressure to enter the medical field, Sacko—a first-generation college student—knew she wanted to be a journalist. At Newhouse she covers social justice stories, champions diversity and takes on every challenge that’s handed to her with determination.

What is your background ?

My mom and dad are both from Mali, which is a country on the west side of Africa. They did not have a formal education. I am the first person ever to go to a private institution, and to get a full ride. I’ll be the first person ever to graduate in the entire Sacko family.

How has your culture contributed to the stories you want to cover?

Oh, it plays a huge role. I only do social justice beats and I only do things that are important to me. I’m always doing stories on the south side of the Syracuse community. The last story I did was about how the I-81 highway is too close to the predominantly Black elementary and middle school, the Martin Luther King Jr. School. I don’t feel obligated to do it, but I am going to do those stories because those are the stories that interest me. Those are the stories that I want to put out on my platform.

What are your extracurricular activities? 

I do the Z89 radio where I run the hip-hop station. I’m not really in any particular organizations on campus, but I work with a nonprofit organization called the Know Your Rights camp. We travel to different cities where we teach predominantly Black and Brown kids about their rights when they’re interacting with police, literacy and technology. 

How does it feel being a student of color at the Newhouse School? 

It’s very intimidating. When I first transferred into Newhouse, I doubted myself because the people didn’t look like me. I had a completely different background from everybody. I believe in social justice. As a journalist, you’re not supposed to pick sides, they tell you you’re supposed to stay neutral. It was very challenging. But being the person that I am, I’m able to get through anything. I liked the challenge, because I like it when I can prove to myself that I am worthy of being in the school and I’m at the right place. So even though it’s challenging and intimidating at the same time, it’s nothing that I can’t handle. 

How do you think Newhouse can contribute to increasing diversity? 

I think they need to acknowledge that not everybody comes from the same background, and not everybody has money. And when you don’t realize those things, you create barriers for other groups. If you can acknowledge that there are other groups and they’re just as important, then you will start to see a change in how you do things, and you will see a change in how you include people. 

What pressures do you feel now that you have committed to a career in broadcast journalism?

My mom and dad both wanted me to be a doctor, so it’s a lot of pressure. Coming from a family who came a long way just to have you succeed, they put that pressure on you all the time. So I always had the pressure to graduate, to do good, to not fail and to always succeed. I know where I came from. I know I cannot afford to lose or fail. I had to keep working. I also put pressure on myself because I go to Newhouse, which is a top program for journalism. And I have to do well, so the pressure comes from all around, but that pressure only allows me to become better. 

How do you see diversity improving in the upcoming years at Newhouse and the overall industry? 

I can see more people who look like me, more people of color going here. I think I can see that the National Association for Black Journalists is growing bigger and bigger. And I can also see the graduate students and the undergraduate students joining forces, because honestly, we’re all that we have. So I really do hope that in the next couple of years, it becomes more inclusive.

Sarah Torres is a first-year student in the magazine, news and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School and the political science program at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Newhouse students, professors and alumna credited in New York Times article

Every 10 years since 1952, the British Film Institute releases Sight and Sound magazine’s Greatest Films of All Time, a list of cinema’s top 100 achievements. The list draws from polls submitted by international film critics, distributors, writers, curators and more. 

Eric Grode

Recognizing the once-a-decade opportunity, Eric Grode—director of the Newhouse School’s Goldring arts journalism and communications program and regular contributor to The New York Times—wanted to compare past lists with the upcoming one. 

“I have been a fan of this list for a long, long time,” he says. “When I realized that the 2022 list would be coming out at some point, I reached out to my film editor at The Times and said, ‘I think this could make for an interesting article.’”

Late in the Spring 2022 semester, Grode built a team of Newhouse students and faculty to assist him in collecting, inputting and analyzing the data. 

Katherine Kiessling
Katherine Kiessling G’22

He recruited alumna Katherine Kiessling G‘22, who graduated from the Goldring program in May, and assistant professor Alex Richards. Richards’ background in data journalism benefitted him in his role as a “big safety net” in the fact-checking part of the process. 

“The thing I was able to do was help them assemble the data—in the format that it needed to be—so that they could analyze it and ask all these questions and get all these answers for the piece,” he says. “But also I just made sure that [the data] didn’t have any issues that could derail their answers.”

