School of Communication and Media - Spring 2014


News Highlights . . .

Greetings students, alumni, colleagues and friends. At the School of Communication and Media, we continue to forge ahead with exciting initiatives on the curriculum front as well as a range of hosted events that explore the challenges and opportunities of the changing communication and media industries.

The School is launching a BA degree in Journalism in the fall of 2014, which was approved by the New Jersey President’s Council this February. The program focuses on building the necessary skills students need to deliver compelling news and other media content for television, radio, print, the Internet and additional forms of new media. Students will have ample opportunities to work with the Montclarion newspaper, the campus radio station, the web site, and media partners affiliated with MSU's Center for Cooperative Media to sharpen their journalistic skills. The School is looking forward to welcoming the first group of journalism students in the fall.

Both the Colloquium Series and Film Forum Series have served as a springboard to address hot-button issues. One of the highlights this year is an exploration of the role of women in media industries. On February 11, the Film Forum series presented director, writer, producer and actress Lexi Alexander who spoke candidly with our students about her production experiences and the challenges that women still face in the film industry. On a similar note, the School, in collaboration with the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, presented a panel on March 4 on "Women in Sports Media." Panelists included Annie Sundberg, director of the ESPN film on women in sports media, "Let Them Wear Towels," and Tara Sullivan, sports columnist for The Record and, who addressed how female sports reporters have fared through the years in the media industry.

A second major theme for events this year is that of disruption that gives rise to emerging journalistic and media business models. Jeff Jarvis, author and media consultant, and I held a keynote conversation on “Disruption: Media - Is the Future of Media Bleak or Bright?” on March 25. The theme extended to George Brock’s presentation, “Out of Print: Newspapers, Journalism and the Business of News in the Digital Age” on March 26. And, it was brought full circle with Ken Auletta’s 2014 Terhune Journalism Lecture in “Tales from the Frontlines of the Media Revolution” on March 27.

In the ongoing efforts to improve the quality and quantity of New Jersey’s local media, the Center for Cooperative Media will host its first-ever annual conference, "Innovating the Local News Ecosystem" on April 24-25 on the University campus. The conference will address the major trends and innovations impacting local media. And the New Jersey Commons and Hack Jersey will present an Open Data NJ summit on May 15. The summit aims to encourage journalists, government officials, watchdogs and citizen activists to work together to make data about the state universally accessible.

The Filmmaking Program recently received a $10,000 grant from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences to send two students to Los Angeles this summer to intern on feature films. The School also held its first networking event for film alumni on March 27. The event was co-sponsored by the Montclair Film Festival and Montclair State University's Office of Alumni Relations and brought together film alumni, film and media industry professionals in the surrounding community, and faculty. One-hundred-and-eight people attended, 54 of them film alumni.

The School has just come out with its latest newsletter.  Check out the spring edition here.

I hope you will take some time to explore some of our other initiatives. We look forward to welcoming you at our upcoming events.

Merrill Brown,




Broadcaster of the Year Award Goes to Kristine Johnson

Emmy Award-winning CBS 2 news anchor, Kristine Johnson, was awarded the 2013 Allen B. DuMont Broadcaster of the Year Award at the Montclair State University Conference Center on December 11.  Read more...

People Spotlights . . .Faculty, Students, Alumni


Prof. DAVID SANDERS won an Emmy Award as executive producer for the Copy Kid, an animated PSA that encourages young people to respect the rights of creators. The animation, which won best Community/Public Service Award, was created by artist Bevin Carnes and is part of a new, innovative education tool that Sanders developed for primary school students. It is designed to teach respect and admiration for creators, inventors and their works.  

Profs. SANDERS and STEVE McCARTHY returned  from a successful spring break reporting trip in Malawi, Africa with five of their students.  The team produced feature stories on sustainability issues in partnership with the World Food Program.

