All posts by Colin Maloney (Chaminade High School)

End of an awesome week

Colin Maloney preparing for one of his numerous interviews at the Ducks game.
Colin Maloney preparing for one of his numerous interviews at the Ducks game.

It is the last day of the program, and I cannot believe this is the final blog post I will write. This week has been amazing. I met 18 incredible teenagers who not only share my interest in journalism but also are just incredibly fun, and I will miss them all greatly.

Besides having fun with my fellow campers, this week has been jam-packed with truly unique experiences. I got to participate press conference with Stony Brook’s Athletic Director Shawn Heilbron, learned photography from the Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist John Williams, interviewed cancer survivors and baseball fans, learned how a news broadcast is made and got to see an actual newsroom at Newsday.

The thing I most valued about this program was it made me go outside my comfort zone.  I had to interview complete strangers, which was at first absolute terrifying because working for my school newspaper Tarmac, I usually knew my interview subjects. But after several interviews, I began to relax and really enjoyed conducting the interviews.  Besides the interviewing, I also had to take and edit stills and video, which I had never had to do for my school program. But, doing all these things gave me valuable experience that I hope to use back at the Tarmac.

In closing, I would like to thank to all the professors for all the hard work they did and my fellow Greene Team members for being the funny, creative, and awesome. You guys made the week fly by and I hope to see you all again.


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Stony Brook University's new Athletics Director Shawn Heilbron speaks to the Greene Team at the School of Journalism's newsroom on Monday, July 21, 2014. Photo by Wasim Ahmad.

New director heads SBU athletics

Shawn Heilbron officially became Stony Brook’s new athletic director on July 1, but it took a lifetime of work to get him to this point.

Heilbron grew up in Dallas, Texas. As a Cowboys fan, one of Heilbron’s role models was Roger Staubach, the Cowboys quarterback. “ He (Staubach) was Mr. America, a great quarterback and a great person.” said Heilbron. “I had chance to meet him when I was a kid, and I really looked up to him growing up.”

This interest in sports led Heilbron to the college of communications at the University of Texas at Austin, with the end goal of becoming a sports broadcaster. However, he changed his mind during his senior year.

“My senior year in college, I had a crossroads moment where I did an internship at the local ABC affiliate in Austin, and I thought ‘This is the first step in my first step toward my career in broadcasting.’ The only problem was it just wasn’t for me.”


After graduating, he returned to Dallas and attempted to find a job with one of the city’s numerous professional sports teams. The only team that gave him a shot was a minor league hockey team, the Dallas Freeze. The job only lasted six months and he received no salary. But it gave him his first experience working in athletics.

After his job with the Dallas Freeze, Heilbron went on to a job at Southern Methodist University (SMU), which involved him working to help market the college’s sports. Heilbron greatly enjoyed this job.

“I loved the energy of the college campus, I loved the fact I was involved not just in one sport but multiple sports,” he said.

He then went on to work at Pinnacle Trading Cards, a private sports cards company, but returned shortly to SMU as director of marketing for athletics. This was the point when Heilbron confirmed that he wanted to work in college athletics.

“I loved working with student athletes and realized that we were doing was trying to change lives student athletes’ lives better,” he said.

After eight years at SMU, in 2006, he accepted a job at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) as associate director for development. In this capacity, he oversaw most of the fundraising for UCLA athletics.

However, living in Los Angeles was a hard adjustment for Heilbron, his wife and their three children. So in 2011, Heilbron took a job at Oregon State University as senior associate athletic director. He oversaw fundraising there as well, and helped to raise millions of dollars for Oregon State’s sports programs.

His family enjoyed living in Corvallis, the small, quiet town where Oregon State is located. But they missed the excitement of living in a big city. While in Corvallis, Heilbron realized that his next career move needed to work not just for him professionally, but for his family as well.

The opportunity he was waiting for came earlier this year, when he received the offer from the Stony Brook. Heilbron knew the job was right for him professionally.

“I knew Stony Brook was incredible school with an athletic department that was growing and accomplishing great things,” he said.

He also knew that its location on Long Island and being near New York City would make it great for his family. As a result, Heilbron decided to accept the position at Stony Brook and begin not only his tenure as the university’s athletic director, but also the next chapter – for himself and his family.

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Reporters, Ducks and awkward questions

Yesterday was a very busy day. We spent the morning learning about what it takes to put together a news broadcast. We each got to experience all parts of putting the broadcast together, from shooting the video, to handling the audio and the teleprompter to actually being on air as an anchor. After that we went on a field trip to Newsday. It was fascinating to see an actual newsroom and get to talk to the reporters about their work.

The view fro the Greene Team's seats at the Ducks Game
The view from the Greene Team’s seats at the Ducks Game
However, the most interesting part of the day was when we went to the Ducks Game. The game itself was pretty tough to watch, as the Ducks ended up down 11 to 1, but we did not report on the game itself. Instead, my team interviewed kids and teenage fans to see if baseball was still America’s favorite pastime, and it turned out that many young people are still very much interested in the game. I was personally in charge of the actual interviewing, while Lisa shot video, and Laura took stills. Part of my job was to approach the parents of the fans in order to get their permission to interview their children. Most responded positively and agreed to let their kids answer our questions, others responded with (really unjustified) suspicion or just blew us off.

