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CAS Taps Media Experts for Journalism Advisory Board

by Greta Petry (December 10, 2004)

As the College of Arts & Sciences develops a major in journalism, it has tapped into the expertise of area media experts to create a Journalism Advisory Board. The board serves as an advocate for the program.

Rex Smith, editor of the Albany Times Union, is a member of the advisory board. He said, “I have long thought that a good journalism program at the University at Albany would benefit not only students, but also the larger community and the Times Union. Karen Hitchcock and I used to dream about a link between the University and the newspaper that could enable students to get great professional experience in the newsroom while learning the standards of the craft in the classroom.”

The Journalism Program Advisory Board had its first meeting November 5.

College of Arts and Sciences Dean Joan Wick-Pelletier said, “I am gratified by the interest from the external community in having the College of Arts and Sciences establish a journalism program and am especially pleased to have such eminent and experienced people agree to serve on the advisory board. The board’s role in helping to fashion the overall shape of the program and in opening doors to facilitate its development will be invaluable. In our first meeting, many good ideas were tossed around. We will be following up on several. It was a very encouraging start.”

At that first meeting, according to the agenda, Edward Dague, board chair and retired news anchor for WNYT-TV, convened a discussion on how to transition the journalism program from a minor to a major. William Rainbolt, interim director of the program, discussed developments in the journalism curriculum.

In addition to Dague and Smith, other members of the advisory board include: Robert Bellafiore, ’82, director of public affairs, Eric Mower Associates; Stewart Hancock, III, publisher, Eagle News-papers; Diane Kennedy, president of the New York Newspaper Publishers Association; Marc Kramer, ’77, senior vice president for circulation for The New York Times; Susan Pinkus, ’68, director of polling, the Los Angeles Times; Michelle Rea, executive director of the New York Press Association; and Monte Trammer, publisher of the Elmira Star Gazette.

The board is committed to establishing a journalism program of distinction at UAlbany and its members serve as advisers on its structure and development. In addition, the board will assist the dean in identifying funding opportunities.

Smith concluded, “Since the University is building a new major from the ground up, there’s a great opportunity to create something new and refreshing in journalism education, a program that both meets students’ academic needs and prepares young professionals for the marketplace. Those of us on the advisory board are able to offer some counsel on the latter, in particular. A journalism program that is too classroom-oriented or that doesn’t reach out to the world beyond the campus doesn’t well serve either its students or the field of journalism. I’m committed to helping this University to avoid that pitfall.”