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

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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.

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More than Just the Red Carpet


For several years, Tomika Anderson had a perfectly fine job as a celebrity journalist. She got to interview T.I., Usher, Beyonce, her idol Stevie Wonder and many other stars.

But something for her changed several years ago when her brother was sent to Afghanistan to fight.

“I liked the whole celebrity journalism thing, but after my brother went to war, I wanted to do something different, something more serious,” she told my Introduction to Media Studies class last Tuesday during a guest lecture in Shepard Hall. (See Tomika with our class, below.)

“I realized there weren’t enough of us, journalists of color, in the news.”

Now Tomika mixes the hard news with the soft. She produces stories for FoxNews Edge and also writes scripts for BET shows

like the “Black Carpet. ” She covers celebrities and what they’re wearing for MTV and Uptown Magazine and also writes about serious issues like HIV, the Duke University rape case and the state of black America.

And as you’ve figured out, she also mixes her media–she describes herself as a TV and content producer and a writer. (She’s got clips from Ebony, essence.com, Entertainment Weekly, Vibe and Time Magazine.) And she even does a little PR on the side.

“There were days when a writer was just a writer,” says Tomika, who lives in Brooklyn. “Now, though, networks like CNN want someone who can do a bit of everything, someone who’s self-contained. So now a writer writes, produces, edits and is sometimes even the camera person.

Tomika describes the media as ever-changing, and promises to roll with it. She says she prefers to remain strictly freelance and is careful not to burn bridges to the gigs keep coming. Down the road, she’d like to write a book.

She advised anyone who’s interested in a media-communications career to stay current.

“You’ve got to be on top of the news,” she says. “In our business you always need to know what’s going on.”