Byron Allen to Receive Dressler Leadership Award at 2024 Mirror Awards

MLK50: Justice Through Journalism to be honored with Lorraine Branham IDEA Award at the June 13 event in New York City, while CNN anchor and national correspondent Erica Hill will serve as master of ceremonies.

Byron Allen, the founder, chairman and CEO of Allen Media Group, will receive the Fred Dressler Leadership Award at the 2024 Mirror Awards on June 13 in New York City.


Headquartered in Los Angeles,  Allen Media Group  owns 27 ABC-NBC-CBS-FOX network affiliate broadcast television stations in 21 U.S. markets and 12 24-hour HD television networks serving nearly 300 million subscribers. Allen Media Group is the first African American-owned multi-platform media company producing and distributing wide-release motion pictures and content for all platforms.

The Dressler Award is given to individuals or organizations that have made distinct and consistent contributions to the public’s understanding of the media. Past recipients include: Judy Woodruff, senior correspondent at PBS; Jorge Ramos, anchor with Univision Noticias; Sheila Nevins, executive producer and former president of HBO Documentary Films and Family for Home Box Office; legendary journalist Tom Brokaw of NBC; and Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times.

MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, an award-winning nonprofit digital newsroom in Memphis, Tennessee, focused on the intersection of poverty, power and policy, will be honored with the Lorraine Branham IDEA Award. Accepting the award will be founding editor and publisher Wendi C. Thomas.

Established in 2021 in honor of late Newhouse Dean Emerita Lorraine Branham, the IDEA Award recognizes a media organization that has worked to promote inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility over the previous year. Specifically, the award acknowledges the hiring and development of leadership talent who create change, both to the organizations they oversee and the content they produce. The inaugural Lorraine Branham IDEA Award went to Brown Girls Doc Mafia. Previous recipients also include The 19th News and Amplifier.

Master of Ceremonies


CNN anchor and national correspondent Erica Hill will serve as master of ceremonies for the evening. An award-winning journalist and veteran of morning TV news , Hill most recently anchored HLN’s “On the Story with Erica Hill,” a daily, New York-based daytime news program. 

During her CNN tenure, Hill co-hosted six CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall specials for families about COVID-19, one of which earned the network’s first-ever Daytime Emmy Award nomination. Hill was also part of an NBC News team that won a Peabody Award in 2013. Two years later, the Alliance for Women in Media honored her with the Gracie Award for Outstanding Correspondent.

About the Mirror Awards

The Dressler and IDEA awards are the featured non-juried prizes at the annual Mirror Awards event. The ceremony will be held again this year at the Edison Ballroom in midtown Manhattan.

Established by the Newhouse School in 2006, the Mirror Awards honor the reporters, editors and teams of writers who hold a mirror to their own industry for the public’s benefit.

The competition is open to anyone who conducts reporting, commentary or criticism of the media industries in a format intended for a mass audience. Eligible work includes print, broadcast and online editorial content focusing on the development or distribution of news and entertainment. Winners are chosen by a group of journalists and journalism educators.

This post has been updated to add that Hill will serve as master of ceremonies. It was originally published April 16, 2024.

Newhouse School Announces Finalists in 2024 Mirror Awards Competition

Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications today announced the finalists in the 2024 Mirror Awards competition honoring excellence in media industry reporting. Winners will be announced June 13 at an awards ceremony in New York City.

The finalists, selected by a group of journalists and journalism educators, are:

Best Single Article/Story

Best Profile

Best Commentary

John M. Higgins Award for Best In-Depth/Enterprise Reporting

Special Topic Category 1 for 2024 – Best Story on Media Coverage of Artificial Intelligence in Journalism and the Media

Special Topic Category 2 for 2024 – Best Story on Media Coverage of the Israeli-Hamas Conflict

About the Mirror Awards

The Mirror Awards are the most important awards for recognizing excellence in media industry reporting. Established by the Newhouse School in 2006, the awards honor the reporters, editors and teams of writers who hold a mirror to their own industry for the public’s benefit. For information about the awards, visit or email  

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Mary Retta was the author of “The Hacker” in the Best Profile category. The author is Maddy Crowell. 

Remembering Dow Smith

This message was first sent to Newhouse faculty and staff.


I write again today to pay tribute to someone who many Newhouse alumni in broadcast journalism, faculty and staff knew well.

Dow Smith, a retired associate professor of broadcast journalism, passed away on April 2 in Albany. He was 83. While I never worked with Dow at Newhouse, he had a sterling reputation in broadcast circles as a newsroom leader, dedicated educator and as the author of a definitive textbook on producing TV news. I used and assigned his outstanding textbook, Power Producer, at both the University of Maryland and Arizona State University. His career as a producer, news director and TV station general manager included tenures in multiple markets around the country under multiple ownerships before joining the Newhouse School in 1995. 

