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Columnist Errol Louis Named Jack Newfield Professor of Journalism

Daily News columnist Errol Louis will serve as the Jack Newfield Visiting Professor of Journalism this semester, offering a course in urban investigative journalism to selected students in the undergraduate Film and Media Studies Program and the graduate-level Integrated Media Arts Program.

“I’m delighted to be working with young filmmakers and journalists on a cutting-edge project,” said Louis, whose course is titled “Crime, Punishment and the Inner City: How to Stop Spinning the Revolving Door Between the Street Corner and the Prison.” In the course, he said, “We’re looking at the effect of mass incarceration on two New York City neighborhoods, Central Harlem and Hunts Point in the South Bronx. Our reporting will highlight the economic disruption, geographic displacement and social isolation that are the legacy of America’s fateful decision to use prisons as a one-size-fits all solution to society’s ills.”

The class offers an extraordinary opportunity to work with a leading journalist and to produce reporting that can make a real difference. It will offer students a crash course in reporting and interviewing techniques designed to get them up to professional standards quickly. The best work will be published in local media such as the Mott Haven Herald, The Hunts Point Express, the Amsterdam News, and the Black Star News. Audio reports suitable for broadcast will air on WWRL radio, and video interviews and essays will be published on a blog created for the class.

In his Daily News column, Louis writes on a wide range of political and social issues. He also hosts The Morning Show on radio station WWRL, where his guests have included Gov. David Paterson, former President Jimmy Carter, filmmaker Michael Moore, and author Cornel West. Formerly an associate editor of The New York Sun, he has taught college courses, co-founded an inner-city community credit union, and run for City Council.

Inaugurated in 2006, the Jack Newfield Professorship honors the legendary reporter and Hunter graduate (BA ’60) by bringing a distinguished journalist to Hunter each spring semester to teach and mentor students and continue the tradition of investigative journalism that Newfield represented. Newfield began his journalism career as sports editor of the school newspaper, the Hunter Arrow, then developed his reputation as a crusading journalist as a reporter for the Village Voice, and went on to report for the Daily News, the New York Post, and the New York Sun.

“I opened the first class,” said Errol Louis, “by talking about my mentor and friend Jack Newfield, who is fondly remembered in newsrooms around the city as a man unafraid to tackle tough issues, complex stories and entrenched power. I think he would get a kick out of the work our class is doing.”

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