“Redefining the Media Landscape in the Cordless Generation” Panel an Inspiration

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

With the slow extinction of print media and journalism, the question that all aspiring journalism and public relations students are asking is, “What next?”

In an informative and inspiring online panel discussion with Hofstra’s own Dean Oppenheim from the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication acting as Moderator, Max Knoblauch (@MaxKnoblauch), Tre’vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) and Delia Paunescu (@Delia_P) discussed the changing media landscape and the impact of these changes on journalism P.R. as professions today. Azi Paybarah could not join the panel due to unforeseen circumstances.


Image courtesy: mashable.com

Knoblauch is a Hofstra University alumnus, who currently works as a Watercooler Reporter for Mashable. His previous work includes humorous articles and illustrations for Thought Catalogue and Pacific Standard. Tre’vell Anderson graduated with an M.A. in Sociology from Stanford and is presently a reporter at the Los Angeles Times and finally, Paunescu, who is also an alumni of Hofstra University and the product of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, is currently the Social Media Coordinator for the NY Post and has written, edited and reported for Muckraker News, New York Magazine and the Food Network in the past.

Los Angeles Times staffer Tre'Vell Anderson

Image courtesy: latimes.com

“As journalists, we’ve always wanted to be the first and the most accurate, that’s never going to change,” said Anderson on the shift to digital distribution by many publications.

Max Knoblauch agreed with Anderson and added that the immediacy of the Internet allows journalists to take new and different angles that would not have been possible in the past with traditional publications.

“You can see what competitors are doing, get an idea of how people are interacting and present material in a lighter, more conversational tone.”


Image courtesy: hofstra.edu

Paunescu, who works with the NY Post, says that being one of the older newspapers in the country, the shift to the digital age has been slow for the paper, but that they are constantly adapting if they are to survive.

“We try and get the information out as quick as possible with Facebook and Twitter as well as newer platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Parascope.”

While the media is always changing, Paunescu is confident that, “good news and information will always rise to the top.”

However, with information streaming in the rapid pace that it does nowadays, it is still important to get the basics of journalistic reporting right.

“Accuracy still trumps immediacy. Nobody wants to get it wrong in the rush to get a story out quickly and then have to print a retract,” Anderson said.

Publications like Mashable use programs like Velocity to scour the web for potential, emerging news stories from unlikely sources, which reporters will often verify for accuracy. All three panelists cited Twitter as their go-to source for current news and follow numerous newsfeeds like the NYT Newsletter and BuzFeed to get their news.

Another obvious change that comes with the rapid increase in the pace of news reporting is that deadlines become shorter as well.

Paunescu said, “I worked with a business magazine straight out of college so I had about three weeks to get my material together, but with the more breaking news stories the deadlines are tighter. Newspapers want the story posted online five minutes ago.”

Watch the full video of the panel here: 

What To Expect On Your First Trip To India

A friend of mine is visiting the country for the first time this year (in fact she’s leaving the country for the first time ever!) and it occurred to me that it can seem quite daunting and quite frankly scary to visit a country that you’ve never been to, so far away from home for the first time. There are many challenges in endeavors such as these and while the internet and numerous guide books makes us a lot more aware then we would have once been, there’s no guide book in the world that can prepare you for reality. As an Indian currently studying in America, I decided that perhaps this unique, but certainly not envious, perspective of mine could provide some insight. Below is a list (that I’m still adding to) of things that I have observed. I’m aware that most of these come off as rather negative, but its always better to have no expectations and be pleasantly surprised than to be simply taken by surprise.

  1. You will know which plane is going to India when you see haphazard and unruly queues being formed at the boarding gate.
  1. Don’t be surprised if you smell something rancid in the cabin, it’s probably achchar (pickle) that a middle-aged woman is consuming with her homemade parathas.
  1. Before the plane has touched the runway people will begin standing up and preparing to deplane.
  1. If you’re white, people will gawk at you like you’re an alien. If you’re ginger or blond it will be tenfold.
  1. As observed by the above-mentioned point, Indians are obsessed with fair/light skin. My theory is it’s a remnant of the British Raj.
  1. Due to the above-mentioned observation, there is an alarming number of beauty products; fairness creams in particular that promise to reduce melanin but in reality just remove skin tanning.
  1. If you haven’t carried it with you already, I strongly suggest you buy Tums. A lot of Tums. And other basic medication that your body is used to.
  1. On that note, the food is delicious but please for the love of God do not attempt to find out how or where it is prepared and made. Also drink only bottled water if you can.
  1. The traffic is insane. Yes, we drive on the left side of the road and yes, there is no semblance of order or traffic or civic sense anywhere.
  1. Indians love white cars. It’s the most popular choice.
  1. You will see people littering, spitting and urinating in public. This is a common occurrence unfortunately.
  1. When you go shopping in the streets you will be taken advantage of as a tourist and charged higher rates. Accept it, but definitely try bargaining.
  1. Whether it’s an Indian style toilet or a western one (commode) there will be a faucet and a lotta (mug) because most Indians have an aversion to toilet paper.
  1. From time to time there are water and power cuts due to shortages, we’re sorry for the inconvenience caused but this is a developing country after all. Unless of course you’ve got money. Then you deal with none of the above.
  1. Often people will ask you to remove your shoes before entering the house (but not always), this is perfectly normal.
  1. If you’re American you may want to carry some adapter plugs.
  1. Our customs and superstitions are strange and often don’t make sense (even to us) so don’t try and understand them (we don’t either).
  1. Language is not usually a barrier, most people understand English.
  1. With all that said, we are very welcoming and large hearted people and will go out of our way to make visitors welcome (most of us) and we take great pride in our unique culture so don’t be afraid to ask for anything you need or about anything you’re unsure of.

