Journalism Without Walls explores transformation of Cuba

A team of student journalists from Stony Brook University spent a week in Cuba chipping away at long-standing barriers between Cuban officials and the American press as part of the school’s “Journalism Without Walls” program.

The Journalism Without Walls: Cuba 2012 team in Havana.

The Journalism Without Walls: Cuba 2012 team in Havana.

The students arrived at a time of growing change and transformation in one of the world’s few remaining Communist countries. They reported on a new decree that has made it legal for the first time in fifty years for Cubans to buy and sell their own homes. They also produced stories on health care, politics and Cuban culture.

“The students did hard-hitting news stories and they did touching feature stories, which together will be rich material for any American eager to understand big changes taking place in Cuba today,” said Ron Howell, a professor of journalism, who accompanied the students along with Professor Rick Ricioppo, a broadcast professor at the Stony Brook School of Journalism. Howell, a former Caribbean correspondent for Newsday, also teaches journalism at CUNY.

The students created a website highlighting their articles, videos and photos. Their work can be found at

The Stony Brook team was allowed to travel to Cuba under and a new academic exception to the U.S. embargo.

“A growing number of academic groups are traveling to Cuba, but it’s unusual for journalism students. I think we are one of the first programs to arrange this,” said Howard Schneider, dean of the School of Journalism. “Hopefully, we can help shed some light on a country that still doesn’t permit its own journalists to report freely.”