Associate professor and former associate dean Dona Hayes describes Dow as a “fountain of broadcast journalism knowledge” who knew everyone in the business. In particular, Dow loved teaching news producing and spread his enthusiasm for behind-the-camera work to the scores of students he trained at Newhouse. A U.S. Navy veteran, Dow also served as director of the Military and Visual Journalism program. 

Recalls Dona: “Dow was also a special colleague because he cared about people. He and I shared artistic sons whom we often kibitzed about. He adored all of his children, grandchildren, his wife, Bonnie, the Sears catalogue house they settled in near Albany and fast British cars.” 

Dow retired from the Newhouse School in 2008 but left a lasting impression with the many students he mentored who went on to successful careers as broadcast journalists and news leaders. Here is part of a touching tribute from Kyle Grimes ’99, vice president for New England of Hearst Television and president and general manager of WCVB-TV in Boston:

“Dow was inimitable. Larger than life in stature and spirit. He developed the newscast producer program at Newhouse and added to the rich legacy of the school by creating yet one more attribute that differentiated Newhouse from its peers.”   

A private memorial service is planned for this summer. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked in his obituary for donations to be made to the Committee to Protect Journalists. On behalf of the Newhouse community, I want to extend our sincerest condolences to Dow’s family and friends. 


Newhouse Faculty Honored by University for Teaching Excellence 

Syracuse University recognized five Newhouse faculty members this spring with the following honors. We are immensely proud of their achievements, work and dedication to helping Newhouse students succeed.  

Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Student Experience and University Initiatives  

Charisse L’Pree Corsbie-Massay 
Associate Professor, Communications  

This Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence award is given to University faculty and staff who, through their work, have enhanced the undergraduate experience for students or made invaluable contributions to supporting and advancing the University’s mission and goals. 

The Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Teaching Recognition Award for Early Performance 


Kelly Leahy  
Assistant Professor, Television Radio and Film 

Milton Santiago  
Assistant Professor, Visual Communications 

The Teaching Recognition Award program recognize excellence in teaching among untenured faculty. These awards aim: 


The Judith Greenberg Seinfeld Award  

Rebecca Ortiz  
Associate Professor, Advertising 

The Seinfeld Scholar Award highlights excellence, creativity, and innovation and encourages future contributions to society. The program recognizes those faculty and students: 

Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award  

Headshot of Soo Hong

Soo Yeon Hong 
Associate Teaching Professor, Public Relations 
Graduate Program Director, Public Relations 

This award from the Graduate School honors faculty who have a significant, positive influence on graduate education through their commitment to superior graduate teaching, dedication to departmental and community presence and research initiatives.  

2024 Newhouse Community Awards

The Newhouse School recognized the work, scholarship, service and achievements of faculty and staff at the Newhouse Community Awards. The event took place April 5 in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium, concluding a week of faculty and staff appreciation celebrations.

Newhouse Community Awards

DEIA Award 

Distinguished Service Award

Keystone Award

The Keystone Award honors one Newhouse staff member who has demonstrated outstanding performance supporting a department, program or individual(s).

Positive Impact Award

Hidden Gem Award

The Hidden Gem Award honors a Newhouse staff member who is known for their commitment, reliability and consistent hard work “behind the scenes,” which enables their colleagues, the school and/or the university to shine.

Staff Member of the Year Award

Rising Star Award

The Rising Star Award recognizes the initiative, self-starter attitude, enthusiasm, energy and creativity of a staff member.

Teaching Excellence Awards (three categories)

Adjunct Teaching

Ongoing Performance

Early Performance

Creative Achievement Award

Newhouse Impact Award

Literary Achievement Award

Newhouse Professor Harriet Brown Selected as 2024-2025 Fulbright U.S. Scholar

Harriet Brown, a professor of magazine, news and digital journalism (MND) at the Newhouse School, has been chosen as a 2024-2025 Fulbright U.S. Scholar. She will take her Fulbright semester in Israel during spring 2025. 

Harriet Brown headshot

Brown’s Fulbright award is a combination teaching and research grant. During her time in Israel, she will teach a class at the University of Haifa and report on an ongoing project with photographer Lynn Johnson that looks at families who use cannabis to help their medically fragile children. Syracuse University Press has tentatively agreed to publish a book based on the reporting, Brown said. 

Brown cited one of the reasons she applied for the competitive fellowship was, that even before the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, “it was becoming less and less politically acceptable to be a Jewish American academic with connections to Israel. This is even more true now. I hope to build some bridges between Israeli and American academics and journalists.” 