Richards invited Abigail Baughan and Julia Virnelli—both students in his Foundations of Data and Digital Journalism course and juniors in the magazine, news and digital journalism program—to also contribute to the article. 

Abigail Baughan

“The project serves as yet another reminder for me why Newhouse has been a great fit,” Baughan says. “We have access to professors who are so knowledgeable in their fields and interests and are willing to take the time to work with students.”

Baughan and Virnelli analyzed the lists, built a large spreadsheet from the results and extracted noteworthy information, producing trends that Grode expanded upon in the article. 

“I’ve interned for newspapers before, but nothing to this scale,” Virnelli says. “It was definitely intimidating, but I’ve always been a huge fan of The New York Times.”

Julia Virnelli

Kiessling combed through Virnelli and Baughan’s large data compilations to find more trends, “using my film knowledge and my pop culture knowledge to create a story,” she says. 

Baughan notes that one of the challenges of data-driven writing is the uncertainty of what kind of story the data will tell, but both students say the experience allowed them to use skills they learned in class in a tangible way.

Alex Richards
Alex Richards

“I’m really glad they were interested in doing this work,” Richards says. “And I’m really proud of the result and all the work that they put into it.”

Grode incorporated the trends throughout his article which overflows with graphics, charts and details about the most influential films of all time like “Vertigo” and “Citizen Kane”.

Though research started in May, delays in the official list’s release extended the team’s work into late fall. On Dec. 2, “What Makes a Movie the Greatest of All Time” was published on The New York Times’ website. In addition to Grode’s main byline, Kiessling, Richards, Baughan and Virnelli are all credited with contributing to the piece.

“It’s pretty surreal,” Kiessling says of that accomplishment. “It still hasn’t quite sunk in.”

Julia Sassoon is a junior public relations major at the Newhouse School.

Madelyn Geyer, content manager at the Newhouse School, also contributed to this article.

At Newhouse, Polina Shemanova is becoming the person she wants to be

Polina Shemanova

It’s Oct. 9, 2022 in Louisville, Kentucky. Polina Shemanova spikes the volleyball. In one swift move, she solidifies a record of 1,701 kills and breaks the previous record of 1,698 career kills held by fellow Syracuse University player Dana Fiume ‘01. But there was a time when Shemanova felt confused while playing the game she loves most.

Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, Shemanova arrived in Central New York in 2017 for her first year at Syracuse University. Though she had been learning English since second grade and was privately tutored in the language as she prepared for college, there was still a challenging adjustment period—from volleyball vocabulary to salutations. 

“The first month [in the U.S.] was the biggest culture shock,” she says. The casual greeting “how are you” was especially confusing.

“When I was a freshman, it was more people being super curious, asking ‘where are you from?’ and ‘what’s your cultural background?’” she says. “I enjoyed the curiosity of other people that sparked right away when you tell them your background. It took me like a month to realize, oh shoot, [how are you] is just a greeting.”

When deciding on her higher education, Shemanova says the ability of Syracuse University student athletes to confidently speak in front of audiences drew her to the school. As an undergraduate, Shemanova majored in communication and rhetorical studies in the College of Visual and Performing Arts and linguistic studies in the College of Arts and Sciences

Polina Shemanova

After graduation, she wanted to continue her volleyball career while nursing an interest in sports media. The Newhouse School was the perfect fit. 

“Anytime that we have current athletes in our program, it is a great opportunity for the other students to really learn more about being a college athlete, not only how to interact with the mass media, but to better understand what college athletes go through on an everyday basis,” says Olivia Stomski, director of Newhouse’s Sports Media Center.

Stomski and Shemanova, who’s majoring in broadcast and digital journalism, first met through a Zoom call and have built a strong connection over Shemanova’s time at Newhouse.

“She’s so positive,” Stomski says. “Her energy is absolutely contagious. The time that I was able to spend with her and our relationship was very much built on her enthusiasm and interest in becoming a grad student here at Newhouse.”  

Shemanova’s life is drastically different from her time as an undergraduate. She has days where she’ll wake up at 4 a.m., workout at 5 a.m., and then attend classes from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Balancing athletics with graduate-level academics has left the student athlete with little spare time in her schedule, but “I love it to death,” she says. 

“All the hours I’ve spent at Newhouse are what make me the person I want to be,” she says. “It’s completely worth it being busy. Time management is everything.” 

Shemanova is organized and ambitious, while also uplifting those around her. 

