Gambling, gay marriage and the Excelsior Scholarship: New reporting by recent journalism alumni

The Department of Digital Media & Journalism’s capstone model helps many students build a portfolio of publishable reporting and/or multimedia work before graduation. It’s not uncommon for New Paltz students to make connections in newsrooms and place stories before or just after earning their degrees.

In this post, we’re sharing work from three recent New Paltz graduates who published extensive, investigative pieces on high-profile issues in New York State this month.

“It’s just this kind of effort that we strive for not just from our students, but in faculty relationship building in Digital Media & Journalism to a broad number of outlets, so students can envision their work not just as class-focused, but to cement a pathway to a career in media,” said Michael Frank, adjunct faculty member and freelance writer for multiple local and national outlets. “I’m thrilled this important reporting is hitting a wider audience.”

Learn more here about the Department of Digital Media & Journalism at SUNY New Paltz.


Tuition-free Excelsior Scholarship doesn’t mean debt-free” – Megan Wilson ’21 (Journalism)
Times Union, June 3, 2021

Wilson focused on the New York State Excelsior Scholarship as the subject of her capstone reporting project during her senior year at New Paltz.

She brought the story to Albany’s Times Union – one of the leading dailies in upstate New York, and a leader in reporting on state politics and legislation – and continued to work with editors there after graduation to get this comprehensive, 2,500+ word deep-dive published.


Experts predict more revenue, and more problem gamblers, when mobile sportsbook launches – Nick Porpora ’21 (Journalism)
Legislative Gazette, June 3, 2021

SUNY New Paltz is in the DNA of the Legislative Gazette, which has covered New York State government for more than four decades. Student journalists earn credits as interns at this nonprofit, non-partisan publication, developing their skills as reporters and working on issues that matter.

Porpora produced this feature-length piece, which weighs gambling legalization against the costs of addiction, as part of that internship, and continued working the story post-graduation to get it ready for publication.


The New Paltz mayor who married gay couples before it was legal– Cloey Callahan ’20 (Journalism)
Times Union, June 3, 2021

Callahan’s story is a little different, as she published this bit of New Paltz history in her role as News Editor at the Albany paper. She got the staff position at the Times Union after earning her journalism degree last year, and has been prolific, publishing multiple stories per week on the paper’s website.

In this Pride Month retrospective, Callahan revisits a moment that some New Paltz residents likely still remember: Former Mayor Jason West’s mass wedding ceremony for about 25 couples, which took place years before gay marriage was legalized in New York.