2019 William Randolph Hearst Foundation Award

Photo: Robert Bain

SJSU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications faculty presented the distinguished 2019 William Randolph Hearst Foundation Award for Outstanding Professional Service to journalists Alexander Shebanow and Dan Rather on Thursday, November 14, 2019 in Yoshihiro Uchida Hall.

Professors Bob Rucker, a former CNN news correspondent and Hearst Award coordinator, and Dona Nichols, a veteran television news producer and assignment editor for NBC Bay Area, presented the award to the duo amidst a campus community and Bay Area media leaders.

This was the first time the School of Journalism and Mass Communications decided to honor journalists from across generations. The two honorees represent the bridging of several generations of journalistic instincts and critical thinking to produce a necessary and powerful public service in mass communications.

The 88-year-old Emmy Award-winning journalist Dan Rather first entered the national scene with his live, on‐site coverage of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Texas in November 1963. He went on to make extraordinary strides in the field of journalism.

More recently, Rather heads News and Guts, a company he founded that specializes in high‐quality nonfiction content across a range of traditional and digital distribution channels.

Shebanow, a 29-year-old award-winning filmmaker, who has been working on his directorial debut documentary feature for six years, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He attended Foothill Community College before finishing his studies at the University of Southern California.

Shebanow teamed up with investigative journalist Dan Rather for his expansive documentary exposé Fail State, which targets “predatory for‐profit colleges and worsening inequality in American higher education.” Rather served as its executive producer.

“News is something that the public needs to know that somebody, particularly some powerful person or force, doesn’t want the public to know. That is why I find this film and work not only so important, but so timely,” said Rather.

The film narrates the stories of low-income and minority students who talk about the emotional and financial stress they endured for failing to see through the scam recruiting trap and eventually enrolling in sham institutions. Shebanow skillfully chronicles the decades of policy decisions in Washington, D.C., to create a powerful political story filled with outrage toward stymied government reforms and inaction.

“We are so honored and humbled by this immense recognition and want to deeply thank the journalism school faculty at San Jose State for this award. As investigative journalists, we hope that our work can inspire other journalists to take on powerful forces and uncover the stories that need to be exposed,” said Shebanow.

Besides successful screening at several educational institutions, this hard-hitting exposé also premiered to packed houses at film festivals nationwide, garnering major press attention, awards and critical acclaim. Leading media outlets like The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal, among others, ran rave reviews and the film has since debuted to 30 million subscribers on STARZ cable and satellite TV network.

In 2019, Alexander Shebanow became a policy fellow and resident filmmaker at the National Student Legal Defense Network (Student Defense), where he investigates for‐profit college issues with a focus on amplifying student voices and strengthening student protections.

“The Barbershop Diaries” Debuts

What’s in a barbershop? One heck of a story.

At a shop just blocks from campus, meet the owner, an engineering college dropout seeking salvation after serving time; his old college buddy, now a Hollywood star; a lesbian barber juggling a domestic relationship and her mother’s stage-four breast cancer; a Muslim struggling to find a quiet place to pray between cuts; an Ethiopian immigrant spending his jobless benefits on barber school; and many more people who have found a home at the Barbers Inc.

Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications Michael Cheers and his students premiere their documentary “The Barbershop Diaries” 3 p.m. Feb. 8 at Morris Dailey Auditorium. They’ll also unveil an online portrait gallery saluting South Bay barbers and beauty salon owners.


Lights, Camera, Action: New TV Studio Opens

Update Crew

A large green screen spans the wall behind the wood and glass anchor desk, which was donated by NBC Bay Area (School of Journalism and Mass Communications image).

Next time you watch the student TV news program “Update News,” you’ll be catching more than just the latest news stories.

You’ll see a crisp, high-definition picture, next generation LED lighting, professional graphics and a sleek news set – all made possible by a new technically advanced studio.  The facility will be used for all kinds of video productions.

Students can practice being on camera on a professional set for delivering news, making commercials, even an audition tape. It’s wonderful,” said Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications Diane Guerrazzi.

Students are producing “Update News” in the new space now, and will begin taping the PBS news magazine “Equal Time” there this semester. Studio and Engineering Manager Juan Serna says with new skills, “students can leave here and get a job” in the profession.

