Nov 10

My Trip To The New York Times

This past summer I was given the opportunity to visit The New York Times with a friend of mine, Ben Harris, and sit in on the paper’s evening Page One meeting. It was pretty interesting and I was just blown away by the entire experience. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be sitting in on a meeting at the Times. What stood out to me the most when I first arrived was that every cubicle in the newsroom seemed to be filled, slightly different from the visits I’ve done with the Philadelphia Inquirer or Philadelphia Daily News. I know there have been layoffs at the Times but it didn’t seem like it to me. You could really feel confidence in the room, if that makes sense.

Michael Slackman, who was then Deputy Foreign Editor and now Head of the Foreign Desk, was our tour guide for the day. Michael is a pretty awesome guy and knows his stuff about the journalism business. I wish I had more time to pick his brain a little more, but he was on a tight schedule and I really didn’t know at the time what to ask him. My mind was just buzzing and trying to take in the tour and everything that I had just seen.

 

 

To start, the view of New York City from the NYT building is spectacular and I wish I had taken pictures. The 1.5 million-square foot building rises 1,046 feet from street level to the top of its distinctive mast. It was designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop in association with FXFOWLE Architects.

At the Page One meeting all of the Times editors came together, including Executive Editor Dean Baquet, to discuss stories that would appear in the next day edition of the paper. Not too much different from the meetings that I’ve sat in on in Philly,  except that I and Ben were introduced first by Deputy International Editor Lydia Polgreen. All of the editors said hi and then it was right to business with the meeting.

After, Michael finished giving me and Ben a tour of the place. We saw the cafeteria (where I saw David Carr talking to another reporter), the “Pulitzer Hall” where every Pulitzer Prize that the Times has won since 1918 was displayed along a wall.It was very impressive and you can see why the Times carries itself in such high regard. According to Michael even if a reporter wins a Pulitzer twice they still are eligible to have recognition on the wall, which includes the reporter’s picture and their article framed. Again, I wished I had taken some pictures. I think the actual Pulitzer Prize is also included in the frame or on the wall next to the reporter. Maybe someone out there in the interwebs can correct me? :)

The Times Executive Board Room was the next and final stop of our tour in the building. It was pretty huge and had a nice view of the city. At the head of this room was a desk with a picture of President Barack Obama, Michael told us that each residing president’s picture is always displayed. Along the walls of the boardroom were pictures of important dignitaries and political figures, some leaving a little message scrawled on their photo that they gave to the Times. My favorite was of President Nixon who said something along the lines of “…Some people read it and don’t like it, some people read it and like it, but everyone reads it.”

I left the New York Times that day with the same feeling that I felt a few weeks prior when I visited the Philadelphia Daily News, that I could actually write for the publication some day. And I think that’s a great feeling to have as the field of journalism continues to change, especially in print. Anything can happen and hopefully one day I will get the chance to write for one of these publications.

 

Nov 10

Summer Teaching

Can’t remember if I posted this or not, but I worked on the above video for the majority of the summer while assisting with Temple University’s High School summer journalism program, otherwise known as Prime Movers and Shakers. It’s led by Professor Maida Odom, former reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and one of my former professors. The goal of the summer program is to teach the students, who are from different Philadelphia area high schools, about journalism and the different aspects of the field in a few short weeks. At the end they produced a newspaper that is printed by the Philadelphia Daily News. This was my second time working with the program and this time my main responsibility was putting together a video of the students experience with the program. It’s not the best, but I was proud in the fact that I was able to put this together after not working with FinalCut Pro for a a few months. There are times where I find myself entertaining the idea of one day teaching, it is really rewarding at times when connecting with the students and educating them a little about the world of journalism. I didn’t do too much of this last summer so I tried my best to improve this year.

Oct 17

Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk Connects Philadelphians

Opening on October 2nd, the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk is a 2,000-foot long concrete structure running parallel to the Eastern Shore of the river from Locust St. to the new stair tower on the southern side of the South Street Bridge. This project provides an important link to the Schuylkill River Trail and Center City from University City and West Philadelphia.

Runners, cyclists and others who frequent the Schuylkill River trail will now be able to extend their route with this newest addition.

“The boardwalk section of the trail will provide an important transportation link for cyclists and pedestrians between and among Center City, South Philadelphia and West Philadelphia,” Mayor Michael Nutter said during the boardwalk’s groundbreaking ceremony. “The Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk project, now that it is complete, will go from a street departments construction project to become officially a part of the Fairmount Park system under the jurisdiction of the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation department.”

The ramp and boardwalk are designed to accommodate emergency and maintenance vehicles, according to the Schuylkill River Development Corporation (SRDC). The boardwalk’s 15 foot wide pathway is supplemented by four widened overlooks that allow people to rest and enjoy the views along the boardwalk without blocking the trail.

Read the full story here…

Oct 17

Robert Margolskee Appointed Monell Chemical President

The Monell Chemical Senses Center is an independent nonprofit basic research institute based in Philadelphia. For over 45 years, Monell has advanced scientific understanding of the mechanisms and functions of taste and smell to benefit human health and well being.

