Students release inaugural Newhouse 44 New Voices list

By Wendy S. Loughlin

May 18, 2020

The list highlights individuals who are catalysts of change in media, news, policy and civic commentary

Newhouse 44 New Voices logo

In an effort to identify and amplify the voices of today’s media trailblazers, a group of Syracuse University students has launched Newhouse 44 New Voices in Journalism and Civic Engagement, a project of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at the Newhouse School.

To kick off the project, the group released an inaugural list of 44 diverse individuals who are catalysts of change in media, news, policy and civic commentary.

“This project highlights people who are already dramatically changing the existing media landscape, or who have the potential to do so,” says Erin Gavle, a newspaper and online journalism major and member of the student team. “By acknowledging their efforts and supporting them further, we hope to foster innovation and representation that media, business and politics are sorely lacking. Our inaugural 44 New Voices list is full of powerful people who are capable of changing so many industries for the better, and inspiring even more powerful individuals to raise their voices.” 

Honorees span all professional areas and backgrounds. Some examples include:

  • Alice Wong, a disabled activist, media maker and consultant who is the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project.
  • ALOK, a gender non-conforming writer and performance artist who uses poetry, prose, comedy, performance, lecture, fashion design and portraiture to explore themes of gender, race, trauma, belonging and the human condition.
  • Opal Tometi, a human rights advocate, strategist and writer of Nigerian-American descent who co-founded the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • Tina Tchen, president and CEO of TIME’S UP Now and the TIME’S UP Foundation, and former assistant to President Barack Obama, executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls and chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama.
  • Jonathan Van Ness, a hairdresser, podcaster and television personality who has appeared on the Netflix series “Queer Eye.”

The full list of honorees can be found on the 44 New Voices website at

“The inaugural list will serve as the blueprint for an annual process of finding and elevating diverse individuals in all forms of media. The goal of 44 New Voices is to continue actively engaging and supporting these individuals to be the media business leaders of tomorrow,” says Sean Branagan, director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship.

The project is part of the center’s New Bosses/New Voices initiative, which seeks to create opportunities, support democratic principles and create social change through more diversity in media ownership. 

The student team comprises: Jelani Sparrow, a new media management graduate student; Julian Neely, a media studies graduate student; Carmella Boykin, a junior broadcast and digital journalism major; Jessica Stewart, a multimedia, photography and design graduate student; Brandon Jackson, a public relations graduate student; Camryn Simon, a junior advertising major; Margot Lee, a senior advertising major; and Gavle.

Faculty advisers are: Aileen Gallagher, associate professor of magazine, news and digital journalism; Anne Osborne, professor of communications; and Charisse L’Pree, associate professor of communications.

Laura Beachy ’12, co-founder of BeachyMedia, provided marketing support.

For more information, visit or follow the project on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.