Master control room and studio

Crews gutted the 30-year old analog studio, and built the new structure from scratch in 2014. The facility has two rooms: a 420-square-foot master control room, and a 900-square-foot studio.

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

The master control room is the operation’s central command center, containing large HD monitors, a multi-camera switcher, news computer system and a motion graphics system.

The studio is where the anchors sit. A large green screen spans the wall behind the wood and glass anchor desk, which was donated by NBC Bay Area. Three Sony HD cameras sit in front of the news set, and an LED light grid hangs overhead.  Both rooms are handicap accessible.

The new technology and advanced facility is allowing students to produce the same high quality newscasts that professional broadcasters do. They can create professional newscasts including shots from other locations, write copy with sophisticated newsroom software, and create motion graphics to help tell their stories.

Open for business

The $800,000 studio was paid for by an $8.7 million dollar endowment from the late Jack and Emma Anderson.  Guerazzi says, “the endowment was an amazing gift. So needed.”

Photo: Christina Olivas

Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications Diane Guerrazzi and Studio and Engineering Manager Juan Serna. Photo: Christina Olivas

The journalism school plans to work with other SJSU departments and outside groups. It wants to generate enough revenue from projects to pay costs and for advances over time. For now, the value for media students getting a unique, hands-on learning experience is priceless.

Dwight Bentel Hall

Dwight Bentel Hall Reopens

Dwight Bentel Hall

Dwight Bentel Hall (Bruce Cramer photo)

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, CA – Dwight Bentel Hall will reopen for classes on Tuesday, Sept. 2. Faculty and staff who requested temporary office space elsewhere on campus will return as well.

I am grateful to Facilities Development and Operations staff and the work crews that worked diligently to address this situation, and to the affected faculty, staff and students for their patience,” said Andrew Hale Feinstein, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Repair crews have completed virtually all repairs related to water damage that resulted from a steam valve leak. A few remedial steps remain, but they should not materially affect building occupants.

Independent air quality tests on Wednesday determined that being inside DBH poses “no greater risk of exposure to fungal spores than the general public walking on campus in the outdoor air.”

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,740 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.


Dwight Bentel Hall

Dwight Bentel Hall: Repairs Continue

Dwight Bentel Hall

Dwight Bentel Hall (Bruce Cramer photo)

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, CA – Dwight Bentel Hall will be closed through Aug. 29 due to water damage. The building is home to San Jose State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication,

University officials have temporarily relocated classes and faculty offices. In addition, officials will temporarily relocate Spartan Daily, the student newspaper. The DBH closure affects approximately 28 faculty members and 1,250 students. 

Construction crews have been renovating the 103-year-old building over the summer. The water damage, discovered Aug. 19, occurred in DBH’s east wing. The cause was a leak in a steam distribution system that runs beneath the building.

SJSU’s Environmental Health and Safety staff conducted an immediate review. Materials were removed, the affected area was sealed off, and efforts were initiated to eliminate residual moisture using industrial fans and dehumidifiers.

San Jose State University — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 32,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.


Dwight Bentel Hall: Important Update

Dwight Bentel Hall

Dwight Bentel Hall (Bruce Cramer photo)

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, CA – Dwight Bentel Hall, home to San Jose State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, will be closed to students Aug. 25 and 26.

Students in classes scheduled to meet in DBH for the first time on Monday or Tuesday should go directly to the new Student Union Ballrooms A and B (Monday) or Ballroom A (Tuesday).

Report to the table identified with your classroom number (for example, DBH 133) to receive instructions from faculty members. Staff will also be outside DBH to direct students as needed.

Water damage

On Tuesday, Aug. 19, construction crews identified water damage to corridor and restroom walls in the east wing of DBH.

Moisture was also reported in some offices and hallways. The cause was a leak in the steam distribution system that runs beneath the building.

After the damage was discovered, SJSU’s Environmental Health and Safety staff conducted an immediate review.

Materials were removed, the affected area was sealed off, and efforts were initiated to eliminate residual moisture using industrial fans and dehumidifiers.

Repairs underway

SJSU will assess repair efforts throughout the week and provide updates as needed. Initially, repairs were to be concluded in time for the first day of fall semester.

Construction crews spent the summer renovating the overall structure, originally completed in 1911, and renovated and re-opened in 1991. The temporary closure affects approximately 28 faculty members and 1,250 students.

