About Victoria Edwards

I'm a New York transplant by way of Michigan and Miami. I am excited to experience and write about this amazing city. I love to explore, find cheap happy hours, read and run. I'm always looking for my next adventure.

Former New York Times editor combines journalism and teaching English in new book

Almost a decade ago, Diane Nottle made a career change: her employer, The New York Times,  was looking to reduce staff, and she took a buyout offer. She had already trained for a second career as a teacher of English to speakers of other languages, Now she has transformed her teaching career by using her journalism experience to specialize in teaching English for the media.

She has taught English and journalism in Poland, China and Canada, but her home base is the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, where she coaches international students. In November, CUNY Journalism Press published her book “American English for World Media.” The CUNY Journalism Press (CJP) sat down to talk to Nottle about her experience teaching, what this unique book offers as a resource and how other journalists can transition into second careers.

CJP: If you see three things that your book does a better job of addressing than other resources out there, what would they be?

DN: Some other books meant to teach English to foreign journalists were too stuffy. It’s the old-fashioned English-teacher language. I try to be really reader-friendly and not to takes things too seriously when approaching students person to person. I like to work with people as if we were in a professional newsroom — which we practically are — and talk to them the way their editors would talk to them.

What I wanted to do in my blog (“English for Journalists,” taken from Nottle’s experience at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism coaching international students) was to explain these grammar points that people have trouble with without scaring them off. Because with writing – and I’ve had this experience myself — bad teachers, people who are too pompous and too prescriptive about things, really scare people off from writing by trying to overcorrect them. That’s one reason writers get blocked — and journalists can’t afford to be blocked because we have to do things quickly and on deadline. So one of the things I think this does better is, it takes a less serious, more friendly – I hope it’s friendly — approach to grammar and the English language.

Whenever I’m meeting with a new student, I say, “I’m trying not to take this too seriously. I hope we’re going to have fun, and I hope we’re going to laugh when we do this. I don’t want this to be scary.” When you’ve got an international student coming from another country to New York – which is a scary enough prospect — to do graduate school in a foreign language, first of all, it’s really brave. Second, it’s really scary. They’ve got enough to worry about.

When I explain the history of how the English language developed, and why that makes it such a difficult language, that’s storytelling. We also have chapters that are glossaries; we have chapters that are step by step. We have one chapter called “Working in English” that tells people things like how you set up an interview, how you write a pitch. People from some cultures aren’t used to working on very strict timetables like Americans. So there are chapters that give advice like that.

These are some of the things that make this book different. And of course 90 percent of it is based on what we do at CUNY. It’s based on my blog, which is based on student work. It’s based on my meetings with students. It’s based on how classes are conceived and taught at CUNY. So it’s not just my book; I feel very strongly it belongs to the whole school.

CJP: I love your blog. It’s great it helps me – I’m not an international student but I still feel there are things…

DN: And that’s a really important point. We feel that both the blog and the book should not be just for international students, international journalists. Both cover a lot of grammar points that journalists may or may not have been taught. (CUNY Journalism writing coach) Deb Stead and I are very old-school; when we were coming up in elementary school and high school, grammar and vocabulary were considered very important. English is not taught the same way these days. Teachers say, “Be creative. Express yourself.” And there’s something to be said for that; you know, English teachers who focus too much on what’s correct really stifle a lot of people and make them uncomfortable with writing and expressing themselves. We find that younger journalists and students weren’t taught the same way; therefore they don’t know these grammar points. In the book, I try to bring them up to speed on some of these grammar points. 

CJP: What are the top three common mistakes that you see?

DN: There’s a very long chapter on the 20 most common problems I see in writing – it’s Chapter 10. Those are the grammatical issues, really. Idiom is huge for international journalists because idiom is so much a part of the English, especially the American language. It’s important because you have to understand idioms when you’re doing an interview. If someone says something and you know all the words but have no idea what they mean together, that’s an example. If you’re going to use an idiom – as a speaker or a writer — you have to get it exactly right, or you’ll confuse the native speakers in your audience or make them laugh.

