College Media Hall of Fame, Class of 2011: Michael Koretzky, Educator and Journo Terrorist At-Large

The College Media Hall of Fame is a digital enshrinement of individuals, news outlets, and organizations who have made a lasting impact on collegemediatopia or greatly contributed to it over the past year.  Much like last year’s inaugural batch (known as the CMM 10), this year’s inductees include standout student journalists, innovative student media entrepreneurs, and impassioned advocates of campus press 2.0.  With a hat tip to the annual Time 100, many of the posts announcing each honoree include a few words of adoration penned by a close friend or colleague. First up…

Michael Koretzky

Journalism educator and adviser with ties to SPJ, CMA, and the UP at FAU

Michael Koretzky is an inspiration, an admirable rabble-rouser, and an admitted journoterrorist.  The Florida Atlantic University students who have worked with Koretzky at The University Press speak of him in reverential terms as a mix between Cronkite and Don King– trustworthy, with an intoxicating side of flash.

As this post goes live, he also continues to be lauded (and criticized?!) as the second coming of Gutenberg and green eye shades for his put-out-a-paper-without-computers project.  In the self-portrait on his website homepage, he dons regular shades, a military cap, a Jesus beard, and an intimidatingly large cigar.

Koretzky operates outside the system– with many of his approaches to engaging and educating students and literally with his advising work (continuing to help the UP as a volunteer adviser after being abruptly fired from his paid supervisory post in spring 2010).

I’ve seen the very mention of his last name bring about huge smiles, eye rolls, belly laughs, and breathless stories that begin I-was-there-when-he….  Perhaps the highest compliment is not the kind words people speak of him, but the speed at which I saw a number of them move toward a room in which he was presenting at CMA’s spring convention.  “Seats fill up fast,” one adviser gushed.  “This is one I don’t want to miss.”

I am honored to name Michael Koretzky as the first class of 2011 inductee to CMM’s College Media Hall of Fame.

A screenshot of the latest post on his blog, journoterrorist.

“He’d Probably Be Offended to Be Called an ‘Academic Figure'”

By Michele Boyet

I have worked closely with Michael Koretzky for six years. Our relationship has transformed from a student-adviser role at the college newspaper to professional business partners in an array of journalism organizations and special projects. But above all, I consider him one of my closest friends.

Putting into words how much Koretzky’s advice and teachings has helped shape my life (and the lives of so many students) is nearly impossible. Since the first day I walked into the University Press newsroom as a freshman at Florida Atlantic University in 2005, he has showed me the ropes and supported my goals more than any other academic figure I’ve ever known. In fact, he’d probably be offended to be called an ‘academic figure.’

More importantly than his guidance and support, I am eternally grateful to Koretzky for letting me screw up — which he watched me do many times. But each time, he was there to help me pick of the pieces, learn from my mistakes and choose a better path. To this day, he has never told me what to do but has always helped me figure out my options and offer advice on what he’s done. He’s real, honest, creative and always thinking outside the box.

I often joked that during my time as editor in chief of the UP I talked to Koretzky more than my parents. That was no a joke. No matter how silly or tough the question (and at any hour), he was — and still is — always there. His true passion to help young journalists always went far beyond his 20-hour a week FAU paychecks. It goes so far now, he does it all for free.

Koretzky has touched so many lives — at FAU and around the country — and despite all the antics FAU has pulled to try to get rid of him, if the students want him there, he’s always there. I have always found his dedication to helping others admirable and inspiring.

Koretzky is well deserving of this spotlight and much more. But he hates the spotlight, so the best way to say thanks is to buy him a black-and-white cookie.

Boyet is the social media coordinator at The Breakers hotel in Palm Beach, Fla. She is also the executive vice president of the South Florida Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the vice president of the Florida College Press Association, and the assistant director for the College Media Advisers’ national journalism convention in New York City.

“A Scruffy Exterior, a Renegade Attitude, and a Walnut-Sized Bladder”

By Karla Bowsher

Every time I talk to Koretzky, he says “thank you” before hanging up. It’s really annoying.

Koretzky’s the one who has earned the thanks. Thanks from those of us who have a job in media because he guided us. Thanks from those of us who’ve won national awards– beating out j-students from schools like Harvard and the University of Alabama– because he inspired us. Thanks from those of us who’ve made it through breakups and breakdowns because he was more than an adviser to us.

I’m pretty sure the students past and present of the University Press even owe Koretzky’s wife a thank you or twelve. We’ve called him at 4 a.m. with phallic j-emergencies. We’ve called him while he’s out to dinner on his wedding anniversary. We’ve called him when he wasn’t even getting paid to be our adviser. He always picks up the phone, yet his wife somehow refrains from beating us like the ingrates we can be.

 —

He tries to hide it behind a scruffy exterior, a renegade attitude, and a walnut-sized bladder, but Michael Ross Koretzky is perhaps the most humbly and selflessly caring person I know. He maintains a job board that has helped who knows how many people find work in the South Florida media market (no one pays him to do it, and he eats the hosting cost). He volunteers his time with journalism organizations and homeless shelters alike. In the last year alone, he’s given the University Press $25,000 worth of advising for free because, unlike the Division of Student Affairs at Florida Atlantic University, he cares too much to let eager j-students run their student newspaper without a qualified adviser.

Koretzky’s so selfless that he won’t even tell us which day in February of 1965 he was born on, that he wouldn’t even accept the cash prize that accompanied his 2011 Freedom of Expression Award from the Society for Collegiate Journalists.

But don’t get me wrong. Koretzky’s not perfect. Just ask him about the Dr. Seuss dictionary.

Bowsher is the national award-winning former editor-in-chief of The University Press, a freelance journalist, and a CMM 10 honoree.

Comments
5 Responses to “College Media Hall of Fame, Class of 2011: Michael Koretzky, Educator and Journo Terrorist At-Large”
  1. Krome says:

    Congratulations, Koretzky!

  2. Elena Jarvis says:

    The one and only-est. You are one of a kind Michael. Well deserved!

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  1. […] normal sessions, this really stood out. But it took some convincing to go to this session led by Michael Koretzky from Florida Atlantic University. This guy was fired by FAU as the media advisor but continues to work there for free. He’s […]



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