“The good news is that we are well on our way to bringing one of our most historic buildings into the 21st century,” Provost Andrew Hale Feinstein said.

“We are doing our very best to honor the legacy of the late Dwight Bentel, founder of our top-notch journalism program.”

San Jose State University — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

Honoring Authors

Honoring Authors

Honoring Authors

Professor Craig coaches students in Spartan Daily’s recently updated newsroom (Raphael Kluzniok photo).

If you could wave a magic wand to bestow one gift on young journalists, what would it be? That’s a provocative question, given journalism today.

Professor Richard Craig will address this topic as the guest speaker for San Jose State’s Annual Authors Awards on Oct. 28.

His new book, “News Writing and Reporting: The Complete Guide for Today’s Journalist,” covers every aspect of news gathering including online journalism.

Acknowledging academic contributions

The Annual Authors Awards honor all faculty and staff members and administrators who have authored, co-authored or edited books.

This year, 29 Spartans will be celebrated for 27 pieces, including scholarly books, works of fiction or non-fiction, poetry, art books, textbooks and anthologies.

For more information about the books being honored, go to the SJSU Scholarworks, an institutional repository that preserves copyright and intellectual property ownership while increasing access to scholarly output.

The Office of the Provost, University Library and Spartan Bookstore sponsor the event to acknowledge the extensive academic work SJSU authors contribute to their fields.

Coaching writers

We invited Craig, of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, to talk to us about writing coaches, Yahoo’s latest moves, and how he would use that magic wand.

SJSU Today: Everyone knows what a football coach does. What about a writing coach?

Craig: The difference between a traditional editor and a coach is that editors change things they believe are wrong, while coaches work with writers so they learn where they can improve. In a university setting, we do lots of coaching, but it also happens in professional newsrooms these days.

SJSU Today: Talk to me about online journalism. What’s the most important thing to teach right now on this subject?

Craig: In online journalism, it’s important to be thorough and versatile. There’s an avalanche of information online, much of which is uninformed opinion masquerading as fact. This means that good reporters have to be more vigilant than ever in verifying information before they publish it. Versatility is also vitally important because with the ever-evolving nature of online news, you never know what you might be asked to do next. It could be anything from shooting video to blogging to monitoring certain Twitter feeds to covering a city council meeting. You need to have the right skills and mindset to adapt to new demands and technologies.

SJSU Today: Just a few days ago, we all learned Yahoo stole David Pogue from The New York Times. Thoughts? What’s the take away for your students?

Craig: Journalism isn’t just practiced at traditional media outlets anymore. People have gotten accustomed to getting information from so many different places that journalism is becoming more about each story itself and less about the outlet’s brand name.

SJSU Today: Tell me about how the renovated Spartan Daily newsroom will help students compete in the online world.

Craig: Too often here at SJSU we’ve been defined by what we can’t do, frequently because of budget issues. Our students on the Spartan Daily would produce content every day in spite of broken computers, printers and cameras that we couldn’t afford to replace. Students would waste time waiting to use the one functioning layout computer, and given that they almost all have jobs outside of school, this was time they couldn’t afford to waste. This made it very hard to compete with journalism programs at some of the more well-funded schools in the area, both in contests and in recruiting the most talented prospective students.

The new newsroom gives our students the chance to be much more productive and creative. The new equipment not only allows students to complete tasks more quickly and easily, but also supports the newest software, which gives them the chance to create cutting-edge multimedia content that can compete with any college media outlet in the nation.

SJSU Today: What is the most important thing you learned from your students and from the working reporters you interviewed for the book?

Craig: I learn important stuff from my students all the time. The Spartan Daily primarily exists to serve the student body, and as hard as I might try, it’s difficult to remain tuned in to their concerns when you’re their parents’ age. The Daily students live in this environment every day and can separate issues that really matter to their contemporaries from minor complaints.

The reporters interviewed for the book were great because in most cases, they’re still out there in the world reporting stories every day. We can try to replicate real-world situations in the classroom, but talking to professionals always revitalizes me and provides valuable new examples and experiences. It’s why I try to bring in working journalists every semester to talk to the Daily students.

SJSU Today: If you could wave your magic wand and bestow one gift on journalism students and instructors, what would it be (besides your book!)?