Register is also really important. That’s knowing when you need to use more formal verses less formal language. When, in your writing, it’s appropriate to use slang. When it may be appropriate to use curse words or obscenities – which even The New Yorker will publish now. Word choice is very important, and what that boils down to is building vocabulary. There’s a big chunk of the book on how to build vocabulary – partly by reading, by listening– but also I talk about building word families using and recognizing roots of words that can help you build up your vocabulary. As macro things, those are maybe three of the most important, and the chapter on the top 20 trouble spots is really more focused on very specific grammar points.

CJP: Do you see people using the book and the blog together?

DN: I hadn’t thought about that. Yes, I think they can because much of the book– though less than I expected — is based on the blog. I finished the book around this time last year, and since I was teaching in China then, I hadn’t written in the blog for a year. So parts of the blog that are in the book are two years old now. And since then I’ve been back to CUNY and I’m been blogging again. The blog always has new things that come out of the student writing.


When I’m going through a story with a student and something addresses a grammar point, I say “OK, I’m going to harvest that sentence,” and I put it aside in a special file for for when I’m ready to write about that. When I see students having the same problems, that’s when a blog post comes to mind on a particular subject. And also sometimes students will ask questions, and it’s a really good point that everybody should know about. One of our students from South America, Carlos Serrano, asked me a couple of questions this past semester that led to blog posts, and they were very good questions.


CJP: What do you hope it would accomplish, if you’re able to do everything you’re setting out? What is that you want international students or young journalists to get out of this?

DN: I want them to become more comfortable and confident when they need to work in English. And many of them, as they start and go on in their careers, will be working with the English language media. So you want them to be comfortable. It’s not that they’re not going to make mistakes; of course they’re going to make mistakes! That’s why there are editors. But I want to demystify the language for them. And especially the media terms. Every profession has its own jargon. We have our jargon; part of the fun of being a journalist is, you can throw words out and show you belong to this fraternity. I really want to help them make their English better.

Say you’re an editor of an English-language publication of any kind, and you’re getting queries from a new freelancer. And you think, ”You know, this is a good idea, but this pitch, I don’t know. The writing isn’t that good.” What it boils down to is, is this story and this reporter going to be more trouble to work with than the story is worth? If we can help reporters bring communication skills up to a good enough level that’s going to help them in the beginning – pursuing their careers, making contacts, really building working relationships with the media.


I know from my experience as an editor, if someone is too difficult to edit – for whatever reason, either attitude or writing — we tend not to use that person. Even with professional, native-speaker reporters, some people are really good reporters and not great writers. Some people are better using language than they are at reporting – I’m in the latter quality. I’m much more of an editor personality than a reporter personality. Even at, The New York Times, I could think of two veteran reporters people said weren’t great writers, but they were really good at cultivating sources and getting facts and we (the editors) could fix that (the writing). What I want to do with this book is reach these journalists all over the world who have ambition to work with English-language publications; and that contributes to the diversity of both viewpoint and coverage in our media. And bring them up to the level where our busy, overstressed editors feel that they can work productively with them. That’s the win-win.

CJP: What advice do you have for journalists looking to transition into teaching?

DN: I’d make a firm assessment of your skills and how they would translate. I would say get teacher training. One thing I learned from my experience: my training program was in teaching English, but you can use those same techniques to teach anything. I was assigned to teach a course in English-speaking cultures. It was about the US, UK, Canada and Australia. I thought, “I’ve lived there. I can do that.” As a career-changer, make the most of your professional background — and if you have a specialty, market yourself as a specialist in that. Also, especially for older people, if you’re a career-changer in your 40s or 50s, chances are you are not going to be offered a full-time teaching job in a school or university. Age discrimination does exist; even in a country where it’s illegal, of course it exists. You may have to create your own job, which is pretty much what I’ve done. It’s taken me a while. I left The Times nine years ago this spring. There were maybe two or three years when I just decompressed and didn’t throw myself into it all that seriously, and now I have. And the thing I always say when I’m asked to speak is, when I started my training in 2005, 2006, I could never have imagined the things I’m doing today. I didn’t see CUNY down the road. I didn’t see writing a book down the road. I did see traveling abroad. I didn’t see making a specialty out of English for the media; that all just kind of happened. But when it did happen, it was very natural.

