Summer Writing Course! — Tell Your Story

This summer, MCA is offering a summer course first session (June 5 – 30th) — The Art of Personal Narrative. In this fun, supportive environment, you’ll express yourself  in the form of essays, social media, blogging, narrative journalism and photography. You will strengthen storytelling skills, receive publishing insight and learn to leverage your personal experiences in your creative work and professional goals.

In the words of the great Dr. Maya Angelou: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Here are the details:

  • 2017 Summer Session One: June 5th – June 30th
  • Mon-Thurs 11am-2pm,
  • Anyone can take this course, but it counts toward the MCA major, journalism minor. 
  • 3 credits

Get to know the instructor!

Gina Ryder is a former blog editor with The Huffington Post. At HuffPost, she worked with hundreds of contributors to tell influential personal stories that connected with thousands of readers around the world. Her own writing has appeared in Reader’s Digest, Psychology Today and An advocate for the power of personal narrative, she has taught writing workshops in vulnerable communities for organizations such as The Bridge, Covenant House, Breaking Ground and Harlem Children’s Zone. She has a B.A. in journalism from Temple University and is an M.F.A. candidate in creative nonfiction from Columbia University.




Journalism Students Interview Indy Filmmakers

Last month, two local filmmakers, Annie J. Howell and Lisa Robinson, visited one of CCNY’s Introduction to Journalism classes. Corisa Kastrataj covered the event.

Last week in Shepard Hall, an Intro to Journalism class invited directors Annie Howell and Lisa Robinson, to discuss their second Indie film “Claire in Motion.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 11.44.47 AM

Robinson and Howell with journalism students.

Howell and Robinson met at NYU grad school, where both women pursued an MFA in film. The pair began creating a web series called “Sparks,” which ran on the Sundance channel.

The women writer/directors enjoy working on independent projects because of the freedom and creativity. “We’re allowed to pursue our interests,” said Robinson. The filmmakers found success with their debut feature “Small, Beautifully Moving Parts.”

Howell and Robinson made their second feature called “Claire in Motion,” where it was premiered at the SXSW film festival on March 14-17, 2016. Shortly after, the film began screening at other film festivals and had a theatrical release at select locations.

The story begins shortly after the protagonist; Claire Hunger, discovers her husband has gone missing. When the local police drop the case due to insufficient evidence, her son begins to grieve, which leads Claire to conduct her own search for finding her husband. Claire battles with identity as her husband’s secrets unfold, and struggles with uncertainty and loss.

The location for “Claire in Motion” was inspired by Howell’s new life in Ohio. “I explore what this particular small town showed me,” said Howell. The filming took place in Howell’s home and in a state park that she had previously traveled to for an engagement party. “Small town life creates certain situations,” Howell said.

While spending time apart during the pre-production of “Claire in Motion,” Howell and Robinson conducted skype calls to go over script ideas. “We write together but also write solo,” Howell said. Robinson added that their inspiration comes from “themes that we are obsessed with and keep going back to, we want that to resonate for people.”

When writing “Claire in Motion,” Robinson explained that the film’s ending was intentional; “We wanted it to always be uncertain.” Howell adds, “We knew [from the beginning] the viewer would never find out.” Robinson then concludes that “It’s her story, not his.”











New Issue of The Paper

The Paper, CCNY’s news publication that covers ideas and issues for people of color, has a new issue! The staff has distributed copies around campus, or you can read it online here.

First called “Tech News,” The Paper was born in 1970 during height of the Civil Rights movement and in the midst of Vietnam and anti-war demonstrations, and fights for student rights–at City College, CUNY and all over the country.


Congratulations — The Campus Reaches Finals for Mark of Excellence Award!

The Society of Professional Journalists named CCNY’s student newsmagazine The Campus as a Region 1 finalist in the multimedia category of the prestigious Mark of Excellence Awards. The online publication’s collaborative project “This Is Us,” uses personal essays, photography and video to tell stories of intersecting identities and diversity at City College. The project was curated by MCA senior Ashley Kalstek, with contributions by Nick Middleton, Lucy Parks, Arouj Haider, Bushra Begum, Saif Choudhury, Tonima Rahman and Cyprien Kodjo.

The MOE Awards honor the best of collegiate journalism from a calendar year. SPJ’s Region 1 comprises Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont — in other words, CCNY competes against, Harvard, Yale, Columbia J School, Princeton, NYU, CUNY J School etc. “This Is Us” marks the Campus’s third time as a finalist in the past few years.

Ashley, above, was recognized on April 6 in New York City.