Craig: I would tell students and instructors to get out there in the world and observe, then share what you find. To make a meaningful contribution as a journalist (or as a human being in general), you need to get out of your room, remove your earbuds, turn off the phone and soak up what you see and hear. Talk to people who are different from you, and go to areas that take you out of your comfort zone. The best tool for any kind of learning is a set of fresh eyes, and you don’t get those through living in a bubble.

Spartans at Work: Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose

(This summer, SJSU Today hit the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job at summer destinations throughout the Bay Area. Our 2013 Spartans at Work series continues with journalism alumnus Matthew Zane.)

Driving along Highway 87, it’s hard to miss the enormous inflatable character sitting atop a 52,000-square-foot purple building on Woz Way.

That structure is home to Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, which seeks to inspire creativity, curiosity and life-long learning.

For the last eight years, Matthew Zane, ’07 Journalism, has been helping the museum’s staff think through ways to interact with the region’s multicultural community.

“The experiences that I have had here have been invaluable. One of the main things that I’ve learned is how to multitask and how to keep calm and just drive toward my goals,” he said.

As a communications specialist, Zane works on cross-departmental internal and external communications, participates in outreach, and maintains the museum’s online social media presence.

In his current role, Zane strategizes how to communicate key initiatives such as Children’s Discovery Museum’s commitment to combat childhood obesity through healthy eating and active living. Zane is also helping build the museum’s online community.

“I’m learning how to give our audience and my colleagues’ valuable and useful content for the museum’s news feeds and other social media channels,” he said.

Zane started by working at the museum’s youth program summer camp. He was later hired to work full time running a volunteer program and supervising museum floor staff.

As an SJSU student, Zane learned how to interact with the public and be comfortable communicating with people.

“Looking back on all of the resources and the wealth of ideas and support that SJSU had for their students is just something that really impresses me. I could tell that if you put the work in and you were serious about pursuing a career, there where people there that would help to make that happen for you.”



Metro: Robert Scoble, the King of All Social Media

Posted July 10, 2013 by SV411.

By Dan Pulcrano

In a fog shrouded neighborhood of Cape Cod homes on the California coast, a development of tightly arranged homes with pitched roofs and white picket fences, Robert Scoble became the poster boy for the banality of viral—chubby and wet and wearing computer-equipped specs. “We were in competition with other journalists for story lines,” he says, when he realized that “nobody had written about waterproofness.” It might have been another failed meme if Scoble had gone with one of his earlier thoughts, like submerging Google Glass in a fish tank.

His wife Maryam snapped the shower shot and posted it to her Facebook page. Scoble reposted and tweeted the image. “The next thing I know, my wife was on the phone saying ‘you’re on top of Buzzfeed with 11 million views,’ and I’m like, ‘What’s Buzzfeed’?”

Long before becoming a digital age celebrity, Scoble, who was born in New Jersey, grew up in Cupertino and attended Saratoga’s Prospect High School, helped his mom stuff components into Apple II motherboards. That was in the 1970s, before robots and foreign outsourcing. His father was a Lockheed engineer. Teen-aged Scoble worked in camera stores, like the long-gone LZ Premiums on a Saratoga Ave. strip mall, and still keeps two 35mm SLRs on the bookshelf at his home office.

He dabbled in photojournalism at West Valley College’s student newspaper and switched to writing while at San Jose State University. After college, he worked at a niche magazine for computer programmers. It had a circulation of 110,000 and revenues of $10 million. Now he has nearly 4 million Google Plus followers, he says with a laugh, and hardly makes anything off it.

Read the full story. 


The New York Times: How Audubon Society’s Chief Took Wing From Journalism

Published by The New York Times June 29, 2013.

By David Yarnold

I WAS born in California, but I moved every year that I was in grammar school. My father was a sales manager for Paper Mate, and it moved him around. I lived in several states, and the experience shaped me: change became normal and inevitable. I decided that I could roll with it or be crushed by it, and I learned to roll with it.

While studying mass communications at what was then San Jose State College, I wrote a story about a man who trained seals and whales at Marine World Africa USA, in Redwood Shores, Calif. The park’s vice president for marketing liked the article and offered me a job that turned into educating schoolchildren and others about the park, animals and nature.

A young staff member and I brought a llama, a falcon and an 80-pound lion cub to a mall one day, and she accidentally let the lion loose. He ran into the mall; I ran after him and found him nose to nose with a toddler in a stroller. I dove for the cub, grabbed him to my chest, and rolled away from the stroller. Luckily, that was the end of it.

