Tag Archives: Sandra Peddie

A great Greene ending

The lectures are over, the articles posted, and the week-long Greene program will officially close in less than 24 hours.

And wow, what a week it’s been.

A first day photograph featuring John Wiliams' back (clearly, I had no idea what I was doing -- yet).
A first day photograph featuring John Wiliams‘ back (clearly, I had no idea what I was doing — yet).

As is said in the bio Reid wrote of me, journalism is not my primary passion – the reading and writing I’ve always loved has been fiction and flowery language. The creative writing class in my high school was linked to a journalism one, but, even then, my interest in journalism was rather secondary.

A glimpse of the campus.
A glimpse of the campus.

This week, however—holding a microphone and interviewing randoms in “man on the street” segments, researching and writing, asking questions in a press conference setting, working the tech board in a television studio—has been enlightening.

A view from the back of Studio B.
A view from the back of Studio B.

It’s hard, even, to pick highlights to reflect on here. From all the special guests and unique opportunities of the week, so many stand out. (And, additionally, writing this blog has really been a blast).

Moment of silence for the computer I'm going to miss so much when I return to a tiny laptop.
Moment of silence for the computer I’m going to miss so badly when I return to my little laptop.

Reporting at the Ducks game and in all formats throughout the week (at the Emergency Operations Center, the Shawn Heilbron press conference, last night’s “man on the street” segments) has been my favorite. It’s not so much of a stretch from what I already love—as president of Massapequa’s Drama Club, I’m no stranger to improv, which is what the interviews mostly came to be. Still, holding the mic and asking questions was a rush each time.

SBU! (Photo Credit: Courtney Taylor~)

The aspects of journalism I had been unfamiliar with also ended up being intriguing and enjoyable—photography and film, for example—and the teachers of those lectures really made them easy to understand (professor Ricioppo for film and John Williams for photography).

Dual-screen photography action.
Dual-screen journalist action.

The week has been jam-packed with special guests from the field: Bob Herzog, who brought sports journalism to life; Matt Clark, the investigative journalist who truly piqued my interest (I’ve always wanted to write, of course, but after seeing the movie “Agent Cody Banks” when I was a kid, I became crazy about the idea of being a spy—this seems to be the perfect blend of the two); Sandra Peddie, another investigative reporter, busting crimes and getting to the bottom of things (while also being an engaging speaker and intriguing professional).

Just around the corner from where the news magic really happens. (Photo by me!)
Just around the corner from where the news magic really happens. (Photo by me!)

Speaking to people pursuing journalism in the real world has been enlightening, and hearing their stories furthered my interest in journalism from secondary to, perhaps, a bit higher.

Madison Flotteron and Courtney Taylor anchoring at the Stony Brook University School of Journalism broadcast studio on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Photo by Wasim Ahmad.
(Photo Credit: Wasim Ahmad)

While the special guests of the week were exciting and interesting for the bits they were here, the professionals I was with for the entirety of the week—Professor Ahmad, Professor Duffy and Professor Dowdy—were incredibly informative and interesting in their own rights, teaching us the business that they themselves are passionate about.

Sitting down this morning to edit my piece with professor Duffy and professor Dowdy was an extremely valuable journalistic experience, as their classes on writing have been throughout the week.

Team Wasumsauce!
a little late for #tbt, but throwback to earlier in the week!

And, of course, as member of Team Wasumsauce, I’ve really enjoyed professor Ahmad’s courses on blogging (three blog posts in one day, so, clearly) and the photo side of journalism, as well as his guidance on our group’s stories. Outside of his intriguing courses, I’ve had a great time as a member of his team: working at the Ducks game, going on an impromptu tour of campus after we all missed the bus and hearing about his experiences in the field.

(Photo Credit: Wasim Ahmad)
(Photo Credit: Wasim Ahmad)

Outside of class altogether, I’ve met a ton of interesting, intelligent and all-around cool people in this program, and being on a real college campus has been an eye-opening experience as well.

So, with the week coming to its finale (finishing off with a movie and tomorrow’s closing ceremonies), I’d be amiss if I left out my thoughts on journalism altogether after this week.


I don’t know where to begin—it’s exciting, it’s thought-provoking, and I know now that I would find my life lacking without pursuing journalism in some avenue—a minor, a double major, who knows?

a final newsroom selfie to tie it all together -- a journalist with a press pass.
a final blurry newsroom selfie to tie it all together — a journalist with a press pass~

Nevertheless, the Greene Program has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I learned to use a camera from a Pulitzer prize winner on the first day, amongst all the other extraordinary opportunities the program has given me—that certainly doesn’t happen every day!