ESL Writing Coach Tackles Common Crime Reporting Errors


In her latest blog post, Diane Nottle, a writing coach for international students at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism, tackles the subtleties in reporting crime stories. Nottle highlights the imprecise language used in a student’s crime lede, below:

“On Wednesday at 1 p.m. police captured a man who allegedly stole in a shop in SoHo. The man was running on Prince Street near the subway stop when policemen started to run after him until he finally chased at corner of Prince Street and Mercer Street.”

Nottle highlights the verb “stole” because it’s a verb not a legal charge. She also removes the word “allegedly” because she writes, “it’s a meaningless word used to shift the accusation,” – a claim that the police, NOT the journalist, should be making in the first place. Nottle re-writes two variations of the student’s lede, below:

A man suspected of robbing a shop in SoHo was arrested early Wednesday afternoon after police officers chased him along Prince Street. 

Or, in active voice:

Police arrested a man suspected of robbing a shop in SoHo early Wednesday afternoon after chasing him along Prince Street.

 To see the blog entry in its entirety and learn the difference between robbery, burglary, larceny and theft – and how to write about them correctly – check out Nottle’s full blog post, here.

For a deep dive into the world of reporting, grammar and writing stateside, order Nottle’s book “American English for World Media,” available here.

CUNY J-Press Author, Andy Carvin, On Keynote Panel For Digital Media Conference

Reported.ly, a unique newswire that uses social media platforms for real-time news reporting, will be featured for the closing keynote at this year’s 2016 Online News Association Conference, a meet-up of the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists. As the newswire will close in August, the keynote panel will focus on its formation and next steps while it parts ways with First Look Media.

Reported.ly’s Editor-In-Chief Andy Carvin will speak on the panel along with other key members of reported.ly’s staff. Carvin made news when, as an NPR correspondent, he live tweeted the Arab Spring Revolution. He later wrote about his experience in the book Distant Witness, published by the CUNY Journalism Press. To order the book, click here. To read more about the conference and register, click here.

“Dying Words” Named One Of Best LGBTQ Nonfiction Books of 2016

The Bay Reporter named “Dying Words” one of its top 10 LGBTQ pieces of nonfiction for 2016. The nonfiction book, written by Samuel G. Freedman and Kerry Donahue, chronicles how New York Times journalist Jeff Schmalz helped the paper transform its LGBTQ and AIDS coverage.

Schmalz was closeted as he advanced as a journalist at the Times, but collapsed with an AIDS related seizure in 1990. He returned to the Times to cover AIDS and bring a national limelight to the epidemic and LGBTQ issues. The book was published by CUNY’s Journalism press. Get your copy here.


CUNY Journalism Professor Leads Fight Against Fake News

Copyright Eirik Solheim www.eirikso.com

Copyright Eirik Solheim www.eirikso.com

In the article “A Call For Cooperation Against Fake News” CUNY Graduate School for Journalism Professor Jeff Jarvis and Internet Startup Investor John Borthwick outline a list of strategies to stop the proliferation of fake news via popular social media platforms.

The two introduce strategies to better vet information on social media like tweaking the Facebook platform to make it easier for users to flag down fake news. They also suggest creating and expanding systems to verify sources and even send metadata to the social media platforms about fact checking and reporting.

But the strategies don’t stop at vetting fake news, Jarvis and Borthwick are also concerned about the need for citizens to receive diverse information, so their social media doesn’t turn into an echo chamber.

They suggest Facebook develop a system where users can opt into receiving information that differs from the political viewpoint. To add suggestions to how social media platforms can do a better job of verifying and curating information, click here.

Journalism Professor Proposes Media Strategy of Empathy to Rebuild After Volatile Election

With the presidential electionempathy-dogs nightmare almost at an end – CUNY Graduate School of Journalism Professor Jeff Jarvis’ latest blog entry “Empathetic Journalism For The Right,” proposes a new strategy for the mainstream media to connect with the approximately 40 million white angry alienated male voters, whose frustrations have propelled Trump onto the national scene.

Jarvis’ new strategy is a four pronged approached that instructs mainstream media outlets to re-engage with Trump’s base of poor, underemployed white men by doing the following: reporting on their relevant social issues, investing in responsible conservative media – to serve as an alternative to far right divisive machines like Fox News and Breitbart, pooling resources to serve this community by creating open job databases along with needed skills and acting as a needed conduit to connect different, previously alienated communities across class and racial lines. By following this strategy, Jarvis says the media can help the country recover from an election marred by divisiveness and anger.

