Columbia Journalism School

Alumni Weekend 2012


Dear Alumni,

We look forward to welcoming you back to the Journalism School for Alumni Weekend and the official kick off of the yearlong Centennial celebration. Beginning with Alumni Weekend 2012 and concluding with Alumni Weekend 2013, the Centennial commemoration will celebrate Columbia Journalism School’s record of excellence, the incredible contributions of alumni, and the continuing vitality of Joseph Pulitzer’s legacy looking ahead to the next hundred years.

This year the weekend will officially begin after lunch on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. For those arriving early for Alumni Weekend, there is a happy hour on Thursday, April 19, which will be followed by the Hearst New Media Lecture.

We invite you to return, reconnect and rediscover the school and the great city that was once your journalism laboratory. Enjoy events that enlighten and entertain and see friends and former classmates. See you soon!


Irena Choi Stern ’01
Assistant Dean, Alumni Relations


Alumni Weekend 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

5:30-6:45 p.m.
Happy Hour
World Room (Third Floor, Journalism Building)

7:00-9:00 p.m.
Hearst New Media Lecture:
Collateral Damage: News Organizations, Free Speech and the Internet
Rebecca MacKinnon, Hearst Professional-in-Residence
In-person talk and live webcast
Lecture Hall (Third Floor, Journalism Building)

2012 Hearst New Media Lecture by Rebecca MacKinnon, author of the brand-new "Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom" and Bernard L. Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation.

Join us for the annual lecture by our Hearst New Media Professional-in-Residence, a major thinker -- and do-er -- on digital issues. This year, Internet journalism pioneer MacKinnon will make the case that in pursuit of commercial self-interest, many news organizations are supporting business practices, technologies, and legislation that will diminish the Internet's openness and freedom. While this might be good for business in the short term, in the long run everybody will lose – especially journalists.

Friday, April 20, 2012

1:00-3:00 p.m.
Book Proposal Workshop
Professor Samuel G. Freedman

Prof. Freedman teaches a course on how to prepare a book proposal, which is celebrating its 21st anniversary in 2012. Freedman is the author of six books, most recently “Letters to a Young Journalist” (2006) and is currently at work on his seventh, “The Big Game: Football and Freedom in the Civil Rights South.” Freedman was a staff reporter for The Times from 1981 through 1987 and currently writes the column “On Religion,” as well as frequent articles on culture. Freedman was named the nation’s outstanding journalism educator in 1997 by the Society of Professional Journalists. His class in book-writing has developed more than 50 authors, editors, and agents, and it has been featured in Publishers Weekly and the Christian Science Monitor.

1:00 p.m.
Student-led Tour of Journalism Building
Meet in Journalism Lobby

2:00-3:00 p.m.

From Hot Type to Cold Bytes: A Half Century-plus of Changes in Journalism
A panel discussion by the classes of 1952 and 1962

Moderated by Christopher Trump ’62, with Soma Golden Behr ’62, Kevin Delany ’52, John Fialka ’62 and Betsy Wade ’52.

2:30-4:00 p.m.
Career Services Open House

3:10-4:10 p.m.

Knight Case Study
Kirsten Lundberg, Director of Case Studies

The case method is a novel one for the Journalism School. Students are given a case—an actual narrative about an event in the life of a news gathering organization—in which someone has to make a decision, or a series of decisions, whose impact will be felt by employees, sources, subjects of stories and, in some instances, the industry. Through class discussion, students have the opportunity to examine in depth a wide range of editorial, ethical and economic issues. Lundberg was acting director of the Case Program at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and her case studies have been widely used and published. Before joining Harvard, Lundberg worked for United Press International in Moscow, Stockholm, Brussels and London.

