As the spring semester draws to a close, so do Marc Rosenweig’s days here as an associate professor of television and digital media at Montclair State University.
While he’s only been a part of the Red Hawk community for ten years, he brought with him 30 years of experience in professional journalism. From reporting in Miami, to producing in Detroit and New York, Rosenweig was able to launch a promising career, and he has a lot to show for it.
The six New York Emmy Awards that he won from his work at YES Network sit on top of a cabinet in his office. Hanging on the wall is The George Polk Award from his time at “Inside Edition” and next to it is a photograph with the 2016 DuMont Broadcast Award recipient, Lester Holt.
With one leg crossed over the other, Rosenweig calmly and humbly sat at his desk and recalled when the School of Communication and Media was established at Montclair State five years ago.
“When I first got here, we were the department of broadcasting working out of the DuMont Television Center,” said Rosenweig. “[We had] a very solid program, but over the last five years we have had the opportunity to expand it further, to make it into television and digital media, and to make our students as versatile as possible.”
Rosenweig, who grew up in New Rochelle, N.Y., was brought up during a time when newspapers, television and radio news programs were the predominant way for people to know what was happening in the world.
Although he considers the internet and the ease in which information is gathered one of the biggest changes in journalism, he seemed rather disappointed that more people don’t takes advantage of this.
“What I don’t understand today is students who are journalism majors who don’t know what’s going on every day,” said Rosenweig. “It’s a lot easier than when I started to keep track of what’s going on,” he added, pointing to news apps that alert people of key headlines.
When asked about the changes he’s seen at Montclair State, Rosenweig talked about how there’s more of an effort to teach students the importance of versatility. He said there’s a need now more than ever for talented people who can not only report, shoot and edit, but those who can also accurately communicate important news of the day.
“It’s like what Lester Holt from NBC News said when he was here in December,” recalled Rosenweig. “He said to students: ‘You want to be the Swiss army knife for the news room,’ meaning, you want to be as versatile as you can and you’ll be in demand.
“And that’s the way we approach teaching our students—getting them as much background in as many areas as possible, and also encouraging them to take meaningful internships where they learn about the media industry in the real world.”
During his time here, Rosenweig wasn’t only a professor. Since 2008, he’s managed the Allen D. DuMont broadcaster of the year award, and he also served as the faculty advisor for The Montclarion.
Former news editor for The Montclarion and alumni Tanja Rehki is currently an on-air reporter for WLOS in North Carolina. Not only was Rosenweig her advisor at the newspaper, but he also became her academic advisor when she decided to add broadcasting as her second major.
“[Rosenweig] helped me when I was in school, and once I graduated, he put me in touch with alumni,” said Rehki. “He would always reach out to me to see how the job search was going.”
Rehki remembered Rosenweig as being a fantastic professor and credits him for helping her land internships at “WABC” and “New York 1.” Even in her current position, Rehki appreciates the help received from her former professor along the way.
Kristen Bunk is also an alumni and former student of Rosenweig’s. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s in communication studies and said that the media management course, which she took with Rosenweig, was “probably [her] favorite class.”
“[Rosenweig] was real,” recalled Bunk. “He treated all of his students as adults and he offered so much to us without us even knowing it.”
Bunk, who is now an assistant for “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” said that the biggest takeaway she got from taking media management was learning how to problem solve and strategize. After finding these skills useful in her current position, Bunk was eager to share with her former professor how much he has taught her, and reached out to Rosenweig via email a few weeks ago.
“I wanted him to come see what I am doing and he was like, ‘You need to come talk to my students,’” said Bunk. “He was putting his students first, instead of himself.”
Bunk recalled having guest speakers from across the industry visit the class and said that speaking to students who are now in the seats that she once sat in “was quite possibly the highlight of the past couple of months.”
Not only did Rosenweig occasionally invite former students back to guest lecture his classes, but he also brought friends in to speak as well.
Mark Effron, a clinical specialist in the School of Communication and Media, said he’s known Rosenweig since the 70s when they were classmates in the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.
“Marc brought me in [as a guest speaker] over the years to various classes that he taught, and I’ve watched his connection with his students,” said Effron. “Marc really understands on a critical core level that, while his experiences give him insight and wisdom, it’s really about the students, it’s really about the learning.”
Over the years the two have gone from classmates, to friends, to colleagues and recently, they’ve grown even closer when Effron joined Montclair State faculty full time one year ago.
“Marc really has been my mentor,” said Effron. “Even though we’re about the same age and we’re colleagues and have had very similar careers, when it comes to teaching, I’m the student and Marc is the teacher.”
According to Effron, Rosenweig was instrumental in building the program in the School of Communication and Media and the school will be weaker without him.
In terms of what has stayed the same in the field of journalism, Rosenweig said that basic journalism hasn’t changed.
“Writing, reporting and interviewing—we have more tools to do it but the basics are still the same,” said Rosenweig, adding that ethical standards also remain the same.
“The need for ethics and integrity, more so now than ever, but it’s always been an important thing,” said Rosenweig. “To be able to be a reliable source of news as a reporter and producer, to not have conflicts of interest that affect what stories you do and how you deliver them and so on. These are constants since I started but they’re more critical than ever today because of getting so much false information through the internet.”
Although he will no longer be a full time professor, he said that he intends on remaining a friend of the school and plans to come back occasionally to possibly guest lecture and support some of the events. After retiring, Rosenweig also plans to do some writing for television, visit his alma maters Ohio and Columbia Universities, and travel with his wife Lila, who is an adjunct professor in the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State.
They hope to visit their sons who live in the Boston area. Jeremy is an aerospace engineer, and Aaron works in accounts payable. When asked why his sons didn’t go into journalism, Rosenweig shared a joke that he often says when faced with the same question: “I guess they heard too many stories about the newsroom at the dinner table and decided to go in a different direction.”
Anthony Gabbianelli, a sophomore journalism student currently taking writing/reporting for TV/radio with Rosenweig, said that the soon-to-be former professor is enthusiastic about everyone doing better. He recalled the beginning of the semester when he had trouble writing television style scripts.
“I was like, ‘This isn’t really for me,’ and [Rosenweig] kind of pulled me aside and was like, ‘Look, you’re not really doing well in your work, but you have potential to do better,’” said Gabbianelli, adding that his writing in the class has improved ever since.
Needless to say, Rosenweig knows that he’ll miss the students the most.
“I think it’s definitely working with students, sharing information with them and seeing them use it in the communication industry and become successful,” said Rosenweig. “But they’re the ones that do it. We provide the information to them and it’s up to each individual student to use it, and many of them have, and that gives me great satisfaction as a professor.”