Jarvis is a leader in journalism who has written several books about its changing business model, including Geeks Bearing Gifts, about the future of the news media. To order the book, click here.

Penn State Recognizes Alumna Diane Nottle For Recently Released Book

nottlePenn State recently featured their alumna Diane Nottle’s book “American English for World Media: The CUNY Journalism School Guide to Writing and Speaking for Professionals,” on its website.

Nottle, who is a 1975 Penn graduate, wrote the book mostly for non-native international journalists who will be writing in a primarily English-speaking environment. The book touches on media idioms and expressions, while also diving into pronunciation and grammar.

In addition to international journalists, Nottle said the book could also be used to help anyone who needs to use English professionally to advance in their career, including students.

After graduating in 1975, Nottle spent the next 30 years as an editor in print media; this includes over 20 years spent as an Arts editor for the New York Times. After parting ways with the Times in 2008, she has started teaching English and journalism at home and abroad.

Since 2012, she has worked as a second language coach to international students at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Journalism. This book is being published by the CUNY Journalism Press.

Nottle has a long history of journalism dating back to her time at Penn State: There she was the editor of the Daily Collegian.

To see Penn State’s coverage of Nottle, click here.
To order your copy of the book, click here.



New Media Leader Calls For Transformation of Republican Party

US Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton arrives October 9, 2016 at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri where she will take part in the second televised debate against her Republican rival Donald Trump at Washington University. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY        (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Photo credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

In his latest column, “How Trump Could Delegitimize Clinton’s Presidency,” CUNY Journalism Professor Jeff Jarvis, laments that the party that put Trump into power needs to be transformed for a healthy democracy to move forward.

Jarvis said that Trump and his party have displayed continual ignorance and hatred, which, in trying to appear balanced, the media has normalized by grazing over Trump’s grave infractions while building up Clinton’s minor ones, to give the election a sense of conflict and suspense.

Jarvis argues that with Trump the party has crossed a point of no return, and needs to rebuild itself from the ground up to create a true conservative party that represents the interests of a diverse base. To read the article, click here. 

Jarvis is a leader in journalism who has written several books about its changing business model, including Geeks Bearing Gifts, about the future of the news media. To order the book, click here.

Upcoming Writers Panel Explores Reporting On The Past

journalisteventDo you have a passion for history and writing? Are you looking to combine the two? If so, check out the free panel “Second Draft: From History to Narrative Nonfiction, Journalists on Reporting the Past.” The event will be held from 6:30 pm-9 pm on November 17, 2016 at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism, located in midtown at 219 W. 40th Street. It will feature experienced journalists and authors discussing the challenges and earning opportunities of writers reporting on history. If you’re interested in attending the event, RSVP here. The panel speakers featured are below:

 Paul Moses, a longtime New York City newspaper reporter who is now a Brooklyn College journalism professor, will talk about his award-winning books The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi’s Mission of Peace(Doubleday 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York’s Irish and Italians (NYU Press 2015).

Eileen Markey, a freelance journalist, will discuss her new book is A Radical Faith: The Assassination of Sister Maura (Nation Books 2016), about of the nuns murdered by US-backed militia in El Salvador in 1980. Her journalism has been published in The New York Times, City Limits, The New York Daily News, New York Magazine, The Village Voice, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday and elsewhere.

 Barbara Gray, formerly the chief editorial librarian at the New York Times and now head of the Research Center and research education for reporters at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, will go over her research strategies and tools she using in her book-in-progress about America’s most notorious woman criminal in the late 19th century.

Cara Bedick, a senior editor at Touchstone, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, will speak to the editorial process with emphasis on narrative nonfiction, including Run the World: My 3,500-Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the Globe by Becky Wade (William Morrow 2016) and the upcoming Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome (William Morrow 2017).

The moderator will be freelance writer, author and editor Tim Harper, who is a professor and writing coach at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, and editor of the CUNY Journalism Press. His 12 books include Moscow Madness, about Americans doing business in Russia in the 1990s.

Interested in attending? RSVP here. 