Entrepreneur's Pitchfest
Moderator: Emilia Askari ’83

If you've got an idea for a new kind of journalism-related business, app, site or platform, this is your chance to get feedback from a panel of business experts and investors, including Brian S. Cohen, chair of the New York Angels (and the lead investor in Pinterest), which has invested over $45 million into more than 70 early stage technology companies; and Sandra Kresch, president of PSD International, a boutique-consulting firm focused on providing media and entertainment industry clients to address high impact strategic business issues, who has lead a number of deals resulting in funding for early stage companies and is an investor in Open Road Integrated Media and NewsIt, focused on marrying crowdsourced content with algorithms and editorial expertise to produce personally relevant, high quality news at lower cost than traditional media. Emilia Askari '83 is a journalist, educator, social researcher, gamer and user experience designer. After more than two decades as a prize-winning reporter for the Miami Herald, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the Detroit Free Press, she stepped back from the newsroom to earn a second master's degree at the University of Michigan School of Information, where she studied human-computer interaction and related fields.

Hollywood and the News: The Image of the Journalist in Movies and Television
Professor Joe Saltzman ’62, director of The Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture (IJPC) at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California

Most people never see journalists in action. Yet they have a very specific idea of what journalists are and what they do because they have seen these news-gatherers in movies and on television. The public bases its impressions and understanding of the news media on these images and this has serious ramifications on the success or failure of the American democracy.

A 35-minute video of movie and television images from the 20th and 21st centuries is featured in this presentation by Joe Saltzman, an award-winning journalist, professor of journalism and director of The Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture (IJPC) at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California. Saltzman was a recipient of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Alumni Award in 2005, and the winner of the Charles E. Scripps Award for the national Journalism & Mass Communication Teacher of the Year by the Scripps Howard Foundation in 2011.

4:25-5:10 p.m.
Dean's Panel
Nicholas Lemann, Dean; Bill Grueskin, Academic Dean; Ernest Sotomayor, Assistant Dean for Career Services; Arlene Morgan, Associate Dean for Prizes & Programs

Every day it becomes more obvious that journalism is undergoing a major historic shift and that the Journalism School has a major challenge and a major opportunity before it. Join the deans as they deliver a “state of the school” address, and discuss how the school is helping to shape the future of journalism.

4:00-5:00 p.m.
SPJ/Columbia Chapter Sale of J-School Clothing
Journalism Lobby

5:15-5:30 p.m.
Unveiling Ceremony of Pulitzer Hall on Journalism Building Steps

6:00 p.m.
Centennial Program in Miller Theatre
Nicholas Lemann, Dean
Robert Caro (Carnegie Fellow) '68
Martina Guzman '08
A'Lelia Bundles '76

Robert_caro_web Martina_guzman_web Alelia_bundles_web

7:30-9:00 p.m.
Centennial Party in Low Library

Saturday, April 21, 2012

9:00-9:30 a.m.
Continental Breakfast

9:30-11:30 a.m.
Social Media Skills: What's New and What You Need to Know
Professor Sree Sreenivasan '93, Dean of Student Affairs

Three years ago, the J-School introduced a first-of-its-kind five-week social media course for students, so they can use the new platforms in smart, strategic ways. This workshop, taken from that course, will teach the basics and take your skills to the next level. You will leave with big-picture ideas and useful, helpful, practical tips you can implement right away. See @Sree's basic Twitter tips and his constantly updated Social Media Guide.

9:00-11:00 a.m.
SPJ/Columbia Chapter Sale of J-School Clothing
Journalism Lobby

12:00-2:00 p.m.
Alumni Awards and Class Luncheon in Low Library

1:00 p.m.
Alumni Awards Ceremony in Low Library

The Alumni Awards are given to alumni of the Graduate School of Journalism for a distinguished journalism career in any medium, for an outstanding single accomplishment in journalism, for notable contributions to journalism education, or for achievement in related fields. The 2012 Alumni Award winners are:


Gail Collins (Knight-Bagehot Fellow) ’82, an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times, was the first woman ever appointed editor of The Times’ editorial page. At the beginning of 2007, she stepped down to begin a leave of absence in order to finish her book “When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present,” a sequel to her book “America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines.” Before joining The Times, Collins was a columnist at New York Newsday and the New York Daily News, and a reporter for United Press International. Her first job in journalism was in Connecticut, where she founded the Connecticut State News Bureau, which provided coverage of the state capitol and Connecticut politics. Besides “When Everything Changed,” published in October 2009, Collins is the author of “America’s Women,” “Scorpion Tongues:  Gossip, Celebrity and American Politics,” and “The Millennium Book,” which she co-authored with her husband, Dan Collins. She teaches as an adjunct at Columbia Journalism School.


