Alumni Profiles

Campus Tumult Sparked Love of Journalism for G. Claude Albert ‘72

Claude Albert '72, a former managing editor of The Daily Campus, is now editor-in-chief of The Connecticut Mirror.
G. Claude Albert ’72, a former managing editor of The Daily Campus, is now editor-in-chief of The Connecticut Mirror. (Photo courtesy of CT Mirror)

By Ethan Linder ’15

It was November 1968 and anti-war protesters had stormed into Gulley Hall at the University of Connecticut and refused to leave the building. UConn’s Storrs campus was in turmoil.

G. Claude Albert was an undergraduate student and news editor for The Daily Campus. Albert ran to Gulley Hall as soon as he heard what was going on. After observing the scene and gathering all the facts he could, he began writing a news story about the hostile takeover while his friend drove him to the printer. Albert was determined to have his breaking news story run in the next morning’s paper. Continue reading

Ability to ‘Create Campus Dialogue’ Lured HuffPo Editor Curtis M. Wong ’01 into Journalism

Curtis Wong '01 is a senior editor at The Huffington Post. (Photo by Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post)
Curtis M. Wong’s journalism career path led him from The Daily Campus to Hartford Courant to The Prague Post, and now to The Huffington Post. (Photo by Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post)

By Ylenia Elvy-Panton ’16

It was short walk from Buckley residential hall to Arjona on the campus of the University of Connecticut. For Curtis M. Wong, though, the commute has taken him a long way.

Wong, a Journalism and English major from Coventry, Connecticut, graduated from UConn in 2001 and is now senior editor of Queer Voices at the Huffington Post.

The first time Wong saw Connecticut’s flagship university during a tour, he said he found himself immediately drawn to the school. The large campus in Storrs could make a student feel like a little fish in a big pond, but the journalism department was small and made him feel comfortable, he said.

When Wong began working at The Daily Campus in his sophomore year, he got to practice the lessons from his journalism classes hands on, while nurturing some lifelong friendships.

“I loved working for the Daily Campus,” he said. Continue reading

CT Mirror Budget Reporter Keith Phaneuf ’88 Still Keeps a Copy of His ‘Sudden Death’ Story

Keith Phaneuf
Connecticut Mirror state budget reporter Keith Phaneuf  “fell backwards” into his good ‘sudden death’ story, and into his career as a journalist. (Photo courtesy of WNPR/Chion Wolf)

By Shannon Hearn ’16

Three semesters into his college career at the University of Connecticut in 1983, Keith Phaneuf dropped out.

Deciding he had no business majoring in engineering, Phaneuf nabbed a job as a reporter at a local radio station, WINY in Putnam.

“I wasn’t entirely interested in working for the radio industry, but I really liked the reporting aspect to my job,” Phaneuf said.

After a full year of covering municipal meetings for the radio station, Phaneuf decided to re-enroll at UConn, this time majoring in journalism. Continue reading

How Elizabeth Crowley ’13 Found Her Passion & Career Path Via UConn Journalism

By Chloe Vincente ’16

Elizabeth Crowley
Elizabeth Crowley, a 2013 UConn Journalism graduate and former editor in chief of The Daily Campus, now works at NBC Universal as a Creative Coordinator. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Crowley)

Elizabeth Crowley credits her University of Connecticut journalism classes and professors for helping her discover two important things: her passion for media and a path toward achieving her career goals.

Three years after graduating with her UConn journalism degree, Crowley is now working in Manhattan for NBC Universal as a creative coordinator.

A native of Fairfield, Connecticut, Crowley said she always aspired to make it in New York City.

She transferred to UConn from Northeastern University in her sophomore year, picking journalism as her major. During her very first week in Storrs, she began writing for UConn’s student newspaper, The Daily Campus.

Crowley said she loved her journalism classes, and reporting and editing for The Daily Campus. When she wasn’t practicing her print journalism skills in Storrs, Crowley interned at her local newspaper, the Stamford Advocate, writing mostly feature stories. She worked at the Advocate full-time during every break; winter, spring and summer.

Crowley said she focused all her efforts on print news when she first arrived at UConn. But after studying broadcast journalism in a class taught by adjunct Prof. Steve Kalb, she said became much more interested in television news production. Continue reading

Ryan Gilbert’s Journey from UConn Journalism to

By Laura Costello ’15

Ryan Gilbert '12, national editor at
Ryan Gilbert graduated from UConn with a degree in journalism in 2012 and now works as national editor at (Photo courtesy of Ryan Gilbert)

Growing up a train ride away from New York City, Ryan Gilbert always wanted to see Broadway shows.

Now, seeing them is his job.

As national editor of, a website devoted to news and editorial coverage of New York City’s theater scene, Gilbert sees every Broadway show at least once and brushes shoulders with some of the biggest names in theater.

