Journalism Faculty and Lecturers

Professors Rosemary Armao and Thomas Bass led journalism workshops for master’s students at the Tunisian Press Institute in January 2015.  The UAlbany Journalism Program and the Organized Crime and Corruption Program of southeast Europe have been working together under a U.S. State Department grant for three years to develop one of the first graduate programs in investigative reporting in the Arab World.

Professors Rosemary Armao and Thomas Bass led journalism workshops for master’s students at the Tunisian Press Institute in January 2015. The UAlbany Journalism Program and the Organized Crime and Corruption Program of southeast Europe have been working together under a U.S. State Department grant for three years to develop one of the first graduate programs in investigative reporting in the Arab World.


Associate Professor Rosemary Armao returned to her hometown as the newest faculty member of the Journalism Program in 2008. For more than 32 years she was a reporter and editor at various wire services and newspapers. She has trained journalists and worked on media development projects throughout Eastern Europe and Africa. She is a former Executive Director of Investigative Reporters and Editors and former President of the Journalism and Women Symposium.
Office: HU 327
Phone: (518) 442-4997

Professor Thomas Bass is the author of The Eudaemonic Pie, Camping with the Prince, Vietnamerica, The Spy Who Loved Us, and other books. Cited by the Overseas Press Club for his foreign reporting, he is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, Wired, Smithsonian, The New York Times, and other publications. His teaching in the Journalism Program includes courses in narrative journalism. visual culture, science writing, and the political economy of the media.
Office: HU 328
Phone: (518) 442-4072

Professor Nancy Roberts is Professor of Communication and Director of the Journalism Program. She received her Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Professor Roberts's work focuses on communication and journalism history, especially the history of alternative periodicals, literary aspects of journalism, and magazine writing and editing. She has published numerous books and articles, including The Press and America: An Interpretive History of the Mass Media, with Michael Emery and Edwin Emery; Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker; and 'As Ever, Gene': The Letters of Eugene O'Neill to George Jean Nathan (coedited with Arthur W. Roberts). Her articles have appeared in Americana, Commonweal, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Minneapolis Tribune, Boston Globe, Christian Century, Christian Science Monitor, U.S. Art, and many other publications.
Office: HU 315
Phone: (518) 442-4884

Visiting Assistant Professor Elaine Salisbury is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Salisbury reported from Harare, Zimbabwe, before earning a Master’s degree at the Columbia School of Journalism. Salisbury covered the culture and politics of the Middle East from Amman, Jordan. She worked as an editor for the Associated Press in New York and reporter for Reuters, covering breaking news and features in New York and Washington D.C. .
Salisbury’s two published books include The Cruelest Miles (NY: Norton, 2003) and Provenance (NY: Penguin, 2009). The Cruelest Miles is in development for a film by Walden Media. Provenance has been named an ALA Notable Book, Edgar Award Finalist, and Oprah Reading Pick. Salisbury began as an adjunct lecturer in the journalism program in 2007.

Salisbury has covered news from Africa and the Middle East and from New York and Washington D.C. She has a Master's degree at  at the Columbia School of Journalism, and has worked for Reuters and the Associated Press. Salisbury’s two published books include The Cruelest Miles (NY: Norton, 2003) and Provenance (NY: Penguin, 2009).
Office: HU 117C
Phone: (518) 442-5134

Digital Media Lecturer Thomas Palmer is a multimedia journalist whose recent online achievements revolve around award-winning iPad news app designs for Hearst Corporation, including the visual redesign of the Times Union newspaper in Albany.  He has worked in news editing, art directing, picture editing, copy editing, photojournalism, and departmental management.

He earned his master’s degree in communications photography from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications.  His thesis, “The Plight of a Vertical Photograph in a Digital World: An iPad News App Solution,” is a historical analysis that has influenced how photographic usage is judged in online publishing.  His undergraduate degree is in economics from Auburn University.

Palmer was The Charlotte Observer’s design director when it entered a partnership with The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in 1992 to redesign election coverage. His innovative reporting designs are illustrated in “The Charlotte Project: Helping Citizens Take Back Democracy.”

His research areas include semiology, social media branding, alternative story forms, and cross-platform visual perception. Palmer has taught digital media courses (JRL 390, 392, and 490) for the Journalism Program as an adjunct professor since 2008.

