As a self-proclaimed evangelist for writing, Professor Polly Leider finds writing to be an indispensable survival skill.
Leider knew early on that she wanted to pursue journalism. As an undergraduate at Columbia University, Leider landed her first internship at the BBC. She remembers walking into the newsroom and feeling the buzz and excitement. From there, she worked at the Center for Investigative Reporting and that led to her first TV job at CNN.
“What I realized is that every day was going to be different. That the dynamic nature of the work was just going to keep me engaged forever,” Leider recalled.
Now, Leider works as a producer at CBS with a reporter to tell breaking news stories. In addition, she works on longer term projects where she pitches story ideas, sets up and conducts interviews and writes the scripts. “I think of writing as really kind of the backbone of my work, I write and I write and I write,” she said.
Divulging that she always believed that teaching would be the next step in her career, Leider is excited to join Hunter as a new professor of MEDIA 211: News Literacy in A Digital Age. As a first-time professor, she finds that her own passion for journalism is reawakened daily.
“I feel like it’s just such a critical and important part of society and democracy,” said Leider. “And so it’s really great to be talking about it to the students and feeling that passion come to life.”
Leider believes that News Literacy is an urgent life skill, especially for younger generations who are facing information overload. While she keeps her social media intake to a minimum, she acknowledges that for students “it’s just not an option.” Her hope is to help share strategies for critical thinking and tools for finding reliable news sources.
“It’s certainly an area that has changed a lot since I got into the business,” said Leider. “There were just fewer news sources; they made mistakes, but you didn’t really have to worry about bad intentions.”