“When you’re around Polina and even if you’re not interacting with her, one of the things that really sets her apart is that she does her best to bring out the best in others,” Stomski says.

Shemanova recognizes her innate curiosity as an international student, and how that increases her awareness as a journalist. She covered a story on immigrants attending the Northside Learning Center, which offers free English language classes to refugees and immigrants, as well as a story on a woman from Somalia who recently opened up a restaurant in Syracuse.  

While building her broadcast journalism skills in classes, Shemanova reflects on the prestige of Newhouse’s faculty. 

“The fact that someone can learn from a professional still in the industry is amazing,” she says. “Newhouse never sleeps.”

As for the future, Shemanova wants to play volleyball professionally. If that doesn’t work out, she would “love to develop my career in the news world,” she says, while being a color commentator for volleyball on the side. 

Whatever Shemanova does, Stomski won’t be shocked.

“If you told me that she was the president of a network or you told me that she was the leading analyst for the Olympics, nothing would surprise me when it comes to what she’s capable of doing.”

Nico Horning is a first-year student in the broadcast and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.

Dhani Joseph takes on Newhouse DC

Dhani Joseph

Growing up, broadcast and digital journalism sophomore Dhani Joseph understood the importance of education. Taught by his family to always do well in school, Joseph excelled academically. When the Bronx native entered high school, he aspired to a career in the medical field, though his academic strengths skewed more towards his current career goals. 

“I hate math,” he says. “However, I was always good at reading and writing so [I said,] ‘let’s see where this takes me.’” 

Reflection during the COVID-19 pandemic reversed Joseph’s dreams, and he decided to pursue a career in sports journalism at the Newhouse School.

“Even though I didn’t get into sports until middle school, I was always around sports, picking up on all the different commentators,” Joseph says.

As he watched, he was inspired by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Newhouse’s own Mike Tirico ’88 and Bob Costas ’74.

The Newhouse School, “the best communications school in the world,” was the driving force behind Joseph’s decision to attend Syracuse University. He says he knew it was the place for him to learn essential skills “as a journalist and sports commentator, so I can—one day—be one of the greats of Newhouse.”

Joseph is well on his way to being one of the greats as he completes the inaugural semester of Newhouse DC, a one-semester program where students experience working and living in the nation’s capital. They take classes, complete an internship and connect with the vast Newhouse Network. 

L-R: Scott Abraham ’05 and Dhani Joseph at FedEx Field. Photo courtesy of Instagram.

Joseph interns with Pro Sports Outlook where he creates NBA, NFL and MLB content. He recently shadowed his Newhouse DC mentor Scott Abraham ’05—a sports anchor at ABC7/WJLA-TV—at a Washington Commanders game at FedEx Field. Joseph also toured the WJLA studio with Abraham and Michelle Marsh ’05, an Emmy Award winning journalist and anchor. He watched them broadcast the news live and got a chance to sit at the anchor desk.

A self-proclaimed planner, Joseph says the decision to come to Washington, DC was unexpected, but essential.

“I wanted to be a part of the first initial cohort able to experience something brand new to potentially get an edge over my competition… I feel like doing a program like this, with the connections I am making with the sports industry while I’m here is something you can’t take for granted.”

L-R: Scott Abraham ’05, Dhani Joseph and Michelle Marsh ’05 at the WJLA studio in Washington, DC. Photo courtesy of Instagram.

Joseph is not only completing Newhouse DC, a program where he says “the opportunities are endless,” but he’s also in the important role of president of the Syracuse University chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. 

“We have the responsibility of being a resource for Black journalists on campus whether that is giving resources on scholarships, fellowships, potential internships that are around, just being a resource for Black journalists who don’t know where to find these things,” he says.

“We want to be a place you can come to and say ‘Alright Dhani, I’m trying to find this,’ and we will do our best to help you… We try to have a community. Being Black journalists at a predominantly white institution, we try fostering bonds that last throughout these students’ careers.” 

As for the future, Joseph only wants to take on more…and make history at Syracuse University. His goal is to complete all three Newhouse off-campus programs, which would be “pretty historic since most people don’t have a chance to do Newhouse  LA and DC.”

He plans on Newhouse LA next summer and Newhouse NYC in Spring 2024, hoping to get his name on a plaque, too. One down, two to go.

Jacob LeRea is a first-year student in the broadcast and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.