CUNY Event Explored Marketable Skills In Audience Engagement

Credit: CUNY Social Journalism Blog

Credit: CUNY Social Journalism Blog

CUNY Graduate School of Journalism Professor Jeff Jarvis led a group of media thought leaders in brainstorming the most in-demand skills for audience engagement, at the university last week.

During the brainstorming session, participants identified the skills below, many of which were analytical, as being most necessary for recent journalism graduates to succeed with audience engagement in the newsroom:

  • Resilience
  • Ability to show progress towards a goal
  • Need to know how to create a process for something to tell if an experiment worked

Jarvis is director of the Tow Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism. He’s a prominent leader in the field of journalism and author of the book, “Geeks Bearing Gifts,” a CUNY J-Press book about the future of the news media. To read the original blog entry, click here. 



ESL Coach Offers Grammar Tips To Foreign Journalists

nottleAs an ESL coach at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism, Diane Nottle has made it her focus to help international journalists master reporting and writing. Her latest ESL blog entry, tackles the importance of using possessives to shorten and clarify writing.

Nottle writes real world examples of clunky sentences from her students, to model how replacing certain words with possessives can tighten and clean up the writing. To view her blog, click here.

If you are an international journalist looking for more writing tips, check out her block, here. For more in-depth writing assistance, for non-native reporters, check out Nottle’s soon to be released book, American English For World Media, which is being being published through CUNY’s Journalism Press. Nottle is a former editor with the New York Times, who has taught English abroad in different countries including China and Poland.

First Look Media Pulls the Plug On Social First Journalism Model

Credit: Image by scyther5 on Shutterstock

Credit: Image by scyther5 on Shutterstock

It should come as no surprise that Andy Carvin, who live tweeted the Arab Spring revolution, would be the one to pioneer a social medium platform focused on real time reporting and live fact checking.

The social media news wire reported.ly launched last January. It mostly published on Facebook and Twitter, although it also posted to a lesser extent on Instagram and Reddit.

Reported.ly published international stories like the Charlie Hebdo shooting less than two days after it occurred.

But in August, reported.ly’s financial backer First Look Media announced that they were pulling the plug and would no longer fund the news wire. Carvin said he is looking at a way to keep the project going.

He shared some takeaways from the experience during a ONA conference in Denver, saying it was best for them to publish on Twitter, because of its fast news sharing capabilities – whereas Facebook with its algorithm was much slower. He also said reported.ly’s journalists valued empathy when covering tragedies and interacting with their sources. To read the entire story originally reported on the blog journalism.co.uk, click here

Carvin is a former NPR senior producer. He documented his work live tweeting the Arab Spring in his book Distant Witness, published by CUNY Journalism’s Publishing Press; for more info on the book and to order it, click here.

Illustrated Courtroom Artist Sketches Jury Selection For “Bridgegate”

1-bridgegate-jury-selectionCourtroom artist Aggie Kenny is covering jury selection for two former aides to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who are being accused of creating a traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge in a 2013 scandal known as “Bridegate.”

Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Baroni,, Christie’s appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, are charged with fraud for allegedly closing traffic lanes as revenge against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, who didn’t endorse Christie’s re-election bid. To see the original article, click here.

Kenny’s sketches are also featured in the book “The Illustrated Courtroom,” which highlights high profile court cases including OJ Simpson, Charles Mason and many more. To check out the book, click here.

After Facebook Censorship Controversy, Journalism Professor Suggests Facebook Get Editor-In-Chief


Facebook briefly banned this iconic photo of the “Napalm Girl,” by Nick Ut, in 1972. The photo won the Pulitzer prize.

After initially censoring the iconic “Napalm Girl” photo from the Vietnam war, Facebook reversed itself and will allow users to post image.

The photo, by AP photographer Nick Ut, shows a naked girl fleeing a napalm attack.

Espen Egil Hansen, editor at a top Norwegian newspaper, recently posted the image and then received a demand from Facebook to remove it. The social media site said that the iconic image violated their standards of child pornography, but reversed the decision amid waves of criticism.

One of the leading critics, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism Professor Jeff Jarvis, said the case illustrates the need for Facebook to instate an editor-in-chief to set editorial standards and policies. To read the article, click here.

Jarvis is a leader in journalism who has written several books about its changing business model, including Geeks Bearing Gifts, about the future of the news media. To order the book, click here.