He also curates web content for the 43 cities that host tours of Broadway shows through Broadway Across America,’s parent company. Recently, he spent several days immersed in the “Phantom of the Opera” production in Orlando, Fla.

He’s basically living his dream.

Fifteen years ago, though, his dream was very different. Continue reading

Q&A with WTNH News 8’s Teresa (LaBarbera) Dufour ’01

By Melisa Fink ’14

teresa-labarbera_4x6Teresa (LaBarbera) Dufour has held most jobs in a broadcast newsroom: reporter, producer, anchor and host. Dufour says each of her job experiences, beginning from when she was still a journalism student at the University of Connecticut, were invaluable steps leading her to the next opportunity.

Fun fact: On New Years Eve 2013, Teresa married businessman Brandon Dufour in a lavish affair at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT and changed her professional name from LaBarbera to Dufour.

In a Q&A, Dufour explained the arc of her career in journalism since graduating from UConn in 2001. Continue reading

Catching up with Award-Winning NYC Broadcast Journalist David Ushery ’89

By Melisa Fink ’14

David Ushery is both an anchor for the weekend editions of “News 4 New York” is the host and creator of “The Debrief with David Ushery.”
David Ushery is an anchor for the weekend editions of “News 4 New York” and is the host and creator of “The Debrief with David Ushery.” Photo via

After landing competitive internships at both The Hartford Courant and Los Angeles Times while studying journalism as an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut, David Ushery recognized his calling in the news business.

Ushery is now an Emmy-award winning news anchor at one of the leading news stations in New York City, WNBC-TV News 4.

“I treasured my time in the small journalism department,” Ushery said in a phone interview. “In fact, I went back recently to say thank you to Wayne Worcester, who was one of my instructors there. That foundation of print and writing has served me well in my career.” Continue reading

CT Law Tribune Web Editor Karen Ali (’88) Recalls Her ‘Sudden Death’ Lucky Break


Karen Ali, a 1998 UConn journalism Alum, currently works as the web editor at the Connecticut Law Tribune in Hartford (photo courtesy of Karen Ali)
Karen Ali, a 1988 UConn journalism alumna, currently works as the web editor at the Connecticut Law Tribune in Hartford. (Photo courtesy of Karen Ali)

Karen Ali, a 1988 University of Connecticut graduate, discovered her passion for journalism while writing for The Daily Campus. Ever since, she has immersed herself in the journalism world. After stints at the Waterbury Republican-American, The (Danbury) News-Times and, Ali now works for the Connecticut Law Tribune in Hartford.

As the CT Law Tribune’s web editor, Ali manages the website, handles the social media accounts, writes and copy edits articles, and takes photographs.

Ali also keeps busy blogging for a wellness website and writing freelance pieces for an indie book reviewing company.

In an email interview, Ali recalls her experience at UConn as a positive one, including the nerve-wracking “sudden death” assignment all j-majors face. Continue reading’s Justin Verrier ’09: ‘You’ll never be more valuable than you are right now’


“Read everything. If you don’t
read, you’re not a writer,” advises ’09 UConn grad and current NBA editor Justin Verrier. (Photo courtesy of Justin Verrier)

Justin Verrier graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2009 with a double major in Journalism and English. He currently serves as the contributing NBA editor for

Verrier is responsible for organizing the National Basketball Association editorial content on the sports website while also contributing to blogs, columns and features. In the Q&A below, he talks about his job, his experience as an undergrad at UConn and his advice for aspiring sports journalists.

Continue reading

An Interview with Talent Booker, Writer and UConn Alumna Ashley Papa ’05


Ashley Papa '05 serves as both a Guest Segment Producer and a writer for Fox News. (Photo Courtesy of Ashley Papa)
Ashley Papa ’05 serves as both a Guest Segment Producer and a writer for Fox News. (Photo Courtesy of Ashley Papa)

Ashley Papa works as the guest segment producer for “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson.” The live news show on at Fox News Channel covers topics ranging from general news to investigative reporting to politics. Papa books the various talents for on air commentary and does all the pre-interviews with the guests.

Papa also writes about nutrition, dating and relationships for’s online feature magazine. She is a 2005 graduate of the University of Connecticut with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science.

In an email interview, Papa shared insight into her broadcast journalism job as a talent booker and how UConn helped to shape her career.

What is a typical work day like for you?
A typical, non-breaking news day looks like this:  I get in around 8 a.m. and leave around 4 p.m. However, I start checking the blackberry as soon as I get up.  When I get into the office, I meet with my production team and my anchor to go over the show rundown and guest segments for the day.  We talk about the topics we’re covering, I’ll do pre-interviews with them to get their point of view.  If it is a satellite interview, I have to coordinate ordering studios, wherever that may be.

Continue reading