Stony Brook University’s reputation has long been focused on its’ science and research programs. As one of the best research schools in the country, it is easy to forget that faculty from other programs are equally as talented and go unrecognized. Marcy McGinnis is one such person.
McGinnis joined the Stony Brook family in 2006 when she began as the Director of the Broadcast Journalism program. She was a part of the original team of faculty that helped create and nurture the only undergraduate journalism school in the SUNY system. McGinnis was eventually promoted, only a year later, to become the associate dean of the School of Journalism, where she continued to focus on broadcast, manage an entire team of faculty and teach classes.
McGinnis’ journey as a journalist didn’t end at Stony Brook however. The former senior vice president, news coverage for CBS’s credentials caught the attention of a firm that was searching potential candidates to work in top management positions for Al Jazeera.
“I was familiar with Al Jazeera for many years”, McGinnis writes in an email, “The company had a strong reputation around the world in terms of its news product, but it never occurred to me that I would be working for the company in 2013.”
Now the senior vice president for newsgathering at Al Jazeera America, McGinnis’ responsibilities are quite different from they were here at Stony Brook. She now supervises all the newsgathering for Al Jazeera America, including reporters covering the news internationally. She runs the assignment desk and watches over produced projects from the channels’ everyday newscasts.
“At Al Jazeera, I like the excitement of being back in the breaking news world. I like that I’m meeting new, talented, motivated people who want to create a news product that we can all be proud of,” she continues, “I like that this is a start-up project – with all the craziness that comes along with starting a news organization from scratch. And oh – did I mention I like that the office is only 10 minutes from my apartment?”
Although she has left Stony Brook to continue her career, McGinnis misses her fellow colleagues, the dean, but mostly the students.
She offers the J-School kids one piece of advice before they head out into the real world:
“Remember the role of a journalist in a democracy is not one to take lightly. It comes with great responsibility – to get to the truth and then to report that truth with fear or favor. Remember it takes talent, motivation, dedication and courage to be a good journalist. Use your reporting, writing, shooting, editing and web skills all the time – in class, while covering stories and in your free time. Remember to always present yourself in a clear, professional manner. Remember, no matter how good you are as a journalist, you can always be better – at writing, at producing, at creating a product. Don’t get too comfortable – continue to challenge yourself and to take risks. Don’t forget to network, network, network – get to know professionals in the industry – they can be key to opening doors. Use the time you have at Stony Brook to learn your trade from some of the finest journalists I have ever met – the faculty of the journalism school.”