The “journalism nerd” who transformed his twice-weekly paper into a cutting-edge online news destination
Bob Radziewicz, faculty adviser for The Miami Hurricane
The incident I think best shows Greg’s journalistic integrity and fortitude occurred in late March. The Hurricane ran a straightforward story announcing that at the request of a Muslim student group on campus, the university would play the traditional Islamic call to prayer from the library bell tower. As soon as the story came out, the reader “responses” began flying online. As you can imagine, many were bigoted, obscene and intolerant. Later that day, the Muslim group contacted Greg demanding that he take down the responses immediately. Greg held his ground. He explained politely — but firmly — that the problem of online reader responses was plaguing the entire news industry, with no easy solution in sight. In the next issue he wrote a great editor’s column, in my opinion, that laid out the paper’s position on all this.
Greg believes strongly in journalistic principles and won’t allow anyone to bully him into changing those just because an article offends some people. At one point a former student asked why the paper was leaving offensive posts up. As part of his explanation, Greg noted that he has seen anti-Semitic remarks on some stories from time to time. Greg is an observant Jew; he was personally appalled by the remarks, but he chose to leave them up for the same reasons he left the call to prayer comments alone. In a university setting, the school newspaper should be the vehicle to promote open debate and free expression. I am extremely proud at how Greg handled himself.
Sam Terilli, professor at the University of Miami
Greg has shown his ability and willingness to stretch beyond the confines of traditional journalism to learn and master the new world of digital storytelling. As we chart the uncertain path to the future, students such as Greg will take us there because they are unafraid to learn and experiment and because they will bring to this new world the values of the traditional journalist.
Karyn Meshbane, news editor for The Miami Hurricane [2007-2008]
Greg is a journalism nerd. He walks around the newsroom quoting “All the President’s Men” and he pretty much turned his office in the newsroom into his dorm room.
I remember last semester on Halloween, I left the office at around 9 p.m. to go to a costume party. Greg found out at 10 p.m. that three fraternity brothers were arrested for robbery off-campus, and he wrote a story, spoke with multiple sources and found art for the story within 45 minutes to not only post a story online, but also have a story for print before we sent the paper off to the Miami Herald to be printed at 11 p.m.
Chris Delboni, professor of journalism and new media at the University of Miami’s School of Communication
He was taking my Online Journalism this semester, and before classes started in January we agreed the final project was the redesign of the new site for the Miami Hurricane. More than halfway through the semester, though, we ran into some problems with the designer. The new Web site would not be completed by semester’s end, so we would have to switch gears and find an alternative project. He never said one negative word about the designer and came up with an even better alternative for the class and our final project. Meanwhile, Greg also kept working with his staff at the Hurricane to have the new site running as well as soon as possible. Throughout the semester, all I saw was professionalism, positive attitude and dedication. Sometimes, we can’t find these qualities in people in the real world, making real money. To have that in a student tells a lot about this person.
His print, electronic and social media skills mesh to make him a major contributor in college and professional newsrooms.
Dave Lee, co-editor of the BBC Internet Blog
Greg is the sort of journalist that any newsroom dreams of having. He’s somewhat of an ‘everything’ man — a journalist who is as comfortable writing copy as he is setting up a live video stream, and as at ease asking tough questions as he is mingling with the crowds on Twitter. In other words, Greg is one of the fortunate few who are neither a complete techie, nor a complete luddite. He’s in the exciting middle ground that allows him to use any medium necessary to tell a good story.
For Tomorrow’s News, Tomorrow’s Journalists, Greg has done a fantastic job of promoting the blogring to involve journalists in the US. He utilizes social networks to crowd-source topics of discussion… and then to facilitate further discussion too.
Rick Hirsch, senior editor for the Miami Herald
Greg is a remarkable young journalist. He lives journalism — multimedia journalism — 24 hours a day. He’s Tweeting. He’s shooting video. He’s volunteering for SPJ. He’s at a conference. The guy is smart, fast and everywhere. Greg interned for us last summer. His writing skills got him here. But he wanted to improve his video storytelling and editing skills.
He began working with one of our bloggers, producing videos for her, and then working on his own video stories. Since, he’s gone to countless seminars and workshops to learn new techniques in storytelling and technology.
Rich Beckman, Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the University of Miami
While working with Greg in Idaho at the Special Olympics World Games, I asked him to organize and coordinate both the social media aspects of our site and to document our team in action. Before I knew it, we were Twittering and I don’t even know what else, other than that we’ve had more than 145,000 page views from more than 135 countries and territories, mostly due to social media contacts.