Former New York Time’s Culture Editor Releasing English Learning Book For International Journalists

AmericanEnglish_CVF-2 Diane Nottle, formerly an editor on the culture news desk of The New York Times, says her new book American English for World Media is a natural marriage between her 20-plus years as a journalist and her time in Poland and China teaching English as a second language.

Nottle, now a writing coach for international students at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, saw serious gaps in the way that English was taught in textbooks – gaps that she has addressed in her own book. She said the book is specifically targeted towards international students who want to go into English speaking media. However, it’s not limited to them: more and more, she said, many native-born students lack basic grammar and structure skills addressed by the book.

American English for World Media, published by the CUNY Journalism Press, is set to be released in September. You can order it here. To check out her English learning blog for foreign journalists, click here.

Acclaimed Features Writer Gives Beginning Journalists a Few Summer Internship Tips

newmanFor many journalism students all around the world, their summer internships are their first foray into real world media outside of the classroom: A chance to see how the industry really ticks. But it can be a struggle for newbies struggling to create those career defining feature and enterprise pieces, when they’re stuck churning out daily news.

CUNY’s Journalism Press associate publisher Victoria Edwards, a graduate school student at CUNY’s journalism school, asked Barry Newman, a 43-year features journalist for the Wall Street Journal, who also wrote the CUNY Journalism Press book “News To Me,” for helpful tips on how interns can find and write features, while juggling their daily workload.

CUNYJP: How do you balance out your feature stories with having to write daily?

Newman: When I started out, I had definite stories. I divided up my day and would ask myself: What’s more important, the story due in two hours or my feature? I would say, I will work on my feature until 3 p.m. then turn around and get rid of my daily stuff. I divided up my time and set aside absolute time to work on my features.

CUNYJP: How do you find your stories for features? How do you know what to write about?

 Newman: My experience has been working over years and years and not knowing what I would write about all the time before I got to a place. I would find a neighborhood and ask questions and see if there’s something interesting. It’s a question of looking to see what stories have been covered and finding angles that have not been covered.

In New York, I know there are lots of stories I’m curious about. I’m asking myself why is this? Why is that? It could be the chewing gum on the sidewalks or a type of food I’ve never seen before. It might be something confusing about the sign. I want to know things that are not self-explanatory. I just wonder around the neighborhood until I find something that is off. For example, where do the mounted policemen park their horses during lunchtime? Or, is there anyone producing nonstick chewing gum?

CUNYJP: How do you know when the feature story is completed? How do you keep yourself from just writing and writing and never ending the thing?

Newman: I plan the building blocks for features: several scenes, and then I fill in the blanks by doing background research, asking 10 people the same question until you start hearing the same information. I know the shape of the story has to come as you’re reporting. You feel the story until it makes sense.

For the scenes, going to the place and event and seeing something happen – something that takes place – an accident, anything. It can be a rainstorm that allows you to build the story.

CUNYJP: Did you have any specific struggles as a young writer trying to put together these features?

 Newman: I struggled a lot until I started realizing there are two ways to do a story: You can know what you want and go directly to it, or you can let it wash over you while being very perceptive – waiting for something interesting to happen – walking on a sidewalk or being on a beach. Keep your eyes open until something happens. No one else will notice it but you – but it’s the spark that makes the story.

CUNYJP: Can you give me an example where you had to wait out a scene to put in your story?

Newman: I went to a comedy club where comediennes couldn’t curse. I had to wait for the moment when they cursed and someone told them to stop. But you can’t command that to happen. There are thousands of variations on that theme. If you want to write a story about the danger of kids getting hurt in football, you have to wait until you see it.

To brush up on your feature writing skills, order Newman’s book “News to Me,” here





Illustrated Courtroom Sketch Artists Receive Next Generation Indie Book Award


Congrats to Illustrated Courtroom artists, shown to the left, accepting their Next Generation Indie Book awards in Chicago this past May. The artists featured are Elizabeth Williams and Aggie Kenny.

The book was a finalist in the following categories: Gift/Specialty/Novelty, Historical Non-Fiction and e-Book Nonfiction. The book continues to rack up its share of awards. It has been recognized recently for the following awards.