Newhouse senior and alumnus honored with Gary Corcoran Student Prize

Alumnus Michael Garcia G ’21 and magazine, news and digital journalism senior Christopher Hippensteel were awarded the National Center on Disability and Journalism’s inaugural Gary Corcoran Student Prize for Excellence in Reporting on Disability.

This award honors the advocacy of Gary S. Corcoran (1951-2015), a wheelchair user who helped make airlines, transit and public venues in Phoenix accessible.

The winners were formally recognized Nov. 14 at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix.

Michael Garcia G ’21

Garcia, a graduate of the magazine, news and digital journalism program, won first place for his article “The Wilderness Pill,” an expansive piece that explores how outdoor experiences and therapy are used as treatment for veterans with PTSD, anxiety and depression. For him, listening to veteran’s stories was the most remarkable part of the process.

“It was especially rewarding to hear [veteran Dennice Tafolla’s] story and how she’s dealt with PTSD and how the program she did really helped her inner life,” says Garcia, now a suburban reporter and producer for the Houston Chronicle.

His article was published in Upstate Unearthed, a capstone project within Multimedia Projects, a course in the Newhouse School‘s magazine, news and digital journalism program. The course was co-taught by associate professor Adam Peruta and former Newhouse professor Melissa Chessher.

“What’s great about the class is the pairing of Professor Peruta’s skill set— which is very different than my skill set—and giving students creative freedom to tell stories in a multitude of ways, which all journalists have to do, and truly trying to find the best ways to tell those stories,” Chessher says.

The students built Upstate Unearthed from the ground up, creating the website, reporting, researching, editing and even traveling if needed.

“It’s always gratifying when the students are winning awards for these projects because these are really hard projects and stories to pull off in one semester,” Peruta says.

Christopher Hippensteel

Newhouse took not only first, but also second place for this prize. Hippensteel, a senior staff writer for The Daily Orange, won for his article “The PA justice system often fails autistic people. Can these activists and judges bring reform?” published by PublicSource, a nonprofit news organization in Pittsburgh.

He was inspired to write the article after being assigned to cover a series of panels addressing improvements to the Pennsylvania justice system for people with disabilities. Hippensteel wanted to dive deeper, and look “into what the landscape of criminal justice reform efforts are in Allegheny County, and also how the system, as it currently existed, harms people with autism.”

Hippensteel applied for the award over the summer, “not expecting much,” he says. He was shocked when he received the news that he won second place.

“I was definitely surprised,” he says. “Definitely deeply honored. And deeply grateful to the judges at Arizona State University for recognizing me.”

Newhouse experiences and connections pay off for sophomore Jada Knight

Jada Knight

In under two years at Syracuse University, Jada Knight has already made her mark in major ways.

The television, radio and film sophomore’s list of accomplishments is long, from being offered two scholarships before even arriving on campus to attending the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in France this past summer. 

“[Newhouse] has pushed me to go for things that I never would have gone for if I went to college back home,” Knight says. “It’s caused me to think of opportunities that aren’t local, to broaden my horizons, to take the risk and see if I get something.”

Originally from Miami, Knight began at the Newhouse School with double scholarships: the Our Time Has Come Scholarship and the Posse Scholarship

The Our Time Has Come Scholarship Program is run through Syracuse University’s Office of Multicultural Advancement, aiming to bring together minority populations on campus and encouraging them to make connections with one another as well as with Syracuse University alumni. Knight acknowledges the program to be her most important involvement. 

“I’m glad I did it because some of the people I’m really close to now are in the program,” Knight says. “It’s taught me how to speak with people in the industries I might be interested in and it’s taught me how to dress business casual. I never knew what that meant.”

Knight continues to grow as a student and an individual through her Posse Scholarship. It was awarded by The Posse Foundation, a national organization that recruits and trains individuals with leadership potential. She was nominated to apply by a high school peer and was later selected to be one of 10 scholars from Miami, receiving a full tuition scholarship towards her university studies. 

Knight also takes pride in her role as a Newhouse Ambassador, through which she gives prospective students tours and encourages them to explore all that Newhouse has to offer. It’s a fun job on campus that Knight realized has a big payoff. 

“Sometimes you could meet someone very important,” she says. “One time [on a tour I was giving] I met the vice president of cybersecurity at Blackstone Launchpad in New York City. I wouldn’t have met him if I didn’t do that tour.”