I graduated with a degree in photojournalism in 1976. Afterward, I worked as chief photographer for The Longview Daily News in Washington State, then briefly in public relations and for The Associated Press. In 1978, I joined The San Jose Mercury News as its first picture editor and was promoted to managing editor 16 years later. In 1995, Knight Ridder, the paper’s parent company, appointed me as the first vice president for content of its online division, Knight Ridder Digital.

The group was like any Silicon Valley start-up at the time. We had terrific ideas but no business model. We tried publishing an early online magazine, but it was shuttered after 18 months. (The group eventually switched to providing online services through Real Cities, an online information network.) I returned to my job as managing editor at The Mercury News, a post that had been left open, and rose to executive editor in 1999.

A few years later, I started thinking about an encore career. In 2005, I joined theEnvironmental Defense Fund as executive director and had the chance to work in China and on corporate partnerships with companies including Wal-Mart. I was promoted to president of the Environmental Defense Action Fund in 2003. It was a great learning ground for someone new to nonprofits and environmentalism.

A recruiter contacted me in 2010 about the top position at the National Audubon Society, and I joined that August. My first challenge was to find a unifying message for the society. After a month in which I listened to staff members, chapter leaders and our international partners, a story emerged. Birds’ migratory routes are like four superhighways in the sky, and below them are their rest stops and homes. When you connect all these flyways and habitats, there’s a web of biodiversity, and it’s our job to protect that. I’m not a bird expert, but I’m skilled in figuring out a story. That vision became the basis of our new strategic plan.

We’ve improved our corporate functions, from I.T. to finance, and have engaged more fully with our 470 chapters. They’re our strength. We’re also experimenting with new ways to reach young people, as with apps and games. Two weeks after I started, I joined some chapter members on a birding trip down the Pascagoula River in Mississippi. I had new binoculars and was desperately looking for the birds I was hearing all around me. I saw four people farther down the boat holding their iPhones to the sky. All four were using apps of loud and melodious bird calls to try to attract birds.

As told to Patricia R. Olsen.

East African Immigrants Invite You to "Celebrate: Part I"

East African Immigrants Invite You to “Celebrate: Part I”

East African Immigrants Invite You to "Celebrate: Part I"

East Africans are proud entrepreneurs and shareholders of the Silicon Valley taxi industry (photo by D. Michael Cheers).

“Celebrate: Part I,” comprised of 60 photographs by photojournalist D. Michael Cheers and nine display cases of cultural memorabilia donated by East African immigrant and refugee families, opened March 10 in the Cultural Heritage Center on the fifth floor of King Library.

East African Immigrants Invite You to "Celebrate: Part I"

Proud, competent woman entrepreneur at Michael’s Styling Salon in Santa Clara (photo by D. Michael Cheers).

Part I features photographs of East Africans as they engage in their families, work, communities and faith. Part II, slated to open in August, will include films, digitized stories, photographs and more memorabilia.

The exhibits are the work of the Silicon Valley East African Diaspora Project, which is seeking to profile the newest East African immigrant groups to Silicon Valley: Eritrean, Ethiopian, Kenyan, Somali, South Sudanese and Sudanese immigrant families.

Unlike earlier African diaspora groups, there is little documentation of their immigrant stories, challenges and contributions to our democracy or our region.

The multimedia pieces are designed to bring more visibility to Silicon Valley’s diverse black groups, identify and address social justice issues they face, support local self-help groups in their efforts to navigate the complexity of our society, and educate Californians of the widening diversity of blacks in our communities.

The project team includes Chair of African American Studies Ruth P. Wilson and Cheers, an associate professor of journalism and mass communications. The effort is funded by grants from Cal Humanities and the College of Social Sciences.  “Celebrate: Part I” continues through March 30.


Graduating “From the Fields”

With immigration reform a real possibility, this is a great time to see “From the Fields: An American Journey.”

The biopic tells the story of SJSU alumnus Damian Trujillo, who rose from the fields of Salinas Valley to graduate from San Jose State and build a career in broadcast journalism at a time when the networks were just beginning to hire Latinos.

You can view the film and hear from Trujillo, as well as filmmaker Carolyn Brown, 6 p.m. March 13 in Morris Dailey Auditorium. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for general admission. The event will be hosted by the Cesar E. Chavez Community Action Center.

