Faculty Profile: Brett Orzechowski

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Olivia Osipovitch, Staff Writer

By cultivating Utica College’s idea of journalism Assistant Professor of Journalism, Brett Orzechowski, has influenced a new way of the study to his students.

Before entering UC, Orzechowski had lived in a variety of places. Originally from Long Island, Orzechowski has also lived in North Carolina, then spent the last 10 years in Connecticut. With the decision of raising a family, Orzechowski and his wife decided to move back to New York State.

“After being in the industry for a dozen plus years, it was time to take a deep breath and come back to New York State,” Orzechowski said.

Even though Connecticut treated him well, finding the position at UC, and being able to live in New York State made Orzechowski very happy.

A couple things really sparked Orzechowski love for journalism. Starting off as a sociology major at Nazareth College, and having only two classes before receiving his sociology degree, he was told this was not the right program for him. This led him to transfer to St. John Fisher.

“A lot of what I was writing in terms of research, and the projects I was launching were more narrative than anything,” Orzechowski explained. “That’s really why I transferred to Fisher.”

Growing up with a family of readers and writers, he felt he was destined to become one as well. He started reading everything he could in terms of long form journalism, especially what was known as the “new journalism.”

“Tom Wolf and Hunter Thompson; folks that really took journalism to the next level in the 60’s and 70’s, was really the reasoning for why I wanted to get into it,” Orzechowski said.

Starting off in traditional print, Orzechowski starting going into the direction of multimedia and data because that’s where the industry was going.

Orzechowski states, “A lot of everything has social underpins, which I think is important to tell.” Which carries over into his classes such as JLM 362, Watchdog Reporting, etc.

Starting with working in industry, he then switched academia. Teaching at Quinnipiac University from 2010- 2013, he taught students a particular emphasis on reporting stories using nonlinear, interactive digital media and public affairs reporting with a focus on data and analytics. Leaving Quinnipiac he went back to the industry then started back up with academia again at UC.

Orzechowski felt that his first year at UC was great. “I like it here, it’s fun,” Orzechowski said.

He is very fond of the fact that UC is a smaller liberal arts campus, and enjoys the demographic makeup of UC. He believes it’s a good mix of students from upstate, downstate, gender, and race, which makes up for a better teaching environment as well.

“I try to raise the bar in a lot of my classes, because I want my students to get the industry feel,” said Orzechowski.

Students really enjoy his no textbook requirement.

“He has a very different teaching style than what I’m used to,” Junior Malik Gayle said. “Also, no textbooks are always a plus.”

“I believe that he is an outstanding professor who will go above and beyond to ensure that his students understand every second and aspect of his lessons,” said Junior Daeshun Buseck.

He is very passionate with the fact that a lot of the students have something to prove. It enhanced his belief that “if you want to teach the next generation, it starts with the student.”

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