stuart elliott

Stuart Elliott — Former NY Times Ad Columnist Offers His Take

stuart elliottEarlier this month, Stuart Elliott, the New York Times’s advertising guru, took a buyout after 23 years at the paper. Now that he has more free time, Elliott, who Ad Age called “massively influential,” stopped by City College recently to entertain our MCA students with his wit and wisdom. 

Journalism student Jose Cardoso covered Elliott’s “Lunch with Leaders” presentation. 

Last month, former New York Times columnist Stuart Elliott held a special Q&A presentation in Shepard Hall at The City College of New York. He spoke to the audience a little bit about himself, answered student questions, and discussed the future of the digital media.

First things first: Why did Elliott leave the Times? “The buyout offers were structured so that the longer you had worked at The New York Times the more lucrative the buyout offer was,” said Elliott. “For somebody like myself who had worked at the Times for more than 20 years, it turned out to be like they say in ‘The Godfather’ an offer that I couldn’t refuse.”

Elliott has seen many changes in the media industry over the years, including a new generation of “digital natives.” “That generation is growing up without ever having known a day without tablets,” he said.

Even an expert like Elliott isn’t sure where the advertising-marketing business is headed in five years.  “I’m a lousy predictor,” he said. “I thought aol would be like the biggest thing.”

Still, he added: “Technology is going to continue to remake the advertising and marketing business whether it’s the agencies and how they make ads or how the clients want the adds created. There’s going to be much more of an involvement with public relations.”

He offered some parting advise to the roomful of students. “Start putting down some digital footprints,” said Elliott, “but be very careful about what you do and say in the social media. “Clean up your act kids!”

Our Journalism Instructor Breaks News

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 1.16.05 PMLast week, our journalism adjunct Andrea Bernstein nailed New Jersey governor Chris Christie (again) with her stinging report on the continuing “bridgegate” scandal. A series of emails she dug up in relation to the 2013 GW bridge lane closure cast serious doubt on Christie’s version of the truth. Andrea appeared on MSNBC on Sunday to talk about the story. (Click here to watch)

Andrea, a senior political reporter for WNYC, has been on the story from day one, except on Tuesday evenings when she teaches our Reporting and Writing course.

Listen to her WNYC investigation here.

You Better Work! — Check Out Our Summer Course


Interested in some of New York City’s hottest industries? Want to have fun, improve your writing and earn three journalism elective credits? Experience our summer class, MCA 31109: Food & Fashion, Arts & Culture: Covering New York’s Hottest Industries. It’s offered Summer Session 1: June 1 – June 25, 2015 (11:30 AM – 2 PM)

This course will use New York as a lab for reporting and writing about some of the industries that fascinate everyone. Through “beat” journalism, it provides a fun and practical way to improve writing, build digital literacy, strengthen photography skills, learn new research strategies and explore New York. Students will write feature stories, profiles, reviews, Q&As, how-to articles and blog posts. Guest speakers will share first-hand experience and insider information and offer down-to-earth career advice.

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 10.37.28 AMOur instructor knows her stuff. Julia Chance is a former editor at Essence and the Source magazines, with extensive experience covering fashion, beauty, food and lifestyle topics. She is the author or co-author of four books, and contributes frequently to both consumer and industry publications.

NYT’s Felicia Lee Visits CCNY

IMG_1268Felicia R. Lee wrote 1,460 stories for the New York Times before she left the paper in December. Yesterday, she shared her insights with about 40 City College students in our Race & Reporting and Reporting and Writing courses.

Felicia began as a Metro reporter for the Times in late 1988 — and got thrown into the fray of covering New York in the bad old days. Her first story: The Central Park jogger case, in which five men of color were wrongly convicted of beating and raping a white woman. Reflecting back, she says she would’ve thought about the story differently today. “Being older and being a mother, I might’ve thought ‘these kids don’t have records, let’s look at the DNA, let’s retrace their steps,'” she told the class. “Maybe it wouldn’t have happened if there’d been a few people in key places that looked at things differently.”

(Twenty-five years later, Felicia wrote this story about Sarah Burns who wrote a book about the case and created the documentary, The Central Park 5.)

More recently, she covered culture stories writing about Toni Morrison, the movie Selma and interviewing Oprah and Scandal’s Kerry Washington and many, many more. Though she enjoyed her days at the New York Times, she is clear about what it meant to be one of the fewer women of color working as a senior writer. “Yes, I’m lucky; I hit the jackpot,” Felicia said. “[But] I also realized this paper needs me as much as I need them.”

In the end, she felt grateful for the opportunity to share her experiences with our students. “I’m glad you’re here,” she said. “The country is changing. The media needs you–smart people with eyes open.” IMG_1274

The Paper — It’s Relaunched!

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 2.26.41 PMPlease check out the recently re-launched website of The Paper with content created by this semester’s Race & Reporting class.

The Paper has a long, colorful and respected legacy. It was first created in the late 60s by a group of African-American students at City College. Back issues of the publication are currently being digitized for research, thanks to the support and energy of some of these original contributors.

