At 16 years old, award-winning author and founding chair of the Communications and Media Department Robert Miraldi came of age working at the Staten Island Advance, filling pots of glue and getting coffee.
Miraldi gave a talk about his life and career as a journalist and his new book, “Seymour Hersh: Scoop Artist” on Nov. 5 in the Honors Center at SUNY New Paltz.
“There isn’t anyone in the communications department that doesn’t owe a direct gratitude to Robert Miraldi,” Journalism Professor Howard Good said as he began introducing his longtime friend and colleague.
Good said the entire Public Relations concentration was Miraldi’s idea, as was the journalism major altogether.
“He had the patience and the perseverance and I guess the political chops to get it done,” Good said.
It was Miraldi who got SUNY New Paltz the Ottoway fellowship, an endowment which funds a distinguished journalist or person in the communications field to come teach a course for a semester, visit other classes and speak to the campus as a whole, Good said.
After Miraldi took the stage he thanked several people including his “intellectual soul mate” Good for the introduction.
Miraldi spoke with passion about his topic: his own career and that of Seymour Hersch, the subject of his book.
Miraldi said Hersh is arguably one the most famous investigative reporters in America.
“The darling of the political left,” Hersh won the Pulitzer Prize in 1969.
Miraldi spent the duration of his talk switching between detailed accounts of how Hersch located his sources, reading excerpts from the book and telling amusing stories of his own experience in the journalism field.
He described an early misstep — incorrectly reporting the death of President Eisenhower, standing on the table in front of his podium to illustrate the chaos of the scene.
After his lecture, Miraldi took a few questions before offering to sign books for anyone who was interested.
Although some may say it’s a dying field, Miraldi said he maintains an optimistic view for journalists.
“Maybe we can make some good things happen in the world of journalism” he said, shutting his book.