P.S.: – Any international airport in the world always has the best-looking people you have ever seen.

What If Ayn Rand Reviewed Children’s Movies?

As much as I love Ayn Rand and her writing, this is spot on

101 Books

I love poking fun of Ayn Rand. Since the recent Ayn Rand resurgence thanks to the Tea Party, it’s just too easy.

Today, though, I don’t intend to poke fun at Ayn Rand. I’ll let The New Yorker do it for me.

Before Christmas, they posted a hilarious column in which “Ayn Rand” reviews children’s movies. It’s spot on.

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Ferguson Protests on Campus: Covert Racism at Hofstra

On November 25th, 2014, a group of Hofstra University students set out to protest the decision not to indict a Ferguson, Missouri police officer in the death of Michael Brown. The incident in Missouri enraged thousands of people across the nation and began protests and riots on streets and college campuses alike. Here in New York especially, the masses took to the streets of Manhattan and Hofstra students took the cue and began their own protests on campus, at a micro level of course. Students began the protest outside the Sondra and David Mack Student Center and made their way across campus to Dutch Treats and Hofstra U.S.A. chanting and holding up posters and banners that read, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” “Black Lives Matter,” and “I Can’t Breathe.”

The question that many students are asking however, is whether or not protesting on campus is beneficial to the cause in any way and if this is just “white guilt.” The fact however remains that racism still exists even it is just underlying and covert. Social psychologists proved this with the creation of the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which is used for the primary purpose of detecting covert racism in people by answering seemingly innocuous questions.

On being asked if protesting on campus was helping the issue and why students wouldn’t protest off campus, Josh Wilson, a journalism major who took part in the protest said, “I do think it helps spread awareness within the campus. I think a lot of people even on campus are quick to dismiss any talk of racial problems. It doesn’t do as much as other protests in places around the country but it is able to help a little bit on campus… I know people had talked about doing a protest like around the Suffolk Police Department, I don’t know what happened with that. I think part of it is obviously the area around campus isn’t great, but you have places around the country where people are protesting in bad places. I think it really just comes down to people’s availability and not wanting to necessarily go off campus into more dangerous areas.”

An overwhelming majority of students on campus who were asked if they thought that racism existed at Hofstra answered, “yes” and half of them said that it was covert or existed but it in a subtle manner. Not surprisingly it was students of color who agreed the most.

The second protest on campus took place on December 3rd after another similar incident, this time closer in Staten Island, New York, where a grand jury declined to indict another police officer in connection with the death of Eric Gardner. Things seem to have calmed down significantly on campus with finals around the corner, but there’s no doubt that the anger and outrage over the two incidents will not boil down in a hurry.



Women’s Golf: NCAA Division I, New York

While collegiate athletics are certainly one of the most competitive levels in the country, when it comes to the NCAA’s Division I athletics, it’s a whole new ball game – quite literally.

For women’s golf, many Division I players view college golf as a platform to boost their career into the professional realm. How they play in their collegiate career determines whether or not they can cut it on the LPGA tour. At least, this is the case for the top 50-100 ranked colleges in the U.S. Beyond that however, the competition is pretty close and while most players aren’t considering turning professional, it doesn’t make the fight to rise to the top any less challenging.

Here in New York, some of the top ranked institutes such as St. John’s University (Queens) and Wagner College (Staten Island), though better known for their excellent basketball and football programs respectively, are ranked pretty far down the ladder as far as their golf programs go.

St. John’s has one of the better programs for women’s golf in the northeast and is ranked at 230 in the country amongst top Division I Universities including Ivy leagues like Yale and Stanford. Meanwhile, Wagner College, who are known for their phenomenal Liberal Arts program, is ranked further down at 246. It is interesting to note however that though a whopping 16 spots separate the two as far as ranking goes, St. John’s has a stroke average of 81.25 while Wagner is merely a little more than a stroke behind at 82.79. This just goes to show how stiff the competition really is.

Although tournament scores show that St. John’s performs better as a team, it may not be considered fair to equate them with Wagner who competes in fewer events and so are at both an advantage and a disadvantage with only a limited number of scores to consider for the season. While St. John’s finished in the top 10 spots 67% of events competed in, Wagner finished the in the top 10 spots 71% of events competed in. This would indicate that that Wagner is the better team, but total three day and two day scores tell a different story.

