SoCJ Working Newsroom Initiative Joins SUNY-wide Effort

Students from two journalism courses are providing help to the Long Island region in covering local news, and the classes were recently added to a growing SUNY-led initiative called the Institute for Local News.

Stony Brook is one of eight campuses so far to join the initiative. At each campus, the initiative takes a slightly different shape.

“We know that journalism and effective communication can bring communities together, and help build empathy and common understanding,” said Laura Lindenfeld, dean of the School of Communication and Journalism and executive director of the Alda Center for Communicating Science (SoCJ). “These kinds of partnerships serve society and give our students exceptional real-world experience and academic credit. Such collaborations can help to build a fairer, more just, more rational world, and I’m thrilled that SUNY is helping to coalesce these different efforts.”

The first SoCJ course, the Working Newsroom taught by instructor George Giokas, gives students a chance to cover local community events and business news. Their stories can be featured on a collection of local news sites, including LongIsland.com, Longislandrestaurants.com, the Long Island Advance, The Long Island Press, The Herald Newspapers and Huntington Now. 

The other course, led by production supervisor Phil Altiere, creates a Friday news show. The show is uploaded to a playlist on the SoCJ’s YouTube channel, and helps students interested in pursuing careers in television and media production build their professional portfolios.

“Local news forms part of the backbone of a community by bringing people together and helping them understand what’s going on with local organizations, government and school districts,” Giokas said. “It’s a powerful way for media outlets to get stories they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to feature, and for future journalists to build their skills and gain experience. It’s just a win-win-win.”

In time, SUNY officials say they hope the effort expands to include most, if not all, of the 64 campuses in the system.

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