On Oct. 1, Robert Margolskee succeeded Gary Beauchamp as the center’s next president and director. Margolskee will be the center’s third director since its founding in 1968.

“This will be a big change for me and a big change for the center because Gary Beauchamp, the current director, has been our director for 24 years,” Margolskee said. “The big challenge basically for the director is to lead the research that goes on at our center. I’m a little excited, a little bit worried. I think the common word is trepidation.”

Margolskee received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his MD-PhD in Molecular Genetics from Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with the late Nobel laureate Dr. Daniel Nathans. He carried out postdoctoral studies in molecular biology at Stanford University with the Nobel laureate Dr. Paul Berg. While on the faculty of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, he was an Associate Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1997 to 2005.

Read the full story here…

Sep 23

Q & A With Janice Gable Bashman, Author of Predator

Janice Gable Bashman is the Bram Stoker nominated author of Predator, her first novel and solo book project for young adults. Bashman is also the editor of The Big Thrill, an International Thriller Writers’ magazine, and has had her short fiction published in various anthologies and magazines.

Bashman is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Mystery Writers of America, Horror Writers Association, and the International Thriller Writers, where she serves on the board of directors as Vice President of Technology.

Who are some of your favorite YA authors?

I enjoy reading Jandy Nelson, John Green, Jonathan Maberry, Nancy Holder, Veronica Roth, Marie Lu, Jay Asher, J.K. Rowling, Allen Zadoff, Markus Zusak, and many other young adult authors.

When did you decide that you wanted to get involved in the YA genre?

It wasn’t a conscious decision. I had the plot and the characters for Predator. The main character, Bree Sunderland, is a teenager and the point of view character, so the book fell into the YA genre. I love writing and reading in this genre. It’s a lot of fun.

Without giving too much away, what can you tell me about Predator?

Sixteen-year-old Bree Sunderland must inject herself with an untested version of her father’s gene therapy to become a werewolf in order to stop a corrupt group of mercenaries from creating a team of unstoppable lycanthrope soldiers.

Predator gives the werewolf legend a couple of new spins by introducing the Benandanti (an actual folkloric belief that certain families of Italy and Livonia were werewolves who fought against evil) as well as a modern scientific approach to mutation and the science of transgenics.

Read the rest of my interview with Janice here…

Sep 23

Global Conversations With: William Fedullo, Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association

When William Fedullo was young, he remembers wanting to be a center fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies. Eventually, he realized that he might need a back-up plan.

Besides baseball, Fedullo had enjoyed movies and television shows having to do with lawyers and felt that as a lawyer, he could change a lot of things that would not otherwise be changed. Fedullo now practices in the areas of medical malpractice, products liability, the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), insurance bad faith, construction accidents, vehicle accidents and other areas of personal injury.

This past January, Fedullo, who is a member of Global Philadelphia’s Board of Directors, became the 87th Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association. Next week, Fedullo and the Bar Association will take part in the World City Bar Leaders Conference, an international conference welcoming leaders of metropolitan bar associations around the world.

What inspired you to become a lawyer?

I remember “To Kill A Mockingbird” and a few other movies like that, which were pretty inspiring. I think that played a role in me wanting to do it. I remember in fifth grade we had a debate team and I won. My teacher told me that I would be a good lawyer one day. I wasn’t quite sure what she meant at the time but eventually I thought about it seriously, so that was inspiration a little bit.

How difficult is it to enter a career in the law?

When I came out there seemed to be a lot more jobs. I came out of Widener Law School in ‘76 and it seemed to me at that time that if you really wanted to get a job you could. I think that since the 2008 recession it has been different. Young lawyers coming out of law school now find it much more difficult to find an area of practice, or for that matter just to find a job.

I think it’s rebounding a bit. There are more jobs incrementally it seems, but it’s still the number one concern when you’re a lawyer coming out of law school, to get a job that you’re satisfied in doing but it’s not impossible. I think if you’re dedicated and stay with it you’ll find a job. It’s just a matter of really dedicating yourself to that. It is more difficult today than when I came out of law school.

What stands out as a significant moment in your career?

In the year that my son was born, 1993, we had I think the largest reported verdict for a FELA hearing loss case at $300,000. It was kind of a neat day because when I went home, I think my son was about two or three months old, and I got a nice verdict on a tough case. The jury came back with a substantial verdict at that time and I came home early. I was able to take my son out of his crib and just hold him for a few hours to contemplate what a sweet day that was. That day was pretty memorable, more for holding my son than for the verdict.

Read the rest of my interview with Chancellor Fedullo here…

Sep 22

What Makes Philadelphia A “Renaissance City”?

Philadelphia is a city of innovators, a city of makers, a city of immense cultural and historic significance. There’s a reason why it was once the capital of the United States.

As a native son of the city, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) Jack Ferguson represents Philadelphia to the world.