“The duo will discuss Trujillo’s beginnings as a farmworker in Salinas Valley, also known as the salad bowl of the world, his college experience at SJSU, his professional experiences as a journalist, and his role as host and producer of ‘Comunidad Del Valle,’ the longest-running public affairs show in Northern California,” wrote CCCAC Department Manager Maribel Martinez.

Learn more about the film. Read more about Trujillo’s career at NBC. Purchase tickets.

Spartan Staffs PBS News Hour "Inaug Blog"

Spartan Staffs PBS NewsHour “Inaug Blog”

Spartan Staffs PBS News Hour "Inaug Blog"

“Just two days before the 57th Inauguration, the line for Ben’s Chili Bowl in the U Street Corridor of Washington, D.C. already stretches down the alleyway during the lunchtime rush,” reads the caption on this photo from PBS News Hour’s “Inaug Blog” (photo by SJSU journalism major James Tensuan).

When PBS NewsHour turned to student journalists to run its multimedia “Inaug Blog,” journalism major James Tensuan applied. It came as no surprise to everyone who knows his work as a former SJSU photo assistant and Spartan Daily staff member that he not only won one of just 14 spots on the team, but he went on to turn in some of the most compelling inauguration photos by anyone. The NewsHour group included writers, photographers, videographers, designers and social media mavens. Tensuan’s photo essay from legendary Washington D.C. eatery Ben’s Chili Bowl captures the occasion from a telling angle. Check out President Obama’s inauguration through Tensuan’s lens. View a video about the project (Tensuan appears at the two-minute mark).

Afghan Journalism Professors in San Jose

What better way to gain media skills and knowledge than hands-on learning? What better way to find out about another culture than immersing yourself in it?

Three professors from Afghanistan completed such an opportunity during Fall 2012: an 11-week stay in San Jose while studying at one of the top journalism schools in the United States. Their classrooms went beyond four walls, including media tours of NBC Bay Area, San Jose Mercury News and KLIV 1590 with Vanita Cillo, a senior account manager with LAMAR Transit Advertising.

The whole Bay Area experience was something that Professors Yahya Alazin, Hamid Safwat and Ahmad Zia Ferozpur can literally take home with them – and pass on to their own students.

With two $1 million U.S. State Department grants, SJSU is leading efforts to enhance college-level journalism education in the Afghan provinces of Balkh and Herat. Diane Guerrazzi, an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, organizes journalism academies in the Middle East.

During the 2012-2013 academic year, Afghan journalism professors, including a new group arriving this spring semester, learn closely from SJSU professors, who prepared detailed lesson plans focused in areas such as beginning reporting, information gathering and media law. SJSU professors meet with the Afghan professors regularly to go over the lessons in hour-long sessions. Using Cisco’s WebEx video conferencing program, these sessions are recorded and the videos are made available for other professors in Afghanistan.

Beyond academics, visiting professors have a social life with their assigned Bay Area ambassadors consisting of local professors, university students and members of the Rotary Club. This initial trio also met and interacted with President Qayoumi and his wife Najia Karim, both Afghan natives.

“The community has really rolled out the red carpet,” Guerrazzi said. “President Qayoumi has been supportive.”

Reflecting upon the past 11 weeks, Ferozpur wrote in a personal essay, “Education is the most important key to change! I believe in learning, hope, compassion and forgiveness. My last word is that education is one of the most important elements that can bring peace, security, development and stability in a country like Afghanistan.”

Journalism Program Among Nation's Best

Journalism Program Among Nation’s Best

Journalism Program Among Nation's Best

Students Amanda Del Castillo and Bentli Bijan receive hands-on experience on the set at Update News (Pat Harris photo).

The SJSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications is one of only two California universities named as among the 50 best in the U.S. today by College Media Matters, a leading student journalism publication sponsored by the Associated College Press.

CMM’s editor, Dan Reimold, said that schools on this list were ones in which “I would strongly consider enrolling if I woke up tomorrow back in high school.” Accreditation by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism was an important factor, as were innovation in the digital realm, quality campus media and professional publishing opportunities.