Lolis Eric Elie ’86 is story editor and staff writer for the HBO series “Treme,” created by David Simon (“The Wire”) and Eric Overmyer (“Law and Order”). Much like the show itself, Elie’s career has been focused on journalism, food, New Orleans and music. For more than a dozen years, as columnist with the The Times-Picayune, he chronicled the politics, idiosyncrasies and appetites of New Orleans. As a special correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning, he documented New Orleans culture for a national audience. In partnership with documentary filmmaker Dawn Logsdon, Elie produced and wrote the award-winning 2008 documentary “Faubourg Treme,” which details the history of The New Orleans Tribune, the country’s first black daily newspaper. In 1996 Elie published “Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country,” an examination of American culture through the prism of its most emblematic food. That book was the basis of a documentary of the same name. He is the editor of “Cornbread Nation 2: The Best of Southern Food Writing.” His work has appeared in such publications as The Oxford American, Gourmet, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Best Food Writing, Best African American Essays and Saveur. His fiction has appeared in the anthologies “Streetlights” and “That’s What I Like About the South,” and has been read on the public radio program “Selected Shorts.”


John Fialka ’62 is the editor of ClimateWire, an Internet newsletter devoted to the myriad issues surrounding global warming. Until January, 2008, he was a reporter with the Wall Street Journal's Washington Bureau, where he covered a wide variety of beats over 25 years, including defense and intelligence matters. He served abroad as the lead reporter for the Journal in the first Gulf War and in the London bureau, during the waning days of the Cold War. His specialties have included nuclear power, nuclear proliferation, war mobilization, and politics and money. From 1996 until retiring in December 2007, he covered energy and environmental matters in the Washington Bureau, a set of issues that became increasingly dominated by climate change. He is the author of three books, including “Hotel Warriors,” an exploration of the battles between the press and the military during the Gulf War that led to the implementation of the “imbed” system used during the War in Iraq; “Economic Espionage in America” and “Sisters, Catholic Nuns and the Making of America,” which has been the subject of two television documentaries. Fialka has won several major awards including the Worth Bingham and the Raymond Clapper awards for investigative journalism.


Simon Li ’70, editor and leadership consultant and a vice chairman of the board of the International Press Institute, had a newspaper career spanning 42 years, the last 23 of them with the Los Angeles Times, where he was an assistant business editor, foreign editor and assistant managing editor. With nearly two decades of management experience, Li believes that moral courage, the human touch and coaching others are the hallmarks of the best leaders, managers and editors. Born in London and a graduate of Oxford University where he is a Fleming Fellow and a member of the Rector's Council of Lincoln College, Li began his career as a reporter at the Hong Kong Standard, the English-language daily, during an exciting time—the Cultural Revolution was underway and the politics had spread to Hong Kong. He was recently honored with the “Leadership in Diversity Award” at the Asian American Journalists Association National Convention in Detroit, in recognition of his efforts to diversify the newsroom during his long career as editor and recruiter. He was known in the Times newsroom for his championship of international coverage and directed the paper’s coverage of the Persian Gulf War. Li is member of the Board of Overseers of the Huntington Library and a member of the Columbia Journalism School Board of Visitors.

2:00-2:45 p.m.
Class Photos in Low Library

Linger at your tables with classmates until you’re called up for your class photo.

3:00 p.m.
Student-led Tour of Journalism Building
Meet in Journalism Lobby

3:00-4:00 p.m.
SPJ/Columbia Chapter Sale of J-School Clothing
Journalism Lobby

3:00-3:50 p.m.