Statistics are a good method of collecting data and analyzing performance, but the fact of the matter is that it can be manipulated to tell whichever side of the story is desired.

Some details for the 2014 season so far can be found below.


Bush on Content Marketing and Public Relations

Leah Bush

Photo Courtesy: Leah Bush’s LinkedIn Profile

Long Island, NY – A freelance writer, Editor for Patch.com (Long Island) and Marketing Consultant, Leah Bush wasn’t always in the media field. Bush got her start at the Red Cross working as an investigative coordinator and then went on to work as a legal assistant before she got her first job in the journalistic field as a reporter and photographer for the Oyster Bay Guardian Newspaper.

A philosophy major in college, Bush had no idea that she would eventually turn to journalism. But her love for travel and desire to see new places found her searching for a job where these dreams could become a reality.

About her first job at the Oyster Bay Guardian Bush says, “I was thrown into it and just figured it out along the way,” addressing one of the most common concerns among young journalists just starting out.

For the most part, Bush emphasized the importance of visuals and easy accessibility of material in the modern world of journalism. Content and social media marketing, fields that are Bush’s forte, are the new S.E.O. or Search Engine Optimization and is important for the wide distribution of content to a large variety of readers.

“The news is a business now more than ever. You have to accept that and think of it like a business,” Bush said on her view of journalism today.

Bush also spoke to those who were considering going into the Public Relations side of the business, saying that creating and distributing relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action is key in the field. In her experience, it is former journalists who make the best PR professionals. She also advised students to write as much as possible, especially with regard to blogging and stressed the importance of good content to attract readers to sites.

In conclusion, Bush agreed with Adina Genn, a former colleague at Patch, in saying that the skills acquired as a journalist can be used in a variety of different roles and the art of storytelling is one that comes in handy no matter what line of profession one may ultimately choose.

Cuomo Triumphs Over Astorino

Incumbent Governor and democrat, Andrew M. Cuomo, was re-elected on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, with a 54% majority. However, this is a significantly smaller figure compared with the 62% majority vote that he mustered the first time he was elected to office in 2010. Nonetheless, Cuomo finished way ahead of opposing republican candidate and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who lagged behind with only 40.6% of the majority vote. The son of three time elected governor Mario Cuomo, who was last re-elected with a 65% majority, he really didn’t live up to his father’s legacy, though admittedly the benchmark was set pretty high. Although his father’s son in every sense of the word, Cuomo claims that he has a different vision than that of his father’s. He wants to focus on more concrete results rather than simple philosophical idealism and inspiration like his father did.

In his victory speech, the Governor thanked Astorino’s “for his graciousness” on being congratulated by him and then went on to talk about the importance of investing in education and healthcare as New Yorkers.

A large contributing factor to Cuomo’s victory is the support that he managed to garner from Assemblyman Dov Hikind and New York Mayor, Bill De Blasio. Without the support from these two politically prominent figures, it seems near impossible that Cuomo would have gotten through this election.

Some prominent features of Cuomo’s campaign include great agendas, the most controversial of which includes making “Education Investment Taxes” a reality. Obviously, not everyone is pleased with the idea of paying yet more taxes.

However now that he has been re-elected, Cuomo finds himself faced with the pressure of having to make a decision on fracking in the state of New York, a problem that is not of much concern locally in Long Island, but is very much of relevance throughout the rest of the state. This is a continuing issue that seems to have been carried over from his previous term and one that he had managed to successfully put off until the elections.

Genn Talks About The Life of A Journalist


Author, journalist, Press Club of Long Island awardee, devoted wife and mom of two; there isn’t much that the talented Adina Genn hasn’t already accomplished. Genn, who originally wanted to be a writer, recently offered Hofstra students some valuable insights into the life and daily struggles of a working journalist in today’s economy.

While Genn now admits she was clueless of her career path once finishing college, her first job was with an academic book publishing company. From there on out, she then began to work as a freelancer and soon as a stringer, covering business meetings which she says helped her build connections and meet people in the industry who would later prove valuable. Genn then had a short stint with Long Island Business News, a local online and print newspaper, where she put her business background to use. However, for the past four and a half years Genn has worked with the hyper local newspaper: the Long Island Patch and watched it grow and evolve. She recalls how the Patch, who once had over forty employees, now do the same job with four employees and still manage to cover twelve areas on Long Island, of which she herself covers Huntington, Northport and Port Washington – the last being her hometown.

With regard to the changing nature of journalism, Genn says that her work nowadays consists largely of aggregating stories rather than doing actual fieldwork as it’s no longer practically feasible to do so, in fact it even provides a certain advantage wherein she can gather information without the necessity of traveling and being present at locations. She also cites social media as a major source of information for obtaining tips on potential stories.

On the subject of advice to young journalists starting out, Genn states that the skillsets learned in the field are “amazing and transferable” to any other field of one’s choosing. For those who are inclined towards the public relations field, Genn affirms that it’s always helpful to be able to prepare succinct press releases, which make it easier for journalists to use in their reports. Overall the talk proved to be very inspirational and provided students with an accurate depiction of the life of a journalist.