A New York Times Puff Piece About a D:F/M Pulitzer Prize Winning Colleague Taking a Hike

Me Thinks the New York Times Didn’t Do the Math

Sour Mash Or Sour Grapes?

Bernard Stein

Bernard Stein

Dare to question the math:

From the Times: By his count, Mr. Stein has sent more than 100 students to the South Bronx over the past eight years. A half-dozen have gone on to work as reporters at newspapers, websites and television stations.

Let’s see: 100 students over 16 academic semesters? That averages to about six enrollees a semester over the course of his tenure in the Department of Film and Media Studies, Hunter College, City University of New York. So, maybe there were semesters when he only had, say, three or four students.  But I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and stick with the mean instead of a median or a mode.

[It was about this time that the College was threatening to cancel news writing classes with enrollments less than 12. I recall one semester when the Chair notified me that he was canceling  my FORD funded multimedia ethnic class* because it had only seven students – even though the class wasn’t costing the College one scintilla of funding.  An assistant dean backed him up even though the decision violated the contract that was signed off by the College and the University. I talked to the Provost about the cancellation and she wasn’t any help.

I should have contacted the CUNY lawyer whose name was on the information I had received from CUNY about the contract. But at the time, I was still hoping to keep a collegial relationship with the Provost Vita C. Rabinowitz, since I wasn’t on good terms with the Chair and his supporters. Ha!

The research administration office told me not to notify FORD about the contractual shenanigans because it could reflect negatively on the College. Research administration, I thought later as I was writing up a report to FORD about the grant, should have told my Chair and the assistant dean about its concern.

Did I want to continue participating in these farcical coverup efforts and shenanigans for the Chair and others? In the report, I told FORD the whole story (well, maybe not the whole story but at least the salient parts of the skullduggery).  Sour Mash? Sour Grapes?

Six or eight students allegedly got journalism jobs? That’s less than one a year. Unless, of course, there was an occasional zilch here and there when no one got a job. Stein couldn’t recall the name of the hiring organizations? Didn’t want to share laudable accomplishments? The Times’ reporter didn’t ask? Uh Oh.

He wasn’t getting $37,000 a year from the College for the print version of his online Hunts Point Express and private contributions over that period. I estimate only in the last three years of his time in D:F/M. Private Contributions? Uh oh! Was he funding out of his own deep pockets?

I got outside funding to take some journalism students to the New Hampshire Primary and to the Democratic National Convention in Denver where Obama was nominated* and it didn’t cost the College a penny. Stein gets $37,000 a year and private funding to send a few students over several years to the Bronx, and this is played up as some kind of big hooray? Sour Mash, Sour Grapes?

Until the interference became so strong, there was a time students working directly with this instructor were regularly getting competitive internships with Billboard and the Business Press Education Foundation and recognition from the Society of Professional Journalist Mark of Excellence Awards, American Society of Magazine Editors, Chips Quinn Scholars, Etcetera, Etcetera, Etcetera. Several selected for grad school at Columbia, NYU, CUNY – and not just one a semester. Sour Mash, Sour Grapes?

And not to be left out, special relationships with PEN Center USA, Foreign Press Association, United Nations,  Etcetera, Etcetera, Etcetera.

Go figure. Sour Mash Or Sour Grapes?

More about this later. Oops. Here is the NYT link.

*The plan was to develop this into a regular undergraduate student project and the Hunter-D:F/M politics fracked everything up. Only the Bronx is good for D:F/M students? More about this later.

Gregg Morris, editor of the WORD and this site.

Gregg Morris, editor of the WORD and this site.




This logo is being revised for 2014.

This logo is being revised for 2014.


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