SBU to Name New Journalism Center for Colvin

By Ali Malito, The Long Island Press
June 21, 2012

The Stony Brook University School of Journalism is planning to establish an international reporting center named for Marie Colvin, a war correspondent from Long Island who was killed while covering the conflict in Syria three months ago.

The Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting would create a travel fellowship for journalism students to go on reporting trips overseas, expand the journalism school’s curriculum with classes emphasizing foreign reporting and develop a series of lectures featuring foreign correspondents. Also planned is a journalist-in-residence fellowship for international reporters to write and teach at Stony Brook.

A fundraising campaign that launched this week aims to raise $1 million for the center.

“We want the Stony Brook School of Journalism to be known for its expansiveness, inclusiveness,” said Associate Dean Marcy McGinnis. She said the center will help teach students how to report international news accurately and fairly.

“International reporting is extremely important to democracy,” McGinnis said. “It’s such a big and important area of news coverage.”

A Stony Brook journalism professor who is on the working committee for the center met Colvin in Baghdad while covering the Iraq war.

“It made such an impression on me,” said Assistant Professor Ilana Ozernoy. “She was just larger-than-life. She was an incredible role model.”

Colvin, known for her courage, 30 years of war coverage and trademark eye patch, was 56 when a rocket attack in Syria killed her in February. The East Norwich native and Oyster Bay High School graduate was there covering the violent government crackdowns for The Sunday Times of London.

Ozernoy, a former foreign correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, said the center will help journalism students mentally prepare for reporting abroad.

“A lot of students express interest in going overseas…and having teachers by them,” she said. “It’s a shame not to give every student the opportunity.”

SBU’s School of Journalism, established in 2006, is the only one of its kind in the SUNY system. More than 300 students are either a major or minor within the program.

“We just feel like it’s right for us to do it,” McGinnis said. “It’s a good fit.”

Ozernoy agreed that the Colvin center will add depth to the journalism school’s curriculum.

“Marie was in incredible mentor to young journalists,” she said. “For us, it’s just to do something she would’ve been proud of.”