Journalism students at CNN and Retro Report Organization


Story By: Ivana Stolnik

[pullquote]“Don’t be confused by shiny objects. Go out there in the field and make mistakes. Be a real journalist.”  Andrew Morse, Senior Vice President, CNN USA[/pullquote]The first Professional Friday of the spring 2014 semester brought Stony Brook students of journalism to New York City once again. This time they visited CNN, one of the world’s largest news organizations, and they got a chance to find out the details about how does a rapidly growing news organization called Retro Report work and what is so special about it.

Professor Miller and Professor Sanders guided the group of eleven students to the first meeting of the day with Andrew Morse, the Senior Vice President of CNN USA at Time- Warner Center.

Nonchalant Mr. Morse was more than happy to answer numerous inquiries and concerns of the students, from the news breaking on Twitter to how to get an internship at CNN.

The students listened to his advices attentively: “Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t be shy. Do every minor task with relish.” Mr. Morse couldn’t emphasize enough the importance of “going out and doing journalism”.

His personal story about the way he got to the top was very encouraging. He said that in 1996 he was rejected 200 times in a quest for a job but he never gave up on journalism.

Students left the Time- Warner Center with some very nice CNN souvenirs. After a walk through the Central Park they enjoyed a lunch in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

[pullquote]“The best reporters never stopped questioning.”  Kyra Darnton, Managing Editor, Retro Report[/pullquote]The next meeting was at Madison Avenue where Kyra Darnton, Managing Editor and Executive Producer of Retro Report, met the group and introduced them to the impressive work that they do. Retro Report provides the follow-up reporting for which there is so little time in newsrooms that must always attend to the now and the new. They select big stories from years past and go check to see if history has unrolled the way it was predicted to in the initial reports on major events.

This nonprofit news organization was launched in July and it grew from first five employers to currently 55. Their mission: “the truth now about the big stories then”

About their vision Ms. Darnton said that: “If journalism is the first draft of history, we’d like to be the second draft”.

Cristina Maldonado said that the work she does as the Head of Fact Checking is “like doing an autopsy of the piece”, referring to the depth of the research that is required to check the authenticity of each statement.

[pullquote] “Professional Fridays are informative, encouraging and exciting. They remind me of what I’m working so hard for.”  Kristy Gerlett, Journalism Sophomore[/pullquote]Students felt very comfortable in the working environment of Retro Report, a converted basement apartment at Madison Avenue and 94th St. and were intrigued by the kind of work that they do. They’ve learned that the essential skills for this job are good researching and reporting abilities.

The busy day ended around 5 p.m. when students caught the train back to Stony Brook. The impressions were, as usual, very positive, both from students and professors.




Student Contributions

Editor: Ivana Stolnik

Copy Editor: Dipti Kumar

Photo/Video: Ronald Denig, Lindsay Andarakis, Briceyda Landeverde, Ethan Freedman, Faith Lee

Protocol Officer: Alexa Coveney, Kristy Gerlett

Student Comments: Jimin Kim

Quotes: Catherine Bonke