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Journalism Professor

In Italy's Appennini Mountains with colleagues and students, interviewing Cesar Agostini, an amateur archeologist who discovered a 2,000-year-old Roman Army road to Florence. Photo by Muhsin Ozdemir.

As an assistant professor of professional practice at Rutgers University, I teach international reporting, magazine writing and coverage of urban and social issues -- while coaching my students in how to survive, and thrive, in our volatile media climate. As part of that brief I serve as the editor of Kairos, our Department of Journalism and Media Studies magazine of top undergraduate work. The magazine is meant to help our students develop their professional portfolios, and break in to the field.

 

Earlier, during 10 years as an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University, I taught graduate-level street reporting and magazine writing, revamped and ran the journalism institute's feature syndicate, and developed a travel writing class course adapted by our programs in England, the Czech Republic and Russia. This evolved into the popular course Travel Writing and Multimedia Storytelling. My talented students have gone on to write books, work for major media, and produce award-winning stories and documentaries.

I've also taught at Columbia University, advising journalism graduate students on their master's projects.

Three of my NYU travel writing students won prestigious Best American Travel Writing Solas Awards for stories they wrote in class.

It feels great to have a chance to give something back.

It takes a leap of faith to launch students into such a volatile field.

I directed the feature syndicate NYU Livewire, and from 2005 to 2010 arranged for professional publication of hundreds of student stories.

Some 90 percent of Livewire stories were published, in such venues as CNN, the Christian Science Monitor, the Orange County Register, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, The Daily Beast, Worldpress and InterPress News Service, as well as abroad, in London, Greece, Turkey, South Korea, India, the Philippines, Liberia and Ghana.

We put a great Livewire video piece by Cecilia Smith, a student in Prof. Yvonne Latty's honors undergraduate broadcast class, on CNN-TV on Christmas Day. Though CNN's link to her story, about a choir that sings its complaints about city living, has expired, you can download a copy here. Cecilia later received The Diamond Award, NYU journalism's top undergraduate award.


Grad student Rabeika Messina traveled to Iceland after the 2008 global economic collapse, and with Prof. Mary Quigley's encouragement, wrote a Livewire story about the country's novel coping mechanisms. We placed it on the front page of the Christian Science Monitor's last daily print edition.



I co-edited, with the late writer Pete Hamill, Street Level, an annual magazine of top undergraduate journalism.

I served as editor of Dispatches from Ground Zero, the daily faculty/student magazine that explored the impacts of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Nearly two dozen Dispatches stories were chosen for the anthology 9/11 8:48 AM: Documenting America's Greatest Tragedy, the first book about the attacks.

I've also taught at Baruch College and the New School.

Each of these assignments was gratifying. But a few were pure joy. In 2010, for example, I was invited to lead 11 university students in creating Urbino Now, a cultural magazine about Italy's Le Marche region. Here we are, buckling down to work.

© 1990-2021 Mary D'Ambrosio. All rights reserved.