Campus News – Sarah Koenig and Brittany Packnett Named 2019 Justice Media Trailblazers

Campus News – Sarah Koenig and Brittany Packnett Named 2019 Justice Media Trailblazers


Sarah Koenig, Co-Creator and Host of Serial, and Brittany Packnett, activist, educator, writer, and contributor to the Webby-award winning Pod Save the People podcast, were recognized as Media Trailblazers at the 2019 Justice Media Trailblazers Awards Dinner held on February 21, 2019. The event, hosted by John Jay College and The Crime Report (published by The Center on Media, Crime and Justice), honors media change-makers who are “lighting the way into new ways of storytelling,” and “exposing injustices,” said emcee Errol Louis.

Launched in 2014, Koenig’s Serial program is credited with bringing mainstream attention to podcasting. The series, now in its third season and with more than 420 million downloads, has brought issues of justice reform to new audiences around the world, through the lens of criminal investigation.

Packnett, has emerged as one of the most riveting new voices for justice reform through her impactful use of activist podcasting and other media channels. She is the Co-Founder of Campaign Zero and the Vice President of National Community Alliances for Teach for America.

During their respective acceptance speeches each called on journalists and John Jay students to fight for justice and tell the stories of those who have been silenced. Koenig said to the audience, “Lasting progress in the realm of criminal justice will require ferocious accuracy, ferocious persistence, and ferocious kindness.” Packnett cited the power of storytelling as a way of helping move the dial towards greater justice and fairness. “Injustice in this world, and at this time, and in this political age, is not an anomaly, it is a constant. And surviving it is a lifestyle,” said Packnett. “I accept this honor on behalf of each and every great storyteller who lives difficult truths every single day because they choose to fight. I treat it not as an accolade but as an indication of the work ahead and a symbol of my ongoing responsibility to amplify these difficult truths. Always question, always tell the truth, and pass the mic.”

John Jay College Awarded $7 Million Grant for Alzheimer’s Research 

The National Institute of Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded the Department of Psychology at John Jay College a $7.6 million grant to research Alzheimer’s disease. “At John Jay, we are proud of our roots and international expertise in criminal justice, but we are also a liberal arts institution with professors on the leading edge of research and innovation in the sciences and humanities,” says Karol V. Mason, John Jay College President. Amrish Sugrim-Singh, the Assistant Director of the College’s Office of Sponsored Programs says of the grant, “This is the largest and most competitive type of NIH grant. To be awarded a grant of this stature shows the growing importance that research plays at the College.”

Winners of the Presidential Fellows for Curriculum-Driven Student Success

At the start of the 2019 Spring semester, President Kavol V. Mason announced the faculty members who had been selected as the inaugural Presidential Fellows for Curriculum-Driven Student Success. They will each examine aspects of the College’s curriculum design, research best practices, and lead curricular redesign projects to further support student learning and student engagement. The new Presidential Fellows are: Demis Glasford, Heath Grant, Jill Grose-Fifer, Matthew Perry, Monika Son, and Denise Thompson.