Knight in Cannes, France in May 2022.

Knight attended the Cannes Film Festival in May due to her connection with Newhouse alumna and executive editor at Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), Tara Donaldson. Donaldson knew Penske Media Corporation’s—which publishes WWD—Black Affinity Group hoped to sponsor a student’s attendance to the festival, and she immediately thought of Newhouse.

“The Newhouse network can be a powerful tool, both for students looking to learn from alums and for alums looking for the best of the best to hire for new media roles,” Donaldson says. “Whenever I’ve had the opportunity to hire for a role, I look to Newhouse first because I know the education the students are getting is a cut above the rest, and I know these students will emerge with the tools and passion necessary to give their best to a role.”

The future is bright for Knight. This month, she will be representing the Newhouse School at the Journalism Education Association convention in St. Louis, and hopes to intern in communications with the Women’s National Basketball Association in New York City this summer. Aligning with her Cannes experience, Knight aims to lead a social media team of her own or become an international film distributor.

Julia Sassoon is a junior public relations major at the Newhouse School.

Newhouse junior aims for career in refugee policy advocacy

Yasmin Nayrouz

Yasmin Nayrouz is a junior, studying public relations at the Newhouse School and English at the College of Arts and Sciences. This October, she received the Voyager Scholarship from the Obama Foundation, awarded to students who bridge divides and work to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. Inspired by misconceptions surrounding migration, she’s currently working toward a career in policy advocacy for refugees and displaced families.

What was the moment you decided to pursue a career in policy advocacy for refugees?

After reading memoirs and stories about migration journeys, including refugees’ perspectives, I wanted to work in advocacy for them. My generation grew up watching the Syrian refugee crisis on the news, and as I look back at some of the narratives, it explains why there are misconceptions surrounding migration. I would like to help deconstruct [those] because biased or incomprehensible narratives can have harmful consequences. Personally, I’ve been fascinated by migration because my own parents are immigrants [from Egypt].

What was the application process like for the Voyager Scholarship, and how did you feel once you received it? 

The Voyager [scholarship] was an intense application process, as it had numerous parts, but not a lot of time before its deadline. It included detailing my public service work, a video component and other questions about my hopes and goals. I remember sitting in a café with my sister when I got the email that I had received it. I was speechless and so grateful, and I remember just hugging my sister in the middle of a café. It was an emotional moment for me because I felt like I had the support to pursue my interests and do so without worrying about a financial burden. Joining this program with other students and mentors who are also passionate about public service is amazing and has given me a lot of hope for our generation.

You mentioned how the scholarship includes a summer voyage. Can you explain what that is and how you plan to use it? 

A summer voyage means I will be working on a project related to my public service interests, which can be done anywhere, and this scholarship will fund the expenses for it. I’m currently in the process of finding an organization I’d like to work with over the summer, and my goal is to get more hands-on experience to learn more about working with migration policies and issues, particularly in advocacy and asylum services.

You worked with professor Nausheen Husain on a data journalism project around the Muslim travel ban. What was that project like?

For this project, two other students and I helped clean, sort and analyze the data which Professor Husain and journalist Rowaida Abdelaziz collected. We determined findings from the data that supported the story’s demonstration of the impact of the travel ban and then created data visualizations that are included in the story. [It] was really eye-opening for me because it humanized the impact of the travel ban but it was based on data. After working on this project, I knew I had an interest in advocating for immigrants and refugees because their stories are often untold or misrepresented, which can have severe consequences in policies or public attitudes.

You are currently studying abroad at the Syracuse University center in London. What are you doing there to help expand your horizons around your advocacy work? 

I’m currently taking a class called Multicultural London in which I’m learning about the United Kingdom’s history and current politics related to migration. We’ve looked at immigrants that fled from religious persecution, those that arrive for economic opportunities and asylum seekers. London is an ideal location to learn about these issues because it is a major topic here, as migration was a major reason behind Brexit. Moreover, I’m planning to volunteer at Migrateful Cookery School, which is a charity in London whose mission is to empower refugees and migrants and support their integration by helping them run cooking classes. 

Back in Syracuse, how are you involved on campus?