Profs. SANDERS, McCARTHY and BEVERLY PETERSON also recently returned from Jordan as part of an ongoing international program sponsored by Montclair State's Global Education Center and Spiritus Mundi, a Swedish non-governmental organization that uses the performing arts to bring communities together. Sanders, McCarthy, and Peterson were in Amman with three students completing the production phase of a documentary on the Hayatuna Amman project that brings arts and creative  expression workshops to refugee, orphaned and handicapped children. They have been working on the project with students for almost two years, producing several short feature pieces as they work to complete a long-form documentary of the program. The Jordan project has also been incorporated into the curriculum of several TVDM classes to allow students to gain real-world experience in the editing phases of this project.

Prof. PETERSON screened her documentary, What Killed Kevin, in Tucson, Arizona, as part of the "Media Making a Difference" film series sponsored by the Aurora Foundation, Tucson Jewish International Film Festival, and Fund for Civility, Respect, and Understanding. Following the screening, Peterson joined several experts on workplace bullying for a panel discussion. She served as co-chair of a forum, "Workplace Bullying: Seeking Solutions," at Rutgers School of Law-Newark April 4. She was also awarded an Official Webby Honoree in the 18th Annual Webby Awards in the Best Use of Interactive Video category for the interactive web-documentary.
Prof. PHILIP BAKELAAR gave a speech at the New Jersey Health Association Annual Conference on "Non-Traditional Public Health Partnerships - Lessons from Hurricane Sandy," on December 6.

Prof.  KARL NUSSBAUM’s new short film, Night Blooming Flower, won the second-prize Jury Citation Award at the 33rd Black Maria Film Festival, and is included in the festival's annual tour that visits more than 60 host sites in over 20 states across the country, as well as abroad.

Prof. JOE GILFORD’s new play Finks is available in paperback online at Dramatists Play Service or through The Drama Bookshop, NYC. Finks played last spring at Ensemble Studio Theatre, NY, and was nominated for two Drama Desk awards and an Off-Broadway Alliance award.

Prof. YI LUO's co-authored paper "How important is interactional justice?" was presented at the 99th annual National Communication Association conference in Washington, D.C.

Profs.  ROBERTA FRIEDMAN and DANIEL LOEWENTHAL's video installation, "Cosmopolis: 49 Waltzes for the World (2013)," was presented at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in Manhattan December 11-15.

A sci-fi feature film by Profs.  LOEWENTHAL (editor), ARTHUR VINCIE (writer/director) and BEN WOLF (cinematographer), "Found In Time," debuted in New York City at the New Filmmakers NY screening series on January 2, at Anthology Film Archives, N.Y. 

Prof. JASON MOORE is currently producing the web-based "Variety Screening Series" for Variety Magazine. The series features in-depth interviews with the writers, directors and actors of this year’s most critically acclaimed
films, including Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Scott Cooper, Christian Bale and Casey Affleck (Out of the Furnace), and  Sally Hawkins and Bobby Cannavale (Blue Jasmine). His camera, lighting and editing crew is comprised entirely of his current and past students.

CCM Director JU-DON ROBERTS was one of six news members appointed to the National Advisory Board (NAB) at Poynter, a global leader in journalism innovation and training.  Roberts, began her term of three years beginning in January, brings to the Institute experiences in traditional and new forms of journalism, as an award-winning journalist, digital media strategist and  startup adviser. (Read more here.)


BRIANNA SENECCA and KYLE PARKIN were selected as student representatives to attend the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, in April. This is an all-expenses-paid, five-day stay from Sony in which students train with Sony representatives on new products and then work the Sony booth during the show. 


TANJA REKHI (Broadcasting/English ’12) is working as a local television news reporter at WENY-HD News in Horseheads, N.Y. She is featured in an article of recent Montclair State graduates who have successfully started on their career paths. (Read more here.)

KENNETH SPOONER (Broadcasting '13) wrote an article, “Life Through a Lens,” that was published by the Huffington Post. (Read it here.)

ASHE McKENZIE (TVDM '12) joined a local station in Elmira, N.Y., as a reporter. Prior to that, she was working as a news desk associate at WABC, Channel 7, N.Y.