December 01, 2005
Journalism students at St. John’s University have the
opportunity to combine classroom learning with on-the-job training
internships that help them develop professional skills. St.
John’s students benefit from their New York City location; they’re
able to gain experience through assignments at leading daily
newspapers such as the Daily News, and at prominent
weeklies, such as the New York Amsterdam News.
These two newspapers have published the work of St. John’s
University journalism major Nicholas Hirshon, who’s in his senior
year at the College of
Professional Studies. Nicholas was one of seven students
selected out of 117 applicants nationwide to work as a reporter
last summer for the New York Amsterdam News, one of the
nation’s oldest Black newspapers. He worked from his home in Queens
to cover news within the borough that would interest the weekly
newspaper’s African-American readers.
Professor Serant Plans to Place More Students at Major
“I learned a lot about the Black community,” says Nicholas, who
is Caucasian. “I ended up concentrating on stories about Black
history since I’m an avid history buff. I wrote about 15 stories
over the summer, and had an article in the paper almost every week.
It was a valuable experience as I learned how to write for a
particular readership.” He also took most of the photos--with a
digital camera--that accompanied his stories.
Serious about journalism since he began writing for a local
weekly, the Queens Ledger, in high school, Nicholas will
be doing an internship at New York’s Daily News during the
spring semester. An eager beaver, he’s already accepted assignments
from the Queens Bureau of the Daily News and turned in
articles. He was recommended for the position by Claire Serant, a
full-time journalism professor who worked for the Daily
News for 16 years and knew the editor.
“I’ve studied with some really good professors at St. John’s,”
says Nicholas. “They understand here—since it’s a Catholic
university—that it’s important to help the students gain expertise.
They do more here than just provide an education.” He believes that
journalism has become a more popular major since the tragedy of
September 11, 2001.
Nicholas, who just turned 20, is a Forest Hills resident. Last
year, he was the editorial page editor of the St. John’s student
newspaper, the Torch. He says he plans to go on for a
master’s in journalism, and maybe a doctorate as “I want to teach
eventually.” Among his favorite courses: “Journalism 101” with
Calvin Lawrence, a former adjunct professor who’s the national
editor of Newsday.
“Nick was one of the best students I ever had,” says Lawrence.
“He had a positive attitude and good news judgment.”
“Nicholas is one of our most distinguished young journalists,”
says chairman of the
Communications Department Professor Frank Brady.
In addition to top internship placements, the students benefit
greatly by studying with faculty who the Department insists have
both advanced academic credentials and experience in the field,
says Brady. Find out more about the Journalism major
Links to some of Nicholas Hirshon’s