One of my main involvements on campus is the Student Association, where I am the vice president of university affairs. Through this, I’ve planned Mental Health Awareness Weeks, advocated for Wellness Days and implemented trolleys to take students to grocery stores. Additionally, I’m involved in the Perception Literary Magazine and was an FYS Peer Mentor last year for three different classes. Over the summer, I began volunteering with CNY InterFaith Works to help develop programs and other relevant resources for refugees and the organization.

Zach Infeld is a first-year student in the magazine, news and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School and the international relations program at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Public relations senior to attend national DEI summit and gala

Mame Fatima Ndiaye

Public relations senior Mame Fatima Ndiaye is the recipient of an all-inclusive scholarship to attend the 2022 Plank Center DEI Summit, held Nov. 2-4 in Chicago.

The Plank Center’s Summit on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is an annual forum for practitioners, educators and students to come together and enhance their knowledge of developing strategic DEI programs for the public relations profession.

Ndiaye will attend presentations and panels featuring senior and emerging public relations leaders who are committed to creating and advancing pathways to leadership for diverse professionals in public relations. This is a unique opportunity for students to gain professional insights and network with successful professionals and their peers.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with Fatima as a public relations student and in her role as the founder and president of Many2Come. This is a wonderful opportunity that I know she will maximize,” said Kelly C. Gaggin, public relations professor and faculty adviser for Many2Come. “Our department is honored to have such an accomplished and outstanding young woman represent all of us and Newhouse at such a prestigious event for our profession.”

Ndiaye will also attend The Plank Center’s Milestones in Mentoring Gala which honors six influential public relations leaders. Honorees include Corey duBrowa, VP of global communications and public affairs at Google/Alphabet and Brandon Thomas, VP and head of DEI for PAN Communications. Both accomplished professionals dedicate considerable time and talent to the public relations department.

About The Plank Center

The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations is the leading international resource working to support students, educators and practitioners who are passionate about the public relations profession. Founded at The University of Alabama in 2005, the center is named in honor of Betsy Plank, the “First Lady of PR.” Betsy’s legacy and vision continues on in the Center’s programs and initiatives to advance the profession and public relations education. For more information, please visit and follow our social media channels (@PlankCenterPR).

Newhouse students receive 20 ACP Awards

Newhouse students, projects and campus media outlets received 20 awards—including four First Place honors—at the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) Pacemakers and Individual Awards, announced at the #MediaFest22 Conference in Washington, D.C. on Friday.

The national winners were Abby Weiss ’22 for her Neilia Biden profile in the Multimedia Interactive Graphic category and Louise Rath ’23 for her NCC News story about New York’s broadband access for the Broadcast News Story category.

Gavin Liddell ’21, G ’22 also won for his photo essay about Syracuse University’s club ice hockey team on The NewsHouse in the Photo Slideshow category and the Entitled to Equality team led by Chelsea Stern ’22 won for Social Media Promotion.

In the ACP’s Best of Show contest for work produced so far this school year, multimedia, photography and design graduate student Isaiah Vazquez took home the top prize in the Photojournalism category. The NewsHouse staff placed sixth among the four-year college websites.

In its annual review the media outlets, ACP named The Daily Orange, Jerk and SALT magazine, by Newhouse’s military program, as Pacemaker Finalists. SALT, The Daily Orange and The Daily Orange online were among those named to ACP’s Pacemaker 100, recognizing the top 100 publications.

Congratulations to all the winners!

2022 Associated Collegiate Press Pacemakers and Individual Awards Winners

Pacemaker Finalists:

   Newspaper: The Daily Orange

   Magazine: SALT, Jerk

Individual Awards

Photo Slideshow

    First Place: Gavin Liddell, The NewsHouse, “Grit & Glory”

Interactive Graphic

     First Place Abby Weiss, The Daily Orange, “THE ONE: Joe Biden’s 1st wife Neilia Biden shaped his life, career while at Syracuse”

Multimedia News Story

    Third Place: Staff, The NewsHouse, “Entitled to Equality”

Multimedia Feature Story

    Fifth Place: Kate Brennan, The NewsHouse, “Aloha Aina“

    Honorable Mention: Abby Weiss, The Daily Orange, “THE ONE: Joe Biden’s 1st wife Neilia Biden shaped his life, career while at Syracuse”


   Fourth Place: Morgaine McIlhargey, The NewsHouse, “Kira kira”

Broadcast News Story

   First Place: Louise Rath, NCC News, “New York State Still Lacks Broadband in 2022”

   Fourth Place: Louise Rath, NCC News, “The SYR Airport’s New Plan to Boost Competition”

Broadcast Feature Story

   Third Place: Moriah Humiston, NCC News, “Where do Syracuse’s COVID-19 tests go?”

