Letter: Alumnus responds to “College removes long-time WEBN faculty”

To the editor:

Re “College removes long-time WEBN faculty” (News, October 1)

The other day, my morning producer called me to check in on a script I was writing. As a way of small talk, he asked if I went to Emerson. I said, ‘yes,’ assuming he had attended the school as well; then, naturally, I asked if he took Marsha Della-Giustina’s broadcast journalism course. (He’s much older than I am, but since she has been teaching at Emerson for nearly half a century, I thought there was a good chance he had taken her class as well). And guess what, he had! As a matter of fact, he was in her very first broadcast journalism course in 1980. 

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After finishing my story – which that day happened to be about a developer who dropped his proposal to build a condominium complex in a small town in New York because dinosaur tracks were found in the lot he wanted to build on – I sent an email to my producer saying, “Do you think Marsha ‘red pen’ would have approved of this script?” To which he responded, “You would have had her at ‘dino tracks!’” And we’ve been talking about her ever since! 

And just days later, I was stopped in my own tracks when I learned Marsha has been removed as the faculty advisor for WEBN, where I had the privilege of learning some of the tricks of the trade while at Emerson.

I would like to say emphatically that this is a massive, irreparable loss for WEBN and I am personally offended. When I took a directed study with Marsha as a graduate student, she helped me find an internship, she gave me emotional support, and she actually taught me valuable information that has been helpful to me as a journalist, so much so that my bosses have wondered who my broadcast teachers were.

“Who trained you?” they’ve asked and I’ve always responded, “Marsha!” as if everyone knows…and you know what, sometimes other journalists⁠—like my morning producer—know precisely who I’m talking about.

So, please, I would like the school to reconsider this decision. Marsha is a unifying force in an otherwise fragmented field and removing her from WEBN may ruin one of the great resources Emerson has to offer its journalism students.

Genevieve DiNatale is a multimedia journalist who presently works for Fios1 News covering the Lower Hudson Valley in New York. She’s a graduate of Emerson journalism master’s class of 2017 and she’s also a poet with a book coming out next spring called “Love Unaccommodated.”

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