Joseph Pulitzer and His Legacy
James McGrath Morris, author of “Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print and Power”

Join author James McGrath Morris as he traces the epic story of Joseph Pulitzer’s rise through American politics and into journalism, and how the founder of Columbia Journalism School harnessed all the converging elements of entertainment, technology, business and demographics and made the newspaper an essential feature of urban life.

New Models of Journalism
Panel moderated by Liz Willen ’87, director of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media and editor-in-chief of The Hechinger Report

Panelists Michelle Levander ’87, director, the USC Annenberg/California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships; Eric Umansky ’07, senior editor, ProPublica; and David Cohn ’08, founder of, a community-funding site, and Ford Fellow at the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism; discuss how new and creative models of journalism are rising out of one of the most tumultuous periods in media history. The financial crisis, the fall of the primacy of traditional advertising, expanding corporate ownership, and dramatic technological change have created a new terrain of upstarts, for-profit entrepreneurs and citizen reporters. This panel will explore this new terrain, ranging from its impact on the craft of journalism to the increasingly critical role of foundation-sponsored news and crowdfunding through web sites.

4:10-5:10 p.m.
Election 2012: What's at Stake?
Panel moderated by Professor Tom Edsall

Panelists are Pat Buchanan ’62, former assistant to three presidents, columnist and commentator with MSNBC and the McLaughlin Group, whose last seven books have all been New York Times bestsellers; Ellis Henican ’82, columnist at Newsday and political analyst on the Fox News Channel; and Dawn Laguens, vice president for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. On the eve of the New York primary, Professor Edsall moderates a panel on the 2012 U.S. elections.

Covering the Middle East: The War on Terror to the Arab Spring
Panel with the class of '97

Moderated by Arik Hesseldahl with Abdallah Hassan, Courtney Kealy, Chris Allbritton, Jennifer Steil and Imma Vitelli. Five members of the class of 1997 have spent considerable time in the Middle East and were witness to such historic events as the uprising in Egypt and the Iraq War.

5:15-6:15 p.m.

25th and 50th Reunion Classes Happy Hour with Dean Nicholas Lemann

6:30 p.m. - on
Class Socials

Sunday, April 22, 2012

12:00 p.m.
Memorial Service for Prof. Richard Blood '58
Pulitzer Hall, Third Floor

Registration Details
Advance registration is required for all events. There is no on-site registration and we expect events may sell out due to space constraints. There is an early-bird special for those who register by March 15*.

Registration packets may be picked up at the following locations during the weekend:

Friday, April 20
12:00-6:00 p.m., Journalism Lobby

Saturday, April 21
8:00-11:00 a.m., Journalism Lobby
11:15 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Low Library
2:30-5:00 p.m., Journalism Lobby

*Alumni Weekend is subsidized by the Journalism School and registration fees are used to offset the cost of catering and programming. Registration fees are not tax-deductible.

Cancellation Policy
The deadline to receive a refund for your registration is within 21 days from the date you registered online (only online registrations can be cancelled). Cancellations will be accepted by phone or email. Cancellation requests received after the 21-day deadline will not be eligible for a refund. Registrants who do not request a cancellation by the 21-day deadline and choose not to attend the event will not be eligible for a refund. No cancellation requests will be accepted after
April 1, 2012.

Special Requests
We look forward to seeing you on campus for Alumni Weekend/Centennial and would like to make your visit as enjoyable as possible. If you have any special needs, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at or 212-854-3864 and we will make every attempt to accommodate your request.

Reunion Giving
The occasion of your reunion provides an opportunity to make a contribution to Columbia Journalism School to help maintain its standard of excellence and ensure its continued success. All contributions made to the school between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012 by alumni in reunion class years count toward the class gift total. You can make a gift by check, credit card or stock transfer at

Save the date: Reconnect with classmates

April 12-13, 2013
April 4-5, 2014


Learn more about past Alumni Weekends







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