I come away from the program with skill, interest and a heightened love for written word—the Greene legacy, fulfilled.

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A victory in the newsroom’s game of musical chairs

A Victory in Musical Chairs
Blessedly, I was able to get a computer next to Courtney this morning, and though we were working with $500 cameras, I chose to snap a pic with my iPhone. Old habits die hard.
Photo by Mary Kate Guma

Much of yesterday was spent using cameras and computers, but the parts that stood out have been the writing workshops, the mini-lessons in writing we received from Professors Dowdy and Duffy. We haven’t learned anything terribly complicated, but it’s mostly new information to me, and I love it. I feel as though I’m being showered in tips, listening intently so I can take the lessons back to my high school’s paper, Spectrum.

My school lacks a journalism class, and honestly, that was the number one reason I applied to this program. I don’t know if I want to be a journalist in real life. In fact, I’m pretty sure I don’t. But I’ve been devoted to Spectrum for years, writing and editing, and the paper needs a pick-me-up, so here I am.

In the last day and a half, I gained more experience than I would during a month in Locust Valley. I attended a press conference with Stony Brook’s new Athletic Director, Shawn Heilbron. I received photography lessons from the Pulitzer Prize winning photographer John Williams. Finally, I learned to use a video camera out in the field — and I do mean field. We took the cameras out to the Staller Steps to shoot video clips in the fading twilight.

Unfortunately, I spent most of yesterday on the overflow computer. There are eighteen computers near each other. I was number nineteen, meaning I sat in the front with the professors and guest instructors. I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t great. But today I knew better. I snagged a computer next to my roommate, scoring a definite victory in this game of musical chairs.

This morning, however, I had the best experience yet. Newsday’s investigative reporter Sandra Peddie popped in to chat with the Greene Team, and those fifteen minutes were fantastic. The work we’ve done so far has been kind of serious, lots of “Pay attention” and “If you miss this you’ll be completely lost.” But when Peddie stood up to talk to us, wearing a bright smile and a hot pink blazer, she illuminated the fun side of journalism.

Peddie is clearly doing what she loves. She shared some of her adventure stories and gave us a little insight into her world. What she does is exciting, and she is excited about it. Her words buzzed as she told us her story. Instead of slouching back in my chair, I leaned forward, hanging on every syllable.

She told us her favorite part of the job was that it helped her learn more about the world. She had grown up sheltered in Minnesota. Now she knows things. She talks to people from all walks of life, sees corruption at multiple levels.

I don’t know about the towns my peers come from, but Locust Valley is a sheltered little town. I want to know things too, and that is what I hope to gain from my time in journalism: perspective on the world, broader knowledge of humans and our actions.

I know we’re laying groundwork, that unless we learn the basics, we can never advance, but Peddie’s mini lecture served as a pep talk, a look at what’s to come, and it reawakened the excitement I possess for journalism.

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Inspiration in a pink blazer

We had an unexpected visit from Sandra Peddie today in the newsroom, and may I say it was a good one. With her bright pink blazer going along with her upbeat personality, She spoke about her journey into the field of journalism and her encounter with Bob Greene.

St Paul, Minn. was her birthplace and she managed to go a long way with her journalism career at San Jose, Costa Rica for The San Jose News. She graduated with a degree in American Studies.

She has been working for Newsday since 1985, both as a reporter and an assignment editor.

While working for Newsday she suffered with a repetitive strain injury from typing too much for the company. She had to deal with this for three years of her life. This didn’t stop the passionate journalist – she ended up winning a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in the year 2011.

She was inspiring. Her story and the story of Shawn Heilbron are so inspiring. I want to hear more stories like this while being part of this program.

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And so the work begins

This morning we met Sandra Peddie an investigative journalist for Newsday. Hearing her talk about her experiences with Bob Greene and watching how excited she was to share her stories truly made me realize that investigative journalism is my career goal. Photography is also on my mind, though yesterday was the first time I ever truly did photography other than vacation snapshots or the more-than-occasional-selfie.

Capturing Prof. Ahmad capturing students. Photo by Jason Reid.
Capturing Prof. Ahmad capturing students. Photo by Jason Reid.

Everything we started yesterday really does have me hungry to learn more. We had our first press conference and we practiced with video cameras later that day as well. Oddly enough, never once did I feel overwhelmed by a task. I even came out of my shell a bit and asked Shawn Heilbron, SBU’s new athletics director, a question during our press conference. Today is a new day, however, and apparently this is where the work truly begins.

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