Communications Alumni Group Interns — How They Spent the Summer

The Communications Alumni Group raised funds to award two CCNY journalism students paid summer internships. These opportunities provide valuable work experience for students who might otherwise miss out on hands-on training. Here’s how the two CAG interns, Demi Rodriguez and Christian Hernandez, spent their summers:

Demi Rodriguez, far right, with other interns at WNYC

Demi Rodriguez, general assignment intern, WNYC
Demi graduated with an English major, Journalism minor, class of 2016. A Bronx native, last year, she distinguished herself as a photographer and videographer. Thanks in large measure to her hard work and leadership on the series The Death and Life of Harlem, the project that received the College Media Association Apple Award for multimedia reporting.
        At WNYC, Demi honed her writing and reporting skills. She interviewed New Yorkers in Times Square about the Zika virus, and then worked on a larger project — assisting an education reporter on a piece about New York City men of color who train to be teachers. Says Demi: “When I first started, I knew nothing about radio and was very nervous. But my nerves faded as I learned the ins and outs of broadcast writing and found my voice. I truly appreciated every assignment given to me.”

Christian Hernandez in the Campus office.

Christian Hernandez, reporter, Harlem Focus

Christian is the hard-working editor-in-chief of The Campus, online and in print. He is a strong writer and editor who provides calm, steady leadership to the staff of student reporters, editors, photographers and designers. Over the summer, Christian immersed himself into the Harlem community, reporting on local news and events, including reaction to the Orlando shootings and a popular Afro-Latino festival.
      “By working with Harlem Focus, I was exposed to the impact that the community had on the lives of those in Harlem,” says Christian. “I gained a deeper insight into the lives of these everyday people and the stories they each held. They welcomed me into their community and trusted me with their thoughts, memories, and emotions.”
      When the student government elections were recalled over the summer, he shifted his focus and wrote a number of pieces as the story unfolded. “I was instructed on how I could sharpen the skills I already had,” says Christian. “I was shown how to perform skills I had yet to learn: video editing, creating stories from social media, and marketing myself as a brand.”
      This year, Christian continues to serve as The Campus editor.

Find an Internship–12 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 Lynne Scott Jackson,

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. Follow the program Facebook page, here. I’m posting as fast as I can. 

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 you can also receive internship alerts. Make sure you have a linked in page that includes a professional photo that’s friendly and approachable. Your resume should be clean, up to date, and slanted toward your media experience/studies. For info, read this article.

5. Check in on Mediabistro for listings.

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. Sign up for Johnson Jobs; you’ll receive a daily email with job/intern postings based on your skills and employment level.

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

10. Quieres Spanish speaking media? Try these opportunities.

11. 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 — social media = most intern and entry level position entry — so make sure you’ve got the skills.

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

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!

City Students Talk About Race on Local Radio

Journalism and Black Studies students from CCNY joined 1010 WINS radio personality Larry Mullins for a provocative discussion about race in honor of Black History Month. Journalism minor Hash Sesay covered the event; listen to the full conversation here.


A group of college students engaged in a riveting discussion on race relations this past Friday at CBS New York Studios as part of an event hosted by 1010WINS radio station.

The event, appropriately named Race 101: What Young People Think About Race Relations, brought together an array of students from different backgrounds eager to give their perspectives on how they deal with the issue of race on a day to day basis.

Larry Mullins hosted the panel alongside guest speaker Dr. Calvin Butts, and they did not shy away from introducing difficult topics. The students rose to the occasion, articulating their thoughts on more complicated issues such institutionalized racism, class discrimination, racial privilege, among other components of society that impede marginalized groups.

The students looked comfortable as they easily voiced their concerns and ideas with one another. It is evident they reap the benefits from attending CUNY and SUNY, systems which boast the most diverse learning environments in the world. “You dont really pay attention to [race],” says Shanique Jones, a pre-law student at The City College of New York. “We pretty much get along with everyone,” Jones continued.

The attitude of the students is a testament to what the struggles of previous generations have accomplished throughout American history, but the group on stage is not representative of the wider America. Though major strides in American race relations have been made, the students believe it is their duty to continue this tradition of progress in order to ensure a society that all of its citizens can benefit. “It doesn’t matter who you sit with, we are all human beings at the end of the day,” says Iqra Hussain, a business major at CUNY Kingsboro. “I don’t think race exist.” Hussain concluded.

The panel touched on how the false construct of race has historically divided people, but ironically in order to move forward from this division we must be willing to have open discussions about race. As recent graduate of City College Marie Brewer stated, “We have to be willing to talk about uncomfortable things, and we have to be willing to do it without getting upset.”