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.
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. She 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 and was awarded the all-University Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015.
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: HU 361
Phone: (518) 442-2647
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 has been a producer and morning news anchor for more than 18 years at the 23-station network of WAMC/Northeast Public Radio, the Albany-based National Public Radio affiliate. He has produced thousands of hours of programming, including: The Media Project, a nationally syndicated program about issues confronting the media; Capitol Connection, examining state government and politics; and the Legislative Gazette (which he hosts and produces), also covering state politics. He also produces WAMC's In Conversation series, hour-long interviews with newsmakers. He produced The Power of Words: a series about great political speeches and is working on a new Power of Words series focusing on great speeches by women. For years, he hosted and produced WAMC's Student Town Meetings with area high school students and experts. Guistina has also worked in television. He produced See Hear, a public affairs program for WNYT, News Channel 13 in Albany. And he has taught students for more than 20 years, at Utica College of Syracuse University in Utica, at Southern Vermont College in Bennington, and at UAlbany. He holds a B.S. in Public Relations/Speech Communication/ Radio/TV from Utica College and a master’s in Interpersonal/Intercultural Communication from UAlbany. While working on his master’s, Guistina secured a thesis internship at the Ikast Handelsskole in Ikast, Denmark, where he taught organizational communication and researched interpersonal/intercultural communication.
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 began teaching at the University at Albany in 2008. He is the interactive audience manager at the Albany Times Union and previously served as the newspaper's community publishing editor. He brings his experience working on the newspaper’s award-winning website to the classroom and often brings University at Albany students to the newsroom for semester-long internships. He earned a B.A. from the State University of New York at Geneseo and a master’s from the University at Albany.
Office: HU 117B
Barbara Lombardo is the former executive editor of two daily newspapers in the Capital District – The Record, serving the Troy area, and The Saratogian, based in Saratoga Springs – as well as the weekly Community News in southern Saratoga County. She earned a bachelor’s in political science from Binghamton University, where she fell in love with journalism during elective news writing classes and two internships at the local newspaper. Hooked, she earned her master’s in journalism at Ohio State University. Lombardo began her career at The Saratogian as a reporter in 1977, holding a variety of reporting and editing positions before being named managing editor. In 2014 she was promoted to executive editor of all three local publications owned by Digital First Media. She has hired numerous University at Albany students as interns and reporters over the years. Lombardo is a past president of the New York State Associated Press Association and a member of the New York News Publishers Foundation. Her newspapers have received numerous state and national journalism awards under her leadership, and Lombardo has received state and national recognition for her editorials and columns. She has been teaching at UAlbany since 2008.
Office: HU 117A
Mark Marchand teaches public relations writing and crisis communications. His experience in the field includes 25 years as a manager and senior manager in corporate communications at Verizon. During his tenure at Verizon, he served as national spokesperson on network and technology issues and helped lead disaster recovery communications. Before working at Verizon, Marchand was a daily newspaper journalist in Springfield, MA, and also served as part-time correspondent for The Associated Press and United Press International at the same time. After retiring from Verizon he served as communications director at SUNY's Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government and led the news and editorial office at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Besides teaching at UAlbany today, Marchand consults on and delivers talks about media relations, strategic communications, public relations writing, and handling crisis communications. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst – with a bachelor's in science/chemistry and minor in journalism – Marchand is also a private pilot and fervent follower of environmental and climate change issues. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Capital Communications Federal Credit Union in Albany.
Office: HU 117C
Holly McKenna received a bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville where she also worked at The Knoxville Journal. Then she reported for United Press International in Atlanta and later in Albany. She went on to start a freelance writing career with Reuters, The New York Times, The New York Post, The Boston Globe and The Evangelist. In 2007, she started teaching at the University at Albany where she also got her master's degree in communication. She worked in the English/Journalism advisement office and now is a summer transfer adviser and the summer journalism director. She teaches a variety of journalism courses. In 2013, she became internship director for English/Journalism. Her writing has also expanded into public relations for local hospitals, schools, businesses and nonprofits. Last year, she started her own communication company called Holly J McKenna Consulting. Meanwhile, she has completed a memoir and is attempting to get it published. She is also working on two historical fiction books based on family stories. Her love of writing, teaching and reading has prompted her to become president of both the Albany Public Library Board of Trustees and the Albany Public Library Foundation. She also hosts a show on the Albany Time Warner Cable Channel 17 called "APL Literary Legends."
Office: HU 361
James M. Odato has had a journalism career rooted in watchdog reporting, and has been cited as one of New York’s top newshounds covering state government, gambling, and abuse and waste of public money. He has written thousands of articles, his byline has appeared in numerous national publications and his investigative stories have spurred reforms. As a staff reporter for five daily newspapers, including the Albany Times Union and Buffalo News, Odato has received more than 30 awards from the Associated Press, New York Publishers Association, the New York Legislative Correspondents Association and other media organizations. In 2007, Investigative Reporters and Editors recognized his reporting with the Freedom of Information Award Medal.
Office: HU 117B
Shirley Perlman is a former national correspondent for Newsday. During her 18 years at the paper, she covered a number of high-profile cases including the O.J. Simpson criminal and civil trials. She was also a member of Newsday's investigations team. She began teaching at SUNY Albany in 2007. Before that she served as an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and C.W. Post College. She is a former editor of The Long-Islander, a weekly newspaper founded by Walt Whitman, and a past-president of the Press Club of Long Island. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the State University of New York.
Office: HU 117
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: HU 117C
Katherine Van Acker is the director of PresStock at The Image Works in Woodstock, NY. 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, NJ. 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. In 2013 she was awarded the all-University Award for Excellence in Teaching.
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.