Students will encounter analog equipment when they visit Palmer’s HU 361 office, including vinyl classical records and reel-to-reel recordings. Surprising as this seems for a digital media instructor, drop by and he’ll explain how it’s all connected.
Office: HU361
Phone: (518) 442-2647


Steve Barnes Steve Barnes teaches media ethics and upper-level writing courses including magazine journalism and arts journalism. He is a senior writer at the Times Union (Albany, NY), specializing in arts, culture, restaurants/dining and food; he writes news stories, features, reviews, analysis, criticism and a restaurant column and blog called “Table Hopping.” He has been with the Times Union since 1996 and supervised cultural coverage for six years as arts editor. He has also worked for The Record  (Troy, NY) and The Post-Star (Glens Falls, NY)  and freelanced for a variety of publications. Barnes holds a B.A. in English from Boston University and was the recipient of a yearlong National Arts Journalism Program fellowship at the University of Georgia. He also teaches writing at the Arts Center of the Capital Region and has lectured at many area schools, colleges and community organizations.
Office: HU 328

David Guistina
is anchor of Morning Edition on WAMC / Northeast Public Radio, host and producer of the Legislative Gazette, a statewide program about New York state government and politics, host and moderator of WAMC's Student Town Meetings, and producer of the Media Project, a nationwide program about issues confronting the media. He is also host of Masterminds, a cable channel quiz show for Capital Region high school students.
Office: HU 344

Michael Hill is a reporter for the Associated Press. He covers New York state government, politics, food, science, crime, demography, and business. He is also a regular contributor to Adirondack Life magazine.
Office: HU 117B

Michael Huber is the interactive audience manager at the Albany Times Union. He holds a B.A. in political science from the State University of New York at Geneseo and has completed coursework toward a master's in history at UAlbany. He previously served as the newspaper's community publishing editor. He produces the daily web site and supervises the blogs, which are the fastest-growing section of the newspaper's web site. He speaks frequently to local groups about issues involving journalism and social media and how newspapers can remain relevant in today's changing media landscape.
Office: HU 117B

Ronald Kermani
is a former newspaper reporter and editor who currently works as an advertising executive. He has served as vice-president of communications, director of public relations, and editor at a variety of New York State agencies and other groups, such as the New York Trial Lawyers Association. For a dozen years, he was a reporter for the Albany Times Union, working as the paper's chief investigative reporter, specializing in white-collar crime and political corruption.

Barbara Lombardo
is managing editor of The Saratogian, in Saratoga Springs, and managing editor of three weekly community newspapers and a monthly magazine. She holds a B.A. in political science from Binghamton University and a master's in journalism from Ohio State University. She is a past president of the New York State Associated Press Association and winner of numerous state and national awards for her editorials and columns.
Office: HU 117A

Holly McKenna
has written for Reuters and The New York Times. She is working on three book projects and hosts the "Meet the Author" show on Time Warner's public access Channel 17.
Office: HU 361

Shirley Perlman
is a former national correspondent for Newsday. In her eighteen years at the paper, she covered a broad range of stories including the O.J. Simpson trials and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. She has taught as an adjunct professor at New York University and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She is former president of the Press Club of Long Island.
Office: HU117

Ian Pickus, a lifelong resident of the Capital Region, joined WAMC Northeast Public Radio as a producer in 2008, becoming news director in 2013.  A frequent presence on air — having interviewed two Beach Boys, all of Crosby, Stills and Nash, three cast members of The Wire and countless filmmakers, authors, politicians, comedians and everyday people — Pickus  oversees the network's daily news coverage, special projects, and produces the Congressional Corner. 
A freelance sports reporter for the Associated Press since 2004, Pickus's sportswriting has also appeared in The Saratogian and Troy Record. He has covered college football, the NCAA Tournament, Giants camp, the Travers Stakes, and NBA and NHL games — in addition to plenty of Little League doubleheaders.
While earning a B.A. in English and journalism and an M.A. in English from the University at Albany, Pickus served as sports editor of the Albany Student Press and hosted shows on WCDB.
The recipient of Regional Edward R. Murrow, New York State Associated Press Association, Communicator, and New York State Broadcasters Association Excellence in Broadcasting awards, Pickus is proudest of his Rowley and Schafer Awards from the University at Albany journalism program. He began teaching at UAlbany in 2013.
Office:  HU117C

Katherine Van Acker is the director of PresStock at The Image Works in Woodstock, New York. She holds a B.S. degree from the School of Film and Photography at Montana State University. Van Acker was executive photo editor at the Albany Times Union for nearly a decade. Prior to that, she was a photo editor on the national and international desks of The Associated Press in New York City and a staff photographer with The Daily Journal in Elizabeth, New Jersey. She has been an officer with the National Press Photographers Association and has won numerous state and national awards for her work as a photographer and photo editor.
Office: HU 117A


William Rainbolt, at UAlbany since 1984 (ret. 2011), has directed the Journalism Program twice, from 1984 to 1988, and from 1999 to 2008. He has reported and written for several daily newspapers and as a freelance writer and historical novelist. He was also a member of the Documentary Studies Program and holds a Ph.D. in history.