  • Gold Medal Winner IPPY’s ‘s eLit 2015 awards: True Crime and Fine & Performing Arts
  • Silver Medal Winner: History and Graphic Drawn Documentary
  • A Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year
  • A Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014
  • Gold Medal Winner Global eBook Awards:
  • Best Illustration in a Non-fiction Category

The Illustrated Courtroom includes 140 iconic illustrations depicting memorable moments, and tells the stories behind the headlines, with the artists’ insider insights. The result is be an artists’ eye view of courtroom history in the making, allowing readers to savor the extraordinary work of those who go where cameras cannot. The book is a must-have for everyone passionate about true crime, legendary defendants, headline-making trials, big-time lawyers and courtroom drama. To order your copy, click here.


“The Illustrated Courtroom” racks up honors at the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards & Beyond


Congratulations to the book “The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Year of Court Art,” for racking up honors at the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The book, by Elizabeth Williams and Sue Russell, was a finalist in the following categories: Gift/Specialty/Novelty, Historical Non-Fiction and e-Book Nonfiction.

Illustrated Courtroom co-authors Sue Russell and Elizabeth Williams expressed their excitement at winning the award, and said in an email, “We are thrilled that the Illustrated Courtroom (IC) has been named a three time finalist in the Next Generation Book Awards and a bronze winner in the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY). We are gratified that this book, which has been a real labor of love and years in the making, has been given such a warm reception by readers and publishers. Prior to the announcement that the Illustrated Courtroom is a winner of these awards, it garnered the following accolades:

A Kirkus Best BoIPPBRonzeok of 2014IndieBookAward_Finalist
A Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year, 2014
eLit awards:
-Gold Medal in True Crime and Art
– Silver Medal in Graphic Documentary and History
Global Book Awards
– Gold medal in Illustrated non-fiction
 – Winner of the The Eric Hoffer New Horizon award

We thank CUNY for having the vision to publish the book.”

The Illustrated Courtroom includes 140 iconic illustrations depicting memorable moments, and tells the stories behind the headlines, with the artists’ insider insights. The result is be an artists’ eye view of courtroom history in the making, allowing readers to savor the extraordinary work of those who go where cameras cannot. The book is a must-have for everyone passionate about true crime, legendary defendants, headline-making trials, big-time lawyers and courtroom drama. To order your copy, click here.

Illustrated Courtroom Artist’s Work Featured In Today’s NY Times Book Review

Taken from New York Times book review

From left: Najibullah Zazi, part of a Qaeda plot; Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter; Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the “Underwear Bomber”; and Faisal Shahzad, who tried to bomb Times Square. Credit Sketches, from left: Elizabeth Williams/Associated Press; Brigitte Woosley/Associated Press; Kabrin/Reuters; Elizabeth Williams/Associated Press

In today’s page 11 The New York Times review of the book “United States of Jihad,” by Peter Bergen, two of the four images featured are by renowned Illustrated Courtroom artist Elizabeth Williams. The book, reviewed by Janet Napolitano, looks at various events from the Sandy Hook mass murder to the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, to seek to understand why some Americans become jihadists. Williams sketches of jihadists Najibullah Zazi, who joined an Al Qaeda plot to blow up the new York subway system in 2009 and Faisal Shahzad, who parked a bomb loaded SUV in Times Square in 2010, are featured prominently, as two of the four pictures shown, on the top of page 11. To see the full New York Times book review, click here. 

For more of Williams artwork, check out the award-winning book Illustrated Courtroom. Order your copy here.

Journalists In The DRC Struggling With Self-Censorship and Threats


 Reporters in the DRC face threats and violence during the pre-election period. Credit: Internews

Reporters in the DRC face threats and violence during the pre-election period. Credit: Internew

Internews, an international nonprofit that works to empower local media to tell its communities stories, explores the politically hostile situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where threats of violence, during the pre-electoral period, are leading to self-censorship among local journalists because of a hostile political climate. Internews Chief of Party in the DRC Karim Bernard-Dende interviews a staff member from the Initiative Journalists in Danger (JED) to delve deeper into freedom of press issues in the DRC. To read the entire interview, click here.

Author David Hoffman, who wrote Citizen’s Rising, a book about the power of the media to empower oppressed communities against tyrannical dictatorships, founded Internews. His organization works directly to empower local media through training, education and advocacy. To get a copy of his book, click here.