SJSU and William Randolph Hearst Foundation Honor NY Times Reporter

William Randolph Hearst Award Flier

William Randolph Hearst Award Flier

San Jose State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications presented the William Randolph Hearst Foundation Professional Award for Excellence to David Streitfeld, a New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner. On March 13, he visited the campus to talk about global issues and concerns specific to Silicon Valley, as well as the ways in which the New York Times had responded to the Presidential transition.

“Our William Randolph Hearst honoree ended his day at SJSU Monday saying how much he appreciated the award and the wonderful time with us,” said Bob Rucker, a professor of journalism. “He made note several times of how impressed he was with the depth of questions asked by our JMC students.”

Streitfeld was part of a newspaper team that received a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting for “its penetrating look into business practices by Apple and other technology companies that illustrate the darker side of a changing global economy.” He also won his first “Best in Business” award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for his investigation of fake online reviews, and his second for an in-depth look at Amazon’s employment practices that he co-wrote with Jodi Kantor.

Previously, David Streitfeld worked for the Los Angeles Times and, before that, the Washington Post. He has written for New York, Vogue, Wired and other magazines. He is also the editor of books about Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Philip K. Dick and J.D. Salinger.

Grad Takes Top Honor in National Screenwriting Contest

Wesley Moots

Wesley Moots

San Jose state alumnus Wesley Moots received first place honors in the Broadcast Education Association (BEA)’s Festival of Media Arts 2016 Student Scriptwriting Competition Gallery Category Feature Film for his script “Hunter of the Vale.” Winners were announced in mid-February with prizes given out in Las Vegas April 17-20. Moots, ’15 TV, Radio, Television and Film, with a minor in journalism, entered the competition during his last semester at SJSU, in December.

His screenplay is a modern fantasy story of a woman who protects humanity from the supernatural predators that would threaten them and the supernatural entities whom humanity would destroy if they knew the creatures existed. It incorporates mythical creatures from German, French and Celtic folklore.

“I was raised on an imaginative literary diet of fantasy stories and comic books, and while I love both, I have always found that fantasy, like science fiction, allows us to tell stories with important commentary, which is more easily taken in and accepted through the use of larger-than-life examples,” he said.

Moots includes Jessica L. Price, Crystal Fraiser, Jim Butcher and Neil Gaiman on the list of writers who have inspired him along with filmmakers Joss Whedon and Kevin Smith. He is also inspired by Lionsgate Productions, which has produced films such as “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” series.

He said Professor Scott Sublett, the associate chair of Radio, Television and Film, was especially supportive of his entry into the competition. Sublett even helped him to determine that he had, indeed, won the screenwriting competition since Moots was initially a bit skeptical that he had won.

“I also believe the School of Journalism and Mass Communications pushed me to seek out sources of information and learn about the workings of the world around me, which enabled me to become a better and more believable writer,” he said. “Getting the realistic parts figured out is essential to making a fantastical story believable to the audience, so my education at SJSU has uniquely prepared me to write the types of stories I love to write.”

SJSU students have performed well in the national BEA competition for years. In 2013, Liam Goulding won best of festival for his feature film script “Rasputin’s Resurrection,” Joshua Klein and Dan Koskie won second and third place, respectively, for feature film while Darren H. Rae received honorable mention for a short subject script. In 2014, Michael Quintana received second place for short subject while Kamran Shorabi and Jarred Hodgdon took second and third, respectively, for feature scripts. In 2015, Lauren Serpa took second place in feature film, while Rachel Compton and Kevin Briot received honorable mention for short subject scripts. This year, Rachel Wilson also received honorable mention for her feature family drama script, “Simon.”

Faculty Notes for March 2016: Publications, Quotes and More

Associate Professor Michael Cheers, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, is part of a team leading an immersive journalism program for 25 high school and college students this summer in Washington, D.C. During “Newsroom U: A White House Student Press Briefing and Multimedia Weekend,” students will focus on the election year issues affecting Washington metro-area millennials and post stories on an interactive website that will also be shared with other media outlets, including USA Today. George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs and the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication are also institutional sponsors.

Don Beall Dean of Engineering Andrew Hsu will become the University of Toledo’s provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs on July 1. Hsu is no stranger to Ohio. From 2010 to 2013, he held the position of associate vice president for research at Wright State University in Dayton and, earlier in his career, worked as a senior research engineer at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

College of Social Science Dean Walt Jacobs revisited his first published article in February, a piece about Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, when he interacted with AP English students who were studying the text at their high school in Iowa. The students read the book and Jacobs’ article, then posted questions to a blog to which Jacobs responded. He has coordinated with the AP English teacher in the past on a similar activity. “It was a lot of fun, and the students learned a lot, I hope,” Jacobs said, via his own blog.

