Get to Know a Professor: Steven Yavner
Steve Yavner is the next adjunct professor in Communication that we’ll be following. He received a BA in Psychology from Williams College and and a MSEd in Psychology from the University of Miami. Here’s more about his approach to the field:
I spent 25 years in broadcast journalism – hence my interest in communications. I started in production, moved to on-air news and sports, then moved to producing and management. I left commercial TV to go to the University of Miami, where I ran its TV station and taught in the Masters Program at the UM School of Communication. While there I earned my Masters in Psychology. I left there to come to NYU for a PhD, where my goal is to blend journalism, psychology, technology and education.
What has been your favorite course to teach?
I love teaching the Mass Media and Society class because it mirrors those interests. While journalism is only one piece of mass media, technology and psychology are woven through everything — as are education, entertainment, and connection. It’s really all about the transmission of information, and learning to think critically, process new information, and creatively express original thought… Media is a great tool for sharpening these skills, which are important for everyone, regardless of specific interest or major.
My experience allows me to bring a unique perspective to the class. For example, my class just read “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu.” It was an essay about Ted Williams’ last game with the Red Sox written by John Updike in 1960. It may be the best piece of sports journalism ever written. It may not be journalism at all — it may be literature. But whatever it is, I doubt it’s on the syllabi of very many other Mass Media and Society classes! We spent a recent class talking about the latest Egypt/Libya crisis — ignited by one form of mass media (a YouTube video), the attempt to mediate the crisis through another form of mass media (Twitter), how it was covered by the mass media (TV networks), how the mass media reacted to the political spillover (Mitt Romney’s reaction), and the related issues of censorship, free speech, and hate messages (and Google’s blocking the video in several countries).
I will be teaching Mass Media and Society again next semester, along with American Media/American History. Last semester I taught Sports Broadcasting.