The prestigious Fulbright Scholar Awards allow recipients to teach and lead research abroad, while also helping to play an essential role in U.S. public diplomacy by forming long-term relationships between people and countries.  

In announcing the award, the Fulbright program said they hope Syracuse University can use Brown’s engagement in Israel to establish research and relationships, interact with University alumni and more. 

Brown, also the MND graduate program director at Newhouse, has more than 30 years of experience as both a writer and editor for many national magazines, including The New York Times Magazine, O Magazine, Vogue, Psychology Today, Prevention and Parenting. 

In 2011, she was awarded the John F. Murray Award for Strategic Communication for the Public Good by the University of Iowa Journalism School. 

Brown has written several books, including “Shadow Daughter: A Memoir of Estrangement,” “Brave Girl Eating: A Family’s Struggle with Anorexia” and “Body of Truth: How Science, History, and Culture Drive Our Obsession with Weight—and What We Can Do About It.” 

Award-Winning Journalist Holliday Moore Named News Director of WAER

WAER has named award-winning reporter, anchor and journalism instructor Holliday Moore as the public radio station’s next news and public affairs director. She is scheduled to start in mid-April.  


Moore arrives in Syracuse after working in the Phoenix, Arizona, market, where her extensive experience includes tenures as a Morning Edition reporter for KJZZ-FM, the local NPR affiliate; producing, anchoring and reporting for KTAR News Radio; and serving as a political and senior reporter for KNXV-TV.  

Her distinguished résumé includes two Emmy Awards, three Edward R. Murrow Awards and a Walter Cronkite Political Excellence Award. She also worked for nine years as a journalism instructor at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism.  

At WAER, Moore will lead the station’s professional staff and oversee the mission of developing Newhouse School students aspiring to be broadcasters and journalists.  

Moore’s classroom experience gives her insight into ways to help students learn and grow, while producing content that can meet the professional standards of NPR and WAER, said station general manager Chris Bolt.  

Previous stops for Moore include newsrooms in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C. A graduate of Arizona State with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and marketing and management,  Moore also owns and operates a news media consulting business for regional news stations, businesses and nonprofits.

About WAER

WAER Syracuse Public Media is the public radio station licensed to Syracuse University and became part of the Newhouse School in 2021.  A listener-supported NPR affiliate, WAER has a mission to enlighten, entertain and engage the local community, while also providing professional development opportunities to students. WAER broadcasts at 88.3 FM and streams online at, through the WAER mobile app and on smart speakers.   

Weijia Jiang G’06, CBS News Senior White House Correspondent, to Give Keynote Speech at Newhouse Convocation Ceremony 

Weijia Jiang G’06, CBS News’ award-winning senior White House correspondent and a veteran Washington reporter, will deliver the keynote speech at the Newhouse School’s 2024 Convocation Ceremony

The celebration of the Class of 2024 will take place Saturday, May 11 at 12:30 p.m. in the JMA Wireless Dome. 

Weijia Jiang

Jiang, who graduated from Newhouse with a master’s degree in broadcast journalism, covers the White House across all CBS News platforms, including the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,” and the CBS News Streaming Network. In 2023, Jiang won an Emmy Award for her contributions to “CBS Mornings.”  

Last year, Jiang won an at-large seat on the White House Correspondents’ Association Board. She will be the first woman of color to serve as WHCA president when she assumes the role in 2025-2026. 

A White House correspondent since 2018, Jiang has covered the Biden and Trump administrations and major stories including the Trump impeachment proceedings, 2020 presidential campaign and the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.  

She has reported extensively on increased violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and resulting policy changes.  

Jiang joined CBS News in 2015 as a correspondent for Newspath, the network’s 24-hour television newsgathering service for CBS stations and broadcasters around the world. She also worked at WCBS-TV in New York City, WJZ-TV in Baltimore and WBOC-TV in Salisbury, Maryland, where she earned an Edward R. Murrow Award and an Associated Press award for feature reporting. 

Jiang worked for WBRE-TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania as a Washington-based reporter while she was a master’s student at Syracuse in 2006.  

A 2012 inductee into the Newhouse Professional Gallery and member of the Asian American Journalists Association, Jiang has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy with a minor in chemistry from the College of William and Mary.  

All graduating students and their families are invited to attend the Newhouse Convocation Ceremony. Syracuse University Commencement will be held Sunday, May 12. For the most current information about Commencement Weekend, visit

Message from Dean Lodato

Editor’s Note: The following message was initially sent to faculty and staff on March 27. It has been updated with a link to the obituary and details about the memorial service.

Dear Newhouse Faculty and Staff,

I write this evening with sad news. If you have not yet heard, John Philip Jones, an emeritus professor, longtime faculty member in the advertising department and influential voice in the field, died this past Saturday.  