   Honorable Mention: Gloria Lepko, Bethanie Ryan, The NewsHouse, “Holiday”

Broadcast Sports Story

    Honorable Mention: Annie Boos, The NewsHouse, “The Comeback Year”

Social Promotion 

   First Place: The NewsHouse Staff, “Entitled to Equality”

Newspaper Page/Spread

    Second Place: Shannon Kirkpatrick, Maya Goosmann, Morgan Sample, Megan Thompson, Danny Kahn, The Daily Orange, “From Players to Coaches”

    Honorable Mention: Shannon Kirkpatrick, The Daily Orange,  “Holiday spice”

Magazine Page/Spread

    Honorable Mention: Alexander Sturdivant, SALT, “Raising the Bar”

    Honorable Mention: Caitlin Brink, SALT, “A Canal Runs Through It”

Sports Game Story

     Fifth Place: Jackson Roberts, The NewsHouse, “Syracuse women’s lacrosse bested 15-13 in Kayla Treanor’s return to Boston College”

Sports Feature Story

      Honorable Mention: Christopher Cicchiello, The NewsHouse, “Why doesn’t SU pay Otto the Oranges” 

Sports Game/Action Photo

     Honorable Mention: Kayla Breen, The NewsHouse, “Scramble for the ball”

     Honorable Mention: Isaiah Vazquez, The NewsHouse, “Flying High”

Arts journalism student finds niche writing opportunities at Newhouse

Piper Starnes

Piper Starnes is a graduate student in the Newhouse School’s Goldring arts journalism and communications program. Originally from Tega Cay, South Carolina, she attended Clemson University for her undergraduate degree where she studied performing arts with a music concentration. Starnes stays focused on her interests at Newhouse, recently writing a data journalism piece—published in The NewsHouse—on the number of jump scares in horror films, as well as program notes for various symphonies around the country. When not in class, she freelances and seeks opportunities to do work with others in the Newhouse network. 

How has your experience as a graduate student at Syracuse University been? 

It’s been pretty great. I was really surprised at all the opportunities I’ve had so far, like travel opportunities. We’ve been to Toronto, and we’ve been to Rochester a couple of times. Later in the semester we’re going to New York City for a short immersion trip. So that’s been really fun. 

Then there’s also the network that we have. We have a pretty close-knit alumni database that we connect with. They help us out with internships or freelance opportunities for journalism. That’s been great. 

Why did you choose Newhouse?

Newhouse has an arts journalism program. Some other schools have journalism programs where you can specialize in the arts, but Newhouse’s is the only true graduate program for this subject in general. And I think that’s really set it apart from others because, where else can you go for the best of the best?

What research or activities are you a part of and how are you involved? 

Recently, I’ve been working with Hendricks Chapel. I do program notes for their “Music and Message” series. Sometimes I’ll do preview feature stories for them for Syracuse University’s news website. Everything else is pretty much Newhouse-related. I have a job as graduate assistant for the Goldring program with director Eric Grode and assistant director Janet Anthony. 

Aside from that, a lot of freelance. I’m doing research and copy editing for Jeremy Reynolds, who writes program notes and marketing copy for those orchestras. He is a Goldring alumnus, the current editor for Opera America and my mentor for all things classical music. 

What kind of stories are you most interested in telling? 

[Stories] that are overlooked or really niche. While I was at Clemson, I played the carillon and was certified by the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America as an associate carillonneur. Those are the kind of niche things that I’m interested in. [I write about] things people haven’t really thought to pay much attention to, like, for instance, that jump scare story. I don’t think really anyone’s counting jump scares in movies, but I just thought that’d be an interesting thing to read.

What is the biggest takeaway from your experience as a student, researcher and reporter?   

Get to know and find your strengths, and hone in on them. There’s always room to build on your weaknesses, but I feel like if you find out at least what you’re really interested in, focus on that. That will get you on the right path to where you’re going because you shouldn’t pursue something if you’re not interested in writing about it. Don’t force yourself to do that. If I’m interested in music or movies, then I should stick with that.

Griffin Uribe Brown is a first-year student in the magazine, news and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.