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!”


Herman Lew–A Colleague Remembered

10701982_648472738584567_1683951334945981887_nby Onaka Fiedtkou

The Media and Communication Arts department, and City College, lost an exceptional member of their community a few weeks ago. Professor Herman Lew, director of the BFA in Film & Video program, passed away on September 20. He suffered from a fatal heart attack. The dreadful news stunned the public. People recognized Professor Lew to always be in good spirit with a smile and joke waiting for you. The MCA department falls with heavy hearts over this loss. His office remains closed with a poster and marker outside for the public to share their condolences. From an academic standpoint, the administration has everything organized after this tragic loss. An active Director of the program has been assigned as well as a professor for his classes for an entire year.

Professor David Davidson, a long time member of the BFA Film & Video department, takes over as the new Director of the BFA Film & Video program. Professor Davidson was a founding director of the MFA program in Media Arts Production. Davidson’s role as the new Director of the BFA program holds a special connection to the MCA department, and to Professor Lew.

“Not only given his talents, his experience at the institution, but in addition to that he went to graduate school with Professor Lew,” Jerry Carlson, Director of the Cinema Studies minor, says. Lew and Davidson were friends outside of being coworkers. “Professor Lew shot a number of Professor Davidson’s documentaries. It’s not only something that has to do with professional qualifications, but there is a personal bond there as well.”

-2Professor Lew also taught courses in the Film & Video program. The administration has called upon a veteran to the MCA department, and a good friend to Professor Lew, cinematographer Niknaz Tavakolian. She will step in as a substitute professor for Lew’s class this semester. Tavakolian has previously taught cinematography courses and served on the technical staff in the department. “She has actually the perfect candidate,” Carlson says. “There are many cinematographers who have high qualifications but she knows our department, she knows our students, she knows our philosophy of film, and of teaching.”

It becomes difficult to honor a great man with many accomplishments, who had a great impact on countless people across different platforms. Outside of City College, Professor Lew played a significant role with Third World Newsreel, a nonprofit organization in New York. City College and Third World will coordinate together to hold a memorial later in October for Professor Lew. “We have overlapping philosophies and missions,” Carlson says. “It’s only appropriate that we would do it together and that the communities would be able to come together in that way.”


An Honor to Be Nominated!

photo-7The CCNY Campus Newsmgazine online was nominated for a Pacemaker Award by the Associated Collegiate Press. This is basically the “Oscars” of college media. We didn’t win the top prize, but were honored as a finalist for our two-part story of MCA student Bennett Bennett and how his family coped with Hurricane Sandy–and the campus organization created to help him. Campus editor Louis Oprisa and business manager Ashlee Schuppius went to the College Media Association national convention in New Orleans October 23-27 to collect our finalist plaque.

Meet Our New TV Adjunct, Prof V. Goes Back to School…and More


Dante Higgins in action.

Professor Higgins of CBS–New at CCNY

As you may know, last year we added a television journalism class among our required courses for the CCNY Journalism minor. Students learn about the industry, the craft of reporting and writing for television and get hands-on camera and editing experience.

For two semesters, Sumi Aggarwal, a producer at 60 Minutes taught the course. Her class is challenging, popular and includes a CBS tour!

Sumi Aggarwal (in black dress) with students.

Sumi Aggarwal (in black dress) with students.

Professor Aggarwal is taking a break this semester, and we’ve been fortunate (again) to welcome Dante Higgins to fill in as a visiting adjunct. Professor Higgins is a talented, experienced journalist and passionate educator. He is a producer for network news at CBS, where he covers a variety of stories. In 2008, he was embedded with Senator John McCain on the presidential campaign trail–and survived–and he has also worked for CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

You can learn more about Dante here.

Professor Villarosa Goes to Grad School!

Yes, I’m in graduate school. Throughout my career, I was always too busy to get that master’s degree, and now that I’m also an academic, I need it. So over the past year, I’ve been at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism studying interactive media, with a concentration in Urban Affairs. It’s been wonderful and frustrating and tiring and humbling (I’m in with two former students, Regina Michelle and Mikhael Simmonds!) and ultimately a game-changer for me. Yes, I took Advanced Social Media, so follow me on Twitter @lindavillarosa.

I hope to graduate at the end of the year…or next year. Here’s a video I made about Trinity Cemetery, and another about my cat and dog. No snickering, but this is why Sumi and Dante teach TV journalism, not me.

images MCA’s New Master’s Program

Have you heard about BIC? It’s a master’s degree program MCA is rolling out next fall. This 36-credit, portfolio-driven degree in Branding + Integrated Communications has been designed as a laboratory, think tank and executive training ground. For more info, see the program blog.

The 21st Century Journalist

The days of writers who just write are long gone. In our age of 24/7 multimedia news, anyone wanting to be a journalist must also know how to blog, shoot photographs, capture and edit video and create podcasts.

Those of us who teach train the next generation of journalists are doing our best to keep students current. Here, MCA major Dustin M. Plutzer discusses what you can do to make sure you’re ready to compete in the age of Media 2.0:

Got Photoshop? In Today’s World You Better Say Yes

In the communications major here at City College the Media Production course is an elective, and many students graduate without knowing how to edit images or videos.

In many cases even cursory knowledge of editing software can give a new applicant a leg up on the competition. “Production knowledge is not optional anymore, it’s necessary. Because online content has become so important, you need to be fluent in the basics of editing and production to stand a chance,” says Joselina Salazar, an MCA senior who is currently applying for jobs as a journalist.

Carol Tavarez is another MCA senior facing challenges in the age of new media. With her internship coming to an end this month, she is concerned about her prospects for future employment. “I really wish I knew even the basics of production software,” says Tavarez, “it would be really cool to know I could produce an ad or a video in a crunch.”

CCNY Communications Professor Judith Escalona is attempting to address the need to offer affordable instruction on software like Photoshop and Final Cut Pro to students. MediaNoche, a Not-For-Profit gallery for new media art founded by Escalona, is providing affordable one-day workshops over the summer.

“We noticed that many students were intimidated by software programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and Final Cut Pro, which are becoming more widely used. We wanted to provide these workshops to teach them the basics, at a price that any student can afford,“ says Escalona.

The one-day workshops, covering Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Final Cut Pro, will be offered for $75 and are open to students and the general public. The first workshop on Adobe Photoshop will be offered on June 18th at the MediaNoche gallery at 1355 Park Avenue in Spanish Harlem, from 2pm-7pm.

“Sign me up,” said Salazar upon learning of the workshops for the first time. The laptops and software are provided, and class size is limited to 6 people. The schedule for upcoming workshops is as follows:

Saturdays beginning June 18, 25, July 9 — 2pm – 7pm: Photoshop.
Saturdays beginning July 16, 23, 30 — 2pm -7pm: Illustrator.
Sundays beginning June 19 — 10am – 4pm: Final Cut Pro
Monday and Wednesday evening — 6pm – 9pm: Final Cut Pro

For more information and to sign up for the workshops go to the MediaNoche Facebook page.youth presentation