“What that truly means is that we’re out asking people to come to meetings, conventions, shows and international travel for groups or individuals,” Ferguson said of his role at PHLCVB. “I always tell people that the melting pot of Philadelphia is the Reading Terminal Market because you get the best of all cultures that we have to offer. Our residents, our workers, our visitors, our convention attendees and our rail system that runs beneath it.”

An entrepreneur, Ferguson’s career has seen him head national and international sales staffs of 2,200 for such companies as Promus Hotel Corp., Doubletree Hotels and Guest Quarters Suite Hotels.

He previously served as senior vice president and partner of LearnSystem, which has the capability to reach hundreds of thousands of hospitality industry professionals to improve job performance and customer service skills via web-based training and evaluation.

“I think there are multiple things that make Philadelphia the ideal renaissance city,” Ferguson said. “When you talk to international travelers, and we do surveys of international travelers, it becomes clear that the city is historically known. Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Declaration of Independence. They know what was done here and they know that the country was founded here.”

They also know the story of Rocky Balboa and the iconic steps leading up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

“It’s iconic and it always shows Philadelphia as it understands its people and supports its winners,” Ferguson said. “Certainly Rocky was a winner, that’s a very positive thing. They know a little bit about the culture, I think in particular they know about the depth of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but they are also now familiar with the Barnes Foundation and the art there. They know us culturally, maybe not as deeply and as richly as we would like them to.”

International visitors also find the architectural richness of the city tied into its history, he added, going all the way back to how and why William Penn designed the city the way he did.

Read the full story here…

Jul 09

Global Conversations With William Burke-White

When William Burke-White attended Harvard Law school, he worked very closely with Ann Murray Slaughter, who was then a professor at the university.

As Burke-White completed his PHD in political science, Slaughter became Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs at Princeton University. She gave Burke-White his first academic job as a lecturer.

Burke-White started teaching international law and foreign policy at the prestigious university and after three years of service, he was offered a position at the University of Pennsylvania’s Law school as a professor and deputy dean of international programs. The university announced that on July 1, Burke-White will begin a new role as the inaugural Richard Perry Professor and Director of the Perry World House.

Could you tell me about the Perry World House?

About a year and a half ago, Richard Perry and his wife Lisa, who are alumni of Penn, made a major gift to establish a center for all things international across the university. Over the last year the university has been searching for someone to come in as the inaugural director and I was asked to do so.

The world house will be a kind of connecting point, a hub for everything international that happens across the university that brings in the different schools and provides a place for students and faculty doing international work all over the world to really come together.

It will also be a kind of think tank within the university that brings Penn’s academic work to solve global challenges. Thinking from an interdisciplinary perspective, if you’re trying to address climate change for instance, you can bring together scientists, political scientists, economist and engineers in a single place to really apply academic knowledge to advancing a solution.

Read the full story…

Jul 09

GPA Spotlight

I started writing for Global Philadelphia in early 2013 and have been writing different pieces for them since then. They were nice enough to include me in their monthly newsletter last June. Super nice of them. You can read the small write-up on me below and check out the newsletter in all of its entirety by clicking the photo. Also, huge thanks to Kaniz Pramanik of Humans Of Temple University for taking the photo of me :)

gpnews

Apr 21

Documenting The Faces Of Temple

Spin-off blogs based on Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York” have become a trend among some amateur photographers, including junior biology major Kaniz Pramanik.

Pramanik created “Humans of Temple University,” which she said tells a variety of stories through pictures and short interviews as a way to showcase how diverse her peers are. Her efforts started out as way to showcase some of her own work. Pramanik began taking pictures for Humans of Temple University in January of this year, but posted the photos later in February because of what she called her hectic schedule.

“Just within two weeks, I think I had around 200 followers,” Pramanik said. “I was like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’”

Pramanik said she has been interested in photography since high school when she took a black and white photography class. She said she loved being able to develop pictures in the school’s darkroom and manually manipulate the photos.

Not being able to afford the equipment to have her own darkroom, Pramanik decided she would explore the digital realm of photography. She bought a camera and began taking pictures, posting them to her Flickr page.

“I started taking pictures of people that I knew,” Pramanik said. “I’m trying to spread it out and pick random people. Just picking people that really interest me. I’m trying to get everybody in.”

Pramanik said there are many people around the university that interest her when she’s wandering around Main Campus with her camera, even a person who’s quiet and studying. She said her policy is to politely explain her purpose and ask permission to take their picture. She follows this with a series of short questions centered around the subject’s major, reason for attending Temple and any advice they have for fellow students.

So far, people have been receptive to the idea, Pramanik said, adding that no one on Main Campus has turned down her request to photograph them.

“I’m just trying to get out that you’re not alone,” Pramanik said. “There’s this one guy who’s from Washington D.C., who’s featured on the page and his life is hard, being far from home and being in school. A lot of people connect to that.”

Read the full story

Check out the multimedia component by journalism majors Avory Brookins and Noa Garcia

Visit and like Humans of Temple University.

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