I practice journalism, teach journalism and narrate audiobooks. My dad, Zeke Segal, was a CBS News executive and that made me aware of how news gets gathered and newsrooms work.
But maybe more importantly, when I was a little girl he taught me to care about the news. We sat on our front porch in Laurelton, Queens and read the newspaper together, including the comics. We started this before I went to kindergarten. I know that because I read a comic called “Nancy” and it scared me. Nancy talked all the time and on her first day of school the teacher put Scotch Tape on her mouth so that she wouldn’t talk. I was terrified my teacher would tape my mouth shut. A kindergarten friend remembers that I cried for the first hour of school. When I heard that, I explained why.
I didn’t always want to work as a journalist, but it seemed to fit me better than anything else. I tend to do things backwards, or a little late. Even before I came to City College as a student in the late 1960s, I worked as a beauty and fashion editor at Bartel Media, a magazine group that published works like True Romance and True Confessions as well as the fan magazines Photoplay and Silver Screen.
I rushed through City College, but became involved in the 1969 campus demonstrations and tried to help calm things down. As a result the college appointed me to what they called the Committee to Restructure the Governance of the City University. This was a big deal because it partially led to open admissions.
Once I graduated, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. But after a few false starts, I realized I wanted to work in TV news.
During my TV news career, I worked in Huntsville, Alabama, Lexington, Kentucky, and Atlanta, Georgia. And then, after ten years in the South, WCBS-TV’s Channel 2 News recruited me to come home. My dream came true.
I worked as a general assignment reporter, which means I went where I was sent. I did enterprise reporting, which means I dug up my own stories. I reported on politics and became an investigative reporter. In New York, UPN9, later My 9News and FOX5-WNYW, I reported about white collar crime, and scams and schemes where bad guys used a pattern of criminality to rip people off. My reports sent people to prison, got government action and even sparked an congressional hearing.
I’m proud of the work that I did on TV and have 22 Emmys on a shelf and more than 50 other awards and honors for my work.
I began to teach at Brooklyn College in 2009. The next year, my students won the regional Mark of Excellence Award presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. Every year for the next five, they either won or placed in the regional and national awards. In 2014, my students won the national student Emmy for the best student newscast in the nation.
In addition to teaching, I run ConsumerMojo.com, which I founded in 2012. It offers consumers reports about issues that have often remained undercover and received little coverage. Lately, we’ve had a lot of fun writing and posting about travel.
I studied acting at the High School of Performing Arts and went on to work off-off Broadway for a while. Two years ago, I decided to tap into my acting training and I began to learn how to narrate audiobooks. If you look on Audible, you find 15 books that I performed so far.
But journalism fuels my passion and that’s why I’m grateful to have the opportunity to teach you at City College.
I’m also a black belt in traditional Japanese karate.