Photo Credit: Danielle Cruz
By Asar John
York alumni Joseph Jaafari has returned to his old stomping grounds in Jamaica, Queens, but this time around its not to pursue an education– but to provide one for its current students.
Jaafari debuts his return to York as a lecturer for a journalism class called Investigative Solutions Journalism for the Spring 2019 semester. He graduated York in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.
Jaafari says this form of journalism is something that is becoming desirable for journalists to do and to do it efficiently.
“Investigative Solutions Journalism is looking at issues within a community and then reporting on the solutions that are fixing them,” says Jaafari. “This is something almost every single newsroom has been focusing on recently, there is a call for reporters to do solutions journalism well and not with fluff.”
Jaafari says he has not forgotten the feeling of being a student despite having graduated five years ago.
“I like the fact that I can relate to the students here,” Jaafari said. “I’ve been exactly where they were. I’ve been a procrastinator, so I can understand exactly how to do my lessons in a way that are able to tailor to the students right now.”
Jaafari is just one of the three newly hired adjuncts in the English department at York. Joe Strupp, an experienced reporter, is another one of York’s new journalism adjuncts.
Strupp said he made connections to those at York through his former professor, now Journalism Program Director at Brooklyn College.
“One of my professors I had at Brooklyn College, Anthony Mancini, who I met with a couple months ago, was in touch with me about my book,” said Strupp. “After that he reached out to me about an opening for this class at York.”
He recently published a book last October titled Killing Journalism: How Greed, Laziness (and Donald Trump) Are Destroying News, and How We Can Save It. The English Department hosted an enrichment seminar on the discussion of his book on March 14.
Strupp is currently teaching Social Justice Journalism for the Spring 2019 semester..
“We reviewed the jail in Brooklyn that had no heat and electricity and how the press handled that,” says Strupp. “This is along with going back in history to the American Revolution, when the first coverage of that was done in Common Sense by Thomas Paine and other news outlets at the time.”
James Harney, an introductory course professor, is another one of York’s new journalism adjuncts.
Harney, a former reporter for the Daily News, says he discovered the vacant position at a book signing in Brooklyn last October.
“At that time I ran into another professor in that we know in common,” said Harney. “A conversation with that particular professor led to my conversation with Professor Bill Hughes, who indicated to me that he had an opening for an adjunct to teach Journalism 280 for the spring semester.”
Harney says he was fond of York before becoming an adjunct professor, often taking advantage of the school library.
“It occured to me that maybe when I was done being a working journalist, one of the places I would like to come would be York,” says Harney. “I was familiar with campus and interested in sharing my long time knowledge with young students who had an interest in journalism, and maybe get into the field themselves.”