Earlier this month, Professor Anne Lawrence, Department of Organization and Management, gave a public lecture at the University of Cape Coast on the topic “Social, Ethical and Environmental Responsibility in the Global Supply Chain,” stressing the need for multinational companies operating in Ghana and other regions of Africa to protect natural resources.

Lecturer Marc Privitera, Department of Biomedical, Chemical and Materials Engineering, was appointed to the technical advisory board of Canadian International Minerals. Principal engineer and co-founder of PreProcess in San Ramon, he holds numerous U.S. patents in the area of chemical process design.

School of Information Lecturer Scott Walker, finalist for the dean of libraries at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, gave a presentation to that campus community on March 8. His topic: “Vision of Academic Research Libraries for the Next Five Years.”

Professor Mary Warner, Department of English and co-editor of Teaching Writing Grades 7-12 in an Era of Assessment: Passion and Practice (Pearson Academic Computing, 2013), was interviewed by about the importance of encouraging kids to read books in our “shorter, quicker” world of texts and tablets.

Project Director James Wayman, Information Technology Services, was interviewed by about Amazon’s pending patent to have customers pay for purchases by means of a facial recognition system that would, in theory, stop fraud.  As reported, Wayman pointed out that governmental attempts to create security systems based on facial recognition have run into difficulties because “faces are not hard to fake.” In May, Wayman will lead a session on biometrics at the 2016 IEE International Symposium on Technologies for Homeland Security in Massachusetts.

March Newsletter: Adobe Day Highlights New Teaching Tools

Photo courtesy of Michael Cheers Beginning Digital News Photography (JOUR 95) student Raven Swayne gets hands-on practice shooting a portrait with studio lighting in University Photographer Bob Bain's office/studio. The students also learned to use Adobe Lightroom.

Photo courtesy of Michael Cheers
Beginning Digital News Photography (JOUR 95) student Raven Swayne gets hands-on practice shooting a portrait with studio lighting in University Photographer Bob Bain’s office/studio. The students also learned to use Adobe Lightroom.

More than 50 San Jose State staff and faculty members attended the Fourth Annual Adobe Day at the software developer’s downtown offices. The half-day session with the Adobe Education team offered a chance for SJSU staff and faculty to use digital tools in guided training sessions that they can replicate on campus.

After the presentation from Abobe’s team on March 4,Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) Professor Michael Cheers introduced the new visual storytelling tool Slate to his students the following week.

“Students in both classes were uploading content to Slate in less than 10 minutes,” he said. “They embraced it. Both classes will submit their midterm using Slate.”

He will also be introducing another new tool, Muse, a responsive web design tool, after spring break.

Cheers said access to the latest software, including tools in Adobe’s Creative Suite such as Photoshop, Adobe Premier Pro and Lightroom, are integral to preparing his multimedia students for internship and entry-level positions involving photography and video.

“For the first time in JMC history, two multimedia/photojournalism students from SJSU are going to the New York Times Student Journalism Institute,” Cheers said, of James Tensuan and Randy Vazquez, who will participate in the program in summer 2016. “It’s an amazing accomplishment. They had to compete against thousands of college students from across the country.”

To help students learn the intricacies of the programs, Cheers hosts labs on weekends and before class, and also posts tutorials and visual storytelling examples on Canvas.

“My hope is that the students go beyond what is required for the assignment and a letter grade, and embrace innovation and creativity,” he said. “I love it when a student comes to class and shows the instructor what they learned independently.”

President and provost meet with student journalists

Interim President Susan Martin and Provost Andy Feinstein participated in a Student Media News Conference Oct. 26. During the one-hour news conference, the administrators fielded questions from Journalism and Mass Communications students involved in campus news organizations including Update News, the Spartan Daily and Equal Time.

Held once a semester, the conference allows student journalists to practice their interview skills with high-level administrators. Students took the opportunity to ask questions ranging from what plans are in place to keep the campus safe given recent shooting incidents at other universities to what building plans are next for the campus, specifically in terms of academic spaces. The event was coordinated by Associate Professor Diana Guerrazzi and Pat Harris, the media relations director for the university.

The conference ended on a light-hearted note when one of the final questions posed asked Martin and Feinstein what they think is the most important thing students should do before they graduate.

“Either live or work on campus,” Martin said. “You get to know a lot of people just by being here.”

Martin spent her first weeks as president living in campus housing, where she interacted with students frequently.

“Be actively involved in student leadership and extracurricular activities,” said Feinstein, who attends many events on campus. “There is dance, music and art exhibits. It’s not just about going to class.”