“This was original goal and dream of JMC School founder, Dr. Dwight Bentel,” says current Director Bob Rucker. “He wanted SJSU to always compete with the big programs by teaching with the same values, priniciples and national accreditation, while being innovative in approach and determined to offer high quality journalism education to people from all communities. Today’s JMC School advertising, journalism and public relations faculty are very proud to continue and expand on this vision and legacy to benefit many generations of students to come.”

"New Media Visionaries" Series

“New Media Visionaries” Series

"New Media Visionaries"

Bruce Carlisle

In a move to help students and faculty members keep pace with the ever changing communications landscape, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications has introduced a “New Media Visionaries” speaker series.

Next up will be Bruce Carlisle, CEO and founder of Conference Hound and Digital Axl. He will speak at 6 p.m. Oct. 23 in Engineering 189. Carlisle will discuss how the rise of interactivity and content has changed the distribution landscape, and he will offer insight into where he thinks new media might be going next.

Residing near San Francisco, Carlisle is a pioneer in the digital advertising world. He graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1978. Carlisle worked at ad agencies for 13 years in New York and then moved to Washington, D.C., to start a marketing services agency.

In 1996, he moved to the West Coast and launched SF Interactive, one of the first digital ad agencies which became Digital Axl. Now he is focusing on Conference Hound, a company that has helped business professionals organize over 100,000 business conferences.

Learning from entrepreneurs

The “New Media Visionaries” lecture series, a project of the graduate students in the Journalism 215 course of the same name, is in the middle of its first season and it is already receiving good reviews from audiences.

“The School of Journalism and Mass Communications relaunched its graduate program this fall with an emphasis on emerging technologies and new media storytelling,” said Assistant Professor for New Media Kim Komenich. “I geared the visionaries toward learning first-hand about what it takes to bring an interactive product to market in the mobile communications world.”

In an effort to define itself, the class met backstage with “City Arts and Lectures” founder Sydney Goldstein before the taping of the September event at Herbst Theater in San Francisco.

“Ms. Goldstein has been running her lecture series, which is broadcast weekly on 170 NPR stations, for 30 years,” Komenich said. “I distinctly got the feeling she thought we were a bit niave, a bit ambitious, and a bit nuts.
Students have told me that the most valuable bit of advice Sydney gave us proved to be to somehow make personal contact with your speaker.”

Calling on mentors

At the beginning of the semester Komenich grouped the students and assigned six topics related to developing an interactive product–ideation/entrepreneurship, venture capital, interactive project management, interactive design, development for interactivity, and marketing– and told them to find the most cutting-edge speakers for each topic.

“I asked them to make cold-calls,” Komenich said. “My experience as a SJSU student in the 70’s was that the more successful a person was, the better they understood their responsibility to teach and mentor students who call for help.”

It worked. The lecture series opened on Sept. 25 with an historical overview by Silicon Valley historian Piero Scaruffi, followed on Oct. 9 by an entrepreneurship lecture by Catalog Spree CEO Joaquin Ruiz, and an interactive design lecture by Element 8’s Allan Enemark.

Follow “New Media Visionaries.”

Join SJSU on Pinterest!

Join SJSU on Pinterest!

Join SJSU on Pinterest!

SJSU is now on Pinterest, a visual bookmarking website for bringing together online themes. Users collect and combine their own themes by “repining” items onto their boards, creating their own virtual spaces.

This week, SJSU launched its official presence on Pinterest, a visual bookmarking website for bringing together online themes. Users collect and combine their own themes by “repining” items onto their boards, create their own virtual spaces.

We’ve posted 18 boards including Sammy Spartan, Helping and Caring, and Bright Ideas, side by side with our top hits, South Bay Eats and Dorm Décor. So far we have received great responses, not to mention 48 followers. up from 13 followers since our launch Oct. 8.

We carefully crafted pins that we think represent SJSU and Spartan culture. The use of Pinterest allows us to bring awareness to our campus and show off our community.

We are also supporting our fellow SJSU pinners who have joined the Pinterest community, including our friends at the College of Applied Arts and Sciences, Department of Justice Studies, Department of Kinesiology, Don and Sally Lucas Graduate School of Business, SJSU Special Collections and Archives, SJSU Career Center and King Library,

Michael Brito’s MCOM 139 Social Business class is a good way to see how Pinterest can be used as a medium for the classroom.

Stay tuned for opportunities to add your own flavor to SJSU culture with upcoming community boards.

