The Department of Communication and Media and the State University of New York at New Paltz Foundation presents John Larson
John Larson, one of the most eminent journalists in broadcast news history and the 10th James H. Ottaway Sr. Professor of Journalism, will discuss the ways that storytelling and journalism can strengthen communities, vitalize politics and change individual lives in his public address “Tell a Story, Change the World,” held in Lecture Center 108, 6 p.m., April 14.
Larson is the recipient of the duPont-Columbia, Peabody and Emmy awards and was a correspondent for “Dateline NBC,” “NBC Nightly News” and “The Today Show.” He is celebrated for his investigative and feature news reporting, his mastery of storytelling and for uncovering the “small truths” enmeshed in the details of people’s stories. Larson believes these stories reveal greater clarity and insight into the greater truths of the world.
Larson joined the faculty at the State University of New York at New Paltz in the spring of 2011 teaching a seminar in storytelling and multimedia journalism. Larson is guiding students through semester-long, in-depth reporting projects in video, audio and other forms of multimedia. Students are creating an online presence for their projects.
“I am looking forward to helping the journalists at New Paltz learn how to tell powerful stories in a variety of ways,” Larson said in January. “Stories that serve their communities well. Stories they can be proud of. It is an exciting time to be in journalism.”
John Larson is renowned for telling stories from rare perspectives and balancing penetrating, objective journalism with empathy for his subjects. He sought out the stories other journalists overlooked.
From interviewing indigenous Alaskan fishermen in his early career, to his 15-month investigation of fraudulent practices in the insurance industry for “Dateline NBC,” entitled “The Paper Chase,” Larson said in an interview with Interim President, Donald P. Christian, that the impetus for his own work in journalism and its challenge is to invoke empathy and understanding in people.
As a correspondent for PBS and NBC News, John Larson’s work, among the most awarded in the broadcast news industry, is confirmation of this achievement. This year, he was part of a team of reporters at KCET in Los Angeles that won a duPont-Columbia Award for a series of reports on elected representatives.
In 2010, John Larson won another duPont-Columbia Award and the George Foster Peabody Award for his work in an investigation of the Mexican drug cartels and illegal marijuana farming in California. In addition, he was awarded two regional Emmy Awards for Best Writer and Best Crime News Reporting.
Of his 22 Emmy Awards, Larson won two National Emmys for Breaking News Coverage “Houston Floods” and Investigative Journalism “Probable Cause.”
In 2008, Larson co-authored "Television Field Production and Reporting" which is one of the most widely assigned college broadcast journalism textbooks in the country.
John Larson is a sought after speaker, teacher and motivator. He currently consults for the E.W Scripps Company, teaching and motivating over 400 working journalists. He speaks regularly at the National Writer’s Workshops, the Poynter Institute, and the National Press Photographers’ National Workshop and local affiliates. He has participated in the Committee of Concerned Journalists, sponsored by the Nieman Foundation of Harvard University.
New Paltz Attracts Excellence
Nine journalists preceded Larson as Ottaway professors, including four Pulitzer Prize winners; photographer Renee C. Byer; former New York Times investigative reporter and columnist Sydney Schanberg; Bernard Stein, an editorial writer; and John Darnton, a former Times foreign correspondent.
New Paltz’s commitment to procuring outstanding faculty is exemplified with the James H. Ottaway Sr. Visiting Professorship. The first Endowed Professorship in Journalism at New Paltz is named in honor of the founder of Ottaway Newspapers Inc. whose vision for the community newspaper was to “tell the truth without fear or favor, and build a strong sense of community.”