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Communication & Media

News & Events

Investigative reporter and New York Times editor named next Ottaway Professor of Journalism

11/13/2007

Martin Gottlieb, an award-winning investigative reporter and long-time editor at The New York Times, has been named the seventh James H. Ottaway Sr. Professor of Journalism.

Martin Gottlieb, an award-winning investigative reporter and long-time editor at The New York Times, has been named the seventh James H. Ottaway Sr. Professor of Journalism.

Gottlieb follows a long line of well-known journalists who have held the Ottaway Professorship, including three Pulitzer Prize winners and a famous American author. Gottlieb “continues New Paltz's tradition of bringing passionate journalists who have worked at the highest levels of the profession,” commented College President Steven Poskanzer in making the announcement.

Poskanzer stressed Gottlieb’s unique blend of credentials. He has been a top editor in three of journalism’s very different worlds – as a reporter for the tabloid New York Daily News, as the editor of the alternative weekly newspaper the Village Voice and as an editor and reporter for the Times.

“Gottlieb has done it all,” commented New Paltz journalism professor Robert Miraldi. “He has worked the streets of New York City, he has investigated high-level corruption, and he has made decisions about what will grace the pages of the world’s most important newspaper. Students can learn so much from his experiences.”

Gottlieb’s class will examine the enduring characteristics of quality journalism at a time when an intensifying 24-hour news cycle can make it easy to overlook them. Balance, context, skepticism, resourceful and investigative reporting, informed advocacy, elegant and original writing and fair-minded packaging are among the topics that will be considered. Students will look at examples from the mainstream, tabloid, and alternative press as well as at encouraging models from the Internet.

About the class, Poskanzer added that it “comes at a time when we all must look carefully at what we need from the profession as technology challenges so many of our institutions.”

Gottlieb said he hoped he could help students “focus on the best journalistic practices, ones that ought to serve as bedrocks and guideposts at a time of enormous change in the profession.” The class, he said, will “explore the values and work practices that lead to distinguished journalism.”

The Ottaway Professorship is named for the founder of Ottaway Newspapers Inc., which is now a coast-to-coast group of 15 dailies, 13 Sunday and more than 18 weeklies and numerous specialty publications and Web sites in nine states. The flagship newspaper of the chain is the Times Herald-Record in Middletown. The professorship was made possible by a gift from James Ottaway Jr.

"We again thank Jim Ottaway for his gift to the college that has allowed us to bring six -- and now seven -- outstanding professionals to tutor and nurture our journalism students,” commented Poskanzer.

Six well-known journalists have preceded Gottlieb. Three have been Pulitzer Prize winners, including former New York Times investigative reporter Sydney Schanberg; Bernard Stein, an editorial writer with the Riverdale Press in the Bronx; and John Darnton, a former Times foreign correspondent. The other professors were award-winning National Public Radio reporter Ann Cooper, who headed the nation’s foremost advocacy group for the protection of journalists, Roger Kahn, the author of 20 books and one of America’s foremost literary journalists, and Trudy Lieberman, one of America’s best consumer reporters.

Gottlieb has been an award-winning investigative reporter and editor for more than 35 years. He is currently associate managing editor at The New York Times in charge of the newsroom on weekends, one of the top positions at the newspaper. He shapes the Sunday and Monday news reports and runs the newsroom on Saturdays and Sundays.

Gottlieb has held a variety of positions at the Times, including a stint as its special projects editor on the metro desk from 1990 to 1993 and on the national desk from 1995 to 1997. Articles by a team of reporters run by Gottlieb on dubious practices at the nation's largest for-private hospital chain helped lead to indictments, a nearly billion dollar settlement with the government and a shake up of its board and top management. The project won a George F. Polk Award in 1998.

Gottlieb began his career in 1971 as a reporter with The Record in Hackensack, N.J. For eight years he was a reporter at the New York Daily News, where he covered police, housing and poor neighborhoods and spearheaded a series of articles on the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn after the great power blackout of 1997. The series spurred a massive government effort to rebuild the community.

He then moved to the Times in 1983 to work on its metropolitan desk but left to become editor of New York’s quintessential alternative weekly, the Village Voice, in 1986. The Voice was America’s first alternative weekly newspaper in the 1950s, and is still the best known alternative newspaper in America.

Gottlieb served as the Gannett visiting professor of journalism at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in 1989-90 but returned to the Times for three years to concentrate on investigative reporting in New York City. He left the Times again in 1993 to become managing editor of the Daily News. When he returned to the Times once again, he became the paper’s deputy culture editor of its influential Arts and Leisure section. He also served as a visiting editor at the International Herald Tribune in 2004 before taking on his current duties.

Gottlieb is a graduate of Queens College with a degree in political science and has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. For more than 20 years he has taught political and governmental reporting classes at Columbia.

Gottlieb commented, “I’ve lived in the Hudson Valley and have great affection for New Paltz and the entire area. To the extent that my class and other appearances on campus can help stimulate debate in a highly literate environment, I would be flattered and honored.”