First called “Tech News,” The Paper was born in a very turbulent period of the country, featuring the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam and anti-war demonstrations, and fights for student rights–at City College, CUNY and all over the country.

With a period so rich in social upheaval, The Paper sought to report issues not covered in traditional college newspapers (though some of that was done), or indeed the mainstream press. News coverage ranged from community issues to national and international news, the arts (there was a movie and theatre critic, and a poet-in-residence).

The Paper produced some amazing journalism and was able to “break” several news stories before the mainstream press. In 1971, David Friedlander broke the true story of the uprising at the Attica prison several weeks before the New York Times. Similarly, The Paper broke the story of the 1970 student takeover of the CCNY campus to protest the US invasion of Cambodia. Arlette Hecht wrote a story on the Rockefeller drug laws, an article released simultaneously with a published article in the New York Times and NY Daily News (quite a feat for a college weekly publication).

The Paper also published in depth articles, such as a seminal piece on drugs and their flow into the US. This was important at that time (as it is now) because of the heroin epidemic plaguing Harlem and other black communities.

Right now we need contributors, so please reach out to if you’d like to write, edit, take photographs or help design the publication. Or stop by our office on the first floor of the NAC 1/118.

In the meantime, our very small current staff stands on the shoulders of the alumni giants of the past. Our students hold tight to this Langston Hughes quote, which ran on the banner of The Paper: 

“So we stand here

On the edge of hell

In Harlem

And look out on the world

And wonder

What we’re gonna do

In the face

Of what we remember”

Congratulations to The Campus (update 3/15/2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 4.28.45 PMThe Campus, our student-run newsmagazine online and in print, is one of three finalists in the Northeast region’s Mark of Excellence Awards, presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. Our entry, The Silent Scream, looks at the underground epidemic of depression and suicide among college students recently highlighted in the New York Times. A team of nearly a dozen of our journalism students told the story through a reported article, infographic, video and photographs. This special report was anchored by a package of deeply-felt first-person essays.
[On March 15, 2015, at the College Media Association conference in Manhattan, A Silent Scream was the runner-up for a prestigious Big Apple Award in the multimedia category!]

Find an Internship–14 Resources to Explore (updated)

IMG_2559If you’re ready to get some hands-on, professional media experience, now’s the time to look for an internship. A paid, summer internship OF COURSE is ideal. You should pursue those opportunities, but also keep in mind that at the best media companies, those spots can be highly competitive. And small companies generally don’t have money to offer their interns.

So it may be easier to look for a spring or fall internship instead. At CCNY, interns generally receive academic credit. (For more information, reach out to Professor Lynn Appelbaum,

How do you find an internship? You look–hard! CCNY students have interned at large media companies like NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, PBS, NY1, Univision, Hearst, Time Inc., Conde Nast, The New York Observer, the Daily News, WNYC and many more. Most students did the work to find positions and apply for them. You need to be relentless.

There are plenty of resources and opportunities out there. To get started, follow these tips:

1. Go directly to the website of the media outlet you’d like to work for and see what’s offered. For instance, click here for information about internships offered by NBC Universal. Or here for NY1. Or here for Time Inc. Or here for Buzzfeed. Cast a wide net.

2. MEOjobs is an AMAZING aggregation of media internships. It’s pretty much one stop shop!

3. Try Ed2010, a site organized by students interested in publishing. Companies post openings, mainly at magazines–print and digital. When I looked over the opportunities 5 minutes before writing this,  I noticed openings at The Food Network,, Oprah and Time Out for budding writers, photographers, designers and editors.

4. Join linked in, the free social media network for careers.  Create a profile and sign up for the jobs email alert. Most posts are for job-jobs, but today I received notice of a copy writing internship at the NY Institute of Management.

5. Check in on Mediabistro and indeed. Media Bistro’s Media Jobs Daily offers listings as well as helpful information, like this article about how to score a sports PR internship.

6. Recruiters like Indeed, a no-fuss search engine for jobs that has become increasingly popular with employers. When I searched media internships, I saw several in fashion.

7. Try Findspark, a membership organization that offers support, information, meet-ups and listings to college students and recent grads interested in creative industries. Read this Find Spark story: 20 + Career Tips From Creatives Who Were in Your Shoes.

8. Looking for sports internships specifically? Click here for guidance.

9. Quieres Spanish speaking media? Try these opportunities.

10. Brush up on professional social media skills. Take a class or volunteer to be the social media manager for a nonprofit, church or campus organization. This is the hot media job, so make sure you’ve got the skills.

11. Make sure you have a linked in page that includes a professional photo. Your resume should be clean, up to date, and slanted toward your media experience/studies. For info, read this article.

12. New resources! The career center on campus recommends: journalism jobs, media industry newsletter (sign up for job alerts) and journalism next.

13: If you’re techie, try news nerd jobs.

14. FINAL THOUGHT: Don’t just apply to one or two internships. Instead, go for broke. Isn’t it better if you have lots of offers to choose from? Good luck!