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Faculty Spotlight: Stephanie Siek

Returning to Hunter this Spring 2024 as a News Literacy in a Digital Age professor, Stephanie Siek is excited to work with students again. Siek was last on faculty at Hunter in 2021, when she taught Reporting and Writing 1. 

Like everyone on the journalism faculty, Siek took her own unique path to Hunter. She became interested in journalism in high school, when she was a member of the Model UN and student newspaper staff. She was also part of a youth-focused radio program, which helped her to discover her fondness for interviewing people.

“I thought it was just so cool that you could call somebody up, who you thought was fascinating, and ask them a bunch of questions and that they would just answer them,” said Siek.

Siek attended Ohio University and enrolled in a journalism study abroad program, traveling between the Netherlands and Denmark. Through this, she became interested in international news and developed an “appetite” for various cultures, as she puts it.

Early in her career, Siek says she was often underestimated by interviewees and peers alike. She was young, Black, and didn’t come from a well-known university or family. Siek used their diffidence to her advantage. 

“They would say something, [and] it would end up in the paper the next day,” she says. “And I would connect all the dots that they thought I didn’t know how to connect… After a while it became my superpower.” 

Siek recalls one of her articles that went viral in 2021, when she highlighted the role that Tina Bell, lead singer of the band Bam Bam, played in establishing the Seattle grunge scene of the 1980s and early ‘90s, inspiring bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam.

Siek first visited Hunter in 2019, when her friend Coralie Carlson, who has taught in Hunter’s journalism program for several years, invited Siek as a guest speaker. Two years later, Siek was hired to teach Reporting and Writing 1. She is now one of six professors teaching News Literacy in a Digital Age, a course that has grown significantly in recent years and satisfies the same general education requirement as English 220. 

Since 2022, Siek has been an editor at Marketplace, a National Public Radio program covering economic and financial news with a focus on informing everyone, she says, not just “the investor class.” 

As for her role in the classroom, Siek hopes to impart the values of remaining humble and dedicated to truth. “One of the things that we teach in News Literacy is that a good journalist […] takes accountability when they make a mistake,” she says. 

To err is human, after all, and nothing is more human than the importance of a well-told true story.

Our Journalism Concentration & Minor

The Hunter College journalism program is offered as a concentration or a minor within the Department of Film & Media Studies. Its curriculum is built around production courses in journalism and analytical courses in media studies. Learn more about our course requirements.

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