We hope you’ll visit and repin us.

Visit us at pinterest.com/sjsu/.


San Jose State Remembers Leigh Weimers: "Ever Generous in the Cause of SJSU"

San Jose State Remembers Leigh Weimers: "Ever Generous in the Cause of SJSU"

SJSU Remembers Leigh Weimers: "Ever Generous in the Cause of SJSU"

Leigh Weimers in the Spartan Daily newsroom in 1958 (SJSU yearbook photo).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Services for Leigh Weimers, ’58 Journalism, will be held 3:30 p.m. Sept. 17 at St. Joseph Cathedral Basilica in downtown San Jose.

“For four decades, his daily column captured the comings and goings of the valley and laid the foundation for a cultural renaissance in San Jose that took place as the region left behind fruit orchards for its silicon future,” wrote his successor Sal Pizarro, also an alumnus.

The former Spartan Daily reporter and editor who went on to a 47-year career with the Mercury News died Aug. 30 at 76, just a few days after blogging that he was about to undergo heart surgery.

San Jose State extends condolences to Weimers friends and family, including his wife Geri, ’63 Business. The Weimers were lifelong supporters of SJSU, which Leigh positioned in his columns as one of many institutions integral to the region’s transformation into an international powerhouse.

“I’m convinced that when historians come to write about what has happened here over the past four decades, they’ll compare Silicon Valley to Florence at the start of the Renaissance,” he wrote in his final column for the Mercury News.

“After all, what took place in Italy back then was the development of new ways of looking at art, music, commerce, the world. And the technological developments here during the past 40 years have been no less global.”

San Jose State Remembers Leigh Weimers: "Ever Generous in the Cause of SJSU"

Weimers in the San Jose Mercury News newsroom in 2003 (Sharon Hall photo).

“One of the Best Times of My Life”

Weimers attended thousands of events while serving as the Mercury News man about town, but he described the Tower Award dinner gala in 2003, when he was the guest of honor, as “one of the best times of my life.” The award is SJSU’s highest honor for service.

“Ever generous in the cause of SJSU, Leigh regularly highlights in his column the accomplishments of university faculty and staff. He helps keep us in the news as a metropolitan institution and as an educational force in the Bay Area,” President Robert L. Caret said at the event.

Caret also traced Weimer’s accomplishments: He started his professional career in journalism as a high school student, working for his hometown newspaper, the Napa Journal. While still a student at Napa Community College, he became the youngest sports editor of a daily in the state.

As a junior transfer to San Jose State’s journalism program, Weimers joined the staff of the Spartan Daily and in his column, “The Circular File,” further refined the incisive, witty style for which he is known.

Fresh out of college, Weimers was hired by the Mercury News, his one and only employer (save a two-year stint in the Army). He has also served on the SJSU Alumni Association Board of Directors and on the university’s publications editorial board, helping to transform our alumni magazine, Washington Square, into the publication it is today.

San Jose State Remembers Leigh Weimers: "Ever Generous in the Cause of SJSU"

The Leigh Weimers Journalism Scholarship Fund, established about 10 years ago, continues to support journalism students.

The Leigh Weimers Journalism Scholarship Fund

But it was the Tower Award master of ceremonies, Steve Snell, ’62 Business, who really made the case for Weimers, and for journalism.

“Just think, when Leigh started writing for the Mercury News, San Jose’s population was about 100,000 people,” Snell said. “It’s now almost a million, and through it all he’s been our greatest booster and supporter.

“He is in many ways responsible for giving us a positive image of ourselves.  His column has promoted what’s good about San Jose.  And sometimes when he’s pointed out what could be improved, he’s always done it in a positive way.

“He has helped innumerable civic and arts organizations through his mentions and stories.  A mention in Leigh’s column can be the difference between a successful event and one not so successful.  And Leigh and his paper have been major supporters of San Jose State University and the Alumni Association.”

The Leigh Weimers Journalism Scholarship Fund, established about 10 years ago, continues to support journalism students. Please consider giving. You can do so online (http://www.sjsu.edu/giving/, click “give now,” and then click Leigh Weimers Journalism Scholarship Fund).

Or please send checks to the Tower Foundation of San Jose State University, One Washington Square, San Jose, CA, 95192-0183. In the memo section of the check, please write “Leigh Weimers Journalism Scholarship Fund.”