I never met John, but I know from talking with people who did work with him about the impact that he left at the Newhouse School, his dedication to the advertising department—for which he also served as chair— and his illustrious career in Europe before joining Syracuse University.  

Jones spent a quarter-century at J. Walter Thompson, holding positions in London, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. He arrived at Syracuse in 1981, bringing a wealth of knowledge that would benefit the hundreds of students that he would go on to teach at Newhouse. 

Among his long list of accolades: In 1991, Jones was named by the American Advertising Federation as the Distinguished Advertising Educator of the Year. That same year, he became a member of the Council of Judges of the Advertising Hall of Fame. In 1996, he was honored by Cowles Business Media and the American Association of Advertising Agencies for leadership in the media field. And in 2001, he received the Syracuse University Chancellor’s Citation for Exceptional Academic Achievement. 

Jones was also a prolific author, having written about 18 books. His work has been translated into German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, Turkish and Arabic. 

Needless to say, we were fortunate to have his expertise at the Newhouse School. On behalf of the Newhouse community, I extend deepest condolences to John’s family and friends. 

Information on contributions in John’s memory can be found in his obituary. A memorial service has been scheduled for April 30 at 10 a.m., at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in downtown Syracuse. 


Dean Lodato

Winners of 2024 Toner Prizes for Excellence in Political Reporting Announced by Newhouse School

The Toner Program was established at the Newhouse School in 2009 to celebrate the life and work of late alumna Robin Toner ’76, the first woman to serve as national political correspondent for The New York Times.

The Washington Post won the 2024 Toner Prize for national political reporting for a series of stories that probed the impact of ideological disagreements on a thriving Michigan county.

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s coverage of the city’s mayoral election earned the 2024 Toner Prize for local political reporting.

The winners of the annual Toner Prizes for Excellence in Political Reporting were announced by Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications during a ceremony Monday night in Washington, D.C. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper delivered the keynote address.

THE CITY, an independent nonprofit newsroom that covers New York City, took an honorable mention for local political reporting.

Finalists for each category were announced earlier this month.

The judges were:

Toner Prize for Excellence in National Political Reporting

Winner: The Washington Post
Reporters: Greg Jaffe and Patrick Marley
Entry: “Ottawa County”

Judges’ Comments

“This is a superb example of a microscopic examination of a growing national infection and its lessons to the nation as the drama unfolded. It fits the Toner criteria as ‘fact-based reporting; illuminates the electoral process, with a special focus on coverage of candidates, campaigns or elections … [and] reveals the politics of policy.’” – Compton

“Very strong look at changes in a small Michigan county with lots of Americans who seem very disappointed by the way their lives and the place they live [have] been going.” – Treaster

“This also was an incredibly well-done project. The narrative style was truly exceptional and in order to [do] that you need to do exceptional reporting. If I could give another [five] to this entry, I would.” – Rodriguez

Toner Prize for Excellence in Local Political Reporting

Winner: The Philadelphia Inquirer
Reporters: Anna Orso, Sean Walsh, Julia Terruso, Aseem Shukla and Layla Jones
Entry: “The race for Philadelphia’s 100th mayor”

Judges’ Comments

“This is the whole package—a richly reported political series, giving readers a thorough look at the choices for mayor. … The issues are there, the city’s voting demographics, the voices of voters and officials, and profiles of the candidates. And, so importantly, explained to the readers why Parker won. Very well done.” – Schwartz

“The best part of this series of stories is the voter data piece that breaks down the city’s demographics. It provides a roadmap of how Philly residents vote and adds critical context to all of the stories in the series. Very compelling, and very well done.” – Kirk

Toner Prize for Excellence in Local Political Reporting Honorable Mention

Reporters: George Joseph, Bianca Pallaro, Haidee Chu, Tom Robbins, Yoav Gonen, April Xu (Documented) and Katie Honan
Entry: “Straw Donors, Ethics Violations Plague Eric Adams Campaign Fundraising Efforts”

Judges’ Comments

“Dogged work connecting the dots and exposing the potential breadth of a problem a federal indictment first put into focus. Illumination of how [a] public matching funds program may now be abused and exploited, raising the stakes for candidates, their campaigns and the electoral process.” – Dwyer

“Wow. This is insane. Each of the stories breaks new ground and is vividly written. The reporting is detailed, with each major claim backed up. It also has a clear impact on the city.” – Bellantoni


About the Toner Prizes

Established in 2009, the Toner Prizes recognize and reinforce quality, fact-based political reporting—work that illuminates the electoral process, reveals the politics of policy and engages the public in democracy. The awards, along with the Robin Toner Program in Political Reporting at the Newhouse School, are named after Robin Toner ’76, the first woman to serve as national political correspondent of The New York Times.