But that’s reporting for you, you cannot be afraid of approaching people or being in an awkward situations or you will never write anything interesting.


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Lea Greene

Lea Greene: Learning her grandfather’s legacy

Lea Greene is perhaps the one member of the Greene Team who has the greatest reason to participate in this program. Lea’s grandfather was Robert Greene, the famous Newsday investigative reporter and the man whom this program is named after.

Bob Greene earned his fame by writing gripping investigative articles. One of his most famous articles was about tracing how heroin moved through the Middle East and across Europe and how it eventually ended up on Long Island’s streets.

But, having a famous last name does have some drawbacks.

“I feel a lot of pressure, and that everyone is curious about me,” said Lea. “[But] one of the reasons I decided to attend this program was to see what people thought about my grandfather.”

Lea was born on January 11, 1996 in Saint James, Long Island. However, when she was three years old her family moved to the small town of Fuquay Varina, North Carolina. Lea is a rising senior at Southern Wake Academy, a charter school in her town.

She chose to attend Southern Wake Academy over her local public high school because of the smaller class sizes at the charter school, which allows teachers to focus their efforts on a smaller amount of students.

Teaching methods are especially important to Lea because of her plans for the future. She hopes to attend East Carolina University and earn a teaching degree. She aspires to become a teacher specializing in early education. Her primary motivation for choosing this career path as she described was “to see and help kids learn and grow.”

Besides journalism, Lea has a wide variety of interests. She played soccer for various teams over seven years before a knee injury forced her to give up the sport. Lea has a passion for reading. In fact, when asked to name her favorite book she simply replied “I have too many favorite books to name.”

However, she did admit to being “in love” with the bestselling young adult novel “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green (unrelated to the Greene family by the way). In addition, Lea is also a fan of Shakespeare’s works. She particularly enjoys his most famous tragedy, “Romeo and Juliet.”

Just like “The Fault in Our Stars,” the play centers on an unlikely romance between two young people. In the world of music, Lea’s favorite band is All Time Low. But her favorite song is by a completely different artist. It is called “Follow Your Arrow” by Kacey Musgraves.

For most members of the Greene Team, this program is primarily about improving our journalism skills, developing new ones and getting a taste of what college life will be like. But, for Lea Greene, there is an additional reason.

Lea desires to experience the profession to which her grandfather dedicated his entire life, learning some of the skills that he used on a daily basis, and connecting with her grandfather’s past.

“It [being part of the program] brings back flashbacks and stories about by grandfather doing what he loved,” Lea said.

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‘Privileged to help tell their story’

ACtion Shot Alejandro jumps over Madison  and Noelia
Action Shot:  Alejandro jumps over Madison and Noelia

People often say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I never really grasped the true meaning of that saying until yesterday. We had a four-hour lesson with Pulitzer Prize winning photographer John Williams. Williams told us some of the basics of taking a quality photo including light sensitivity, field of vision, and shutter speed. He taught us how to capture someone in motion, pan a shot, and capture details accurately as possible. It was a ton of fun, as we could take pictures of basically anything we want including our classmates running, jumping and doing cartwheels. After this exciting lesson, we had a quick dinner at the Student Activity Center. We then returned to the newsroom for a lesson in operating video cameras with Professor Rick Ricioppo. We learned how to handle the video camera and the tripod properly. We then headed outside to practice shooting videos. It was difficult to find anything that interesting to videotape and most of my group’s shoots were just of people walking through the frame. However, it was interesting to learn about a skill I didn’t have any real experience with. Right after this lesson, we were assigned the teams we would be working with the rest of the week.

Today we had another a photo lesson with Williams. We practiced the techniques we learned yesterday and took portraits of our classmates. After the portraits we finished up our photo class, and Williams told us that this would be his last class with us. I was very disappointed to hear this because William’s class had been my favorite part of the program so far.

After the photo lesson and lunch we were given our teams’ assignment. My team had to write two articles on Shawn Heilbron. I did the article focused on Shawn’s life story, and Laura and Lisa worked on an article describing Heilbron’s vision for Stony Brook. Then we attended an event, which presented cancer survivors with college scholarships. Laura and I interviewed the some of the people running the event and some of the recipients of the scholarships. It was fascinating to hear these survivors’ story and I feel privileged to help to be able to help tell their story through my work.

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Highlight of my summer already

These past two days have been by far the most eventful of my summer. Besides having to go through a drivers’ education course, I have not done that much with my summer. I have numerous reasons—or really excuses—for this: Studying for my final exams drained me, drivers’ education took up too much of my day to do anything else and several others.

photo1But since I started the Greene Institute yesterday, I have had no time for excuses. I met my awesome roommate, Reid Rubio, learned how to take more professional-looking photos with my iPhone, played a very close and down-to-the-wire game of pool with some of my fellow Greene Team members and spent my first night in a dorm room. That was only the first day.

Today after a quick breakfast at the Student Activities Center, we got right to work learning the fundamentals of news and preparing for our first interview later today with Shawn Heilbron, Stony Brook’s new Athletics Director. In comparison to the rest of my summer, these two days with the Greene Team have been full of excitement and new experiences, and I am looking forward to what the rest of the week will bring.

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