About Us


Our Mission

The Center for Communication is a nonprofit supported by major media companies to bring more diversity to the media industry and give students access to influential figures who can speak about the business today. 

The Center’s mission is to better prepare students for careers in media by connecting them with the best minds in media and offering  free seminars, featuring outstanding media leaders, who join with us to better inform college students on the ever-evolving media industry.

Center seminars cover all aspects and all fields of media, including journalism, television production, documentary and feature filmmaking, social media, magazine and book publishing, advertising, PR and marketing, First Amendment issues, ethics and standards.

Past speakers include: Edward Albee, Jeff Marks, Bill Keller, Sebastian Junger, Lee Daniels, Mike Francesa, Anna Deavere Smith, Pete Hamill, Sir Harry Evans, David Chase, Oliver Stone, Sydney Pollack, Todd Haynes, Sidney Lumet, Jeff Bezos, Jon Stewart, Doug Liman, Barbara Walters, Dennis Crowley, Jonah Peretti, Malcolm Gladwell, Tim Gunn, Bill Moyers, Sy Hersh, Al Gore, Charlie Rose, Bob Costas, Brian Williams, Stephen Colbert, and many thousands more.

Annually, up to 4,500 of the best and the brightest students from over 185 colleges and universities in the Tri-State area attend our panels and on-location seminars. 

Center for Communication is an independent organization with 501(c )(3) status. The Center is supported by the media industry and the academic community. All events are presented free to students.


David J. Barrett, Chairman


David J. Barrett is a director of Hearst Corporation, a trustee of the Hearst Family Trust established under the will of William Randolph Hearst, and a director of the Hearst Foundations.  He also serves on the boards of the Emma L. Bowen Foundation, the Broadcasters Foundation and the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF).

Barrett joined Hearst in 1984 as general manager of the company’s Baltimore radio stations, later assuming general manager responsibility for the Hearst Radio Group, and then for WBAL-TV in Baltimore.  He relocated to New York in 1991 as a vice president of the Hearst Corporation and deputy general manager of Broadcasting, with operating oversight for the company’s television and radio stations.  In 1997, Hearst Broadcasting merged with Argyle Television to form Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc., and Barrett was named executive vice president and chief operating officer of the new entity.  He was named president and chief executive officer in 2001.  Hearst-Argyle Television was publicly traded on the NYSE from 1998 until 2009, when it was taken private by Hearst Corporation and re-named Hearst Television. From 2012 to 2014, Barrett served as chairman and chief executive officer of Hearst Television Inc.

Barrett has been the recipient of numerous industry honors.  In 2011 he received the DiGamma Kappa Distinguished Achievement Award in Broadcasting from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism, which bestows the annual Peabody Awards, and the First Amendment Leadership Award from The Radio Television Digital News Foundation.  In 2008 he was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.  In 2005 he was the recipient of The Media Institute’s American Horizon Award and was also inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Management Hall of Fame.  In 2004 he was named Broadcasting & Cable magazine’s “Broadcaster of the Year,” and in 2013 Barrett received the Broadcasters Foundation of America Golden Mike Award. In 2014 The Library of American Broadcasting honored Barrett as one of their “Giants of Broadcasting.”


Anthony Ambrosio


Anthony G. Ambrosio is the Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) for CBS Corporation, reporting to the Chairman and CEO.

In his capacity as Chief Administrative Officer, Ambrosio oversees a variety of functional areas worldwide, including corporate Real Estate and Facilities, Strategic Sourcing, Security and other corporate services. In addition, he oversees CBS Corporation's Corporate Social Responsibility and philanthropic initiatives, including CBS CARES. He also manages a division of the company, CBS EcoMedia, an award­ winning unit of the company dedicated to creating public private partnerships that generate funding for leading non-profits and creating tangible positive outcomes in the communities CBS serves.

In his role as Chief Human Resources Officer, Ambrosio oversees all human resources policies for the company worldwide and leads all aspects of talent management for the firm, including talent acquisition, performance management, leadership and employee development, succession management, and employee engagement. In addition to hiring, he is responsible for all employee-related HR programs, including compensation  and benefits and performance management.

Ambrosio is currently the Chairman of the board of the Emma Bowen Foundation for Minority Interests in Media, and is a past member of the Board of the American Benefits Council. Ambrosio earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh and a Masters of Business Administration from New York University Stern School of Business.


Dr. William "Bill" Baker


William "Bill" Baker directs the Bernard L. Schwartz Center for Media, Education, and Public Policy at Fordham University, where he is Journalist in Residence at Fordham University and the Claudio Acquaviva Chair at the Graduate School of Education, and President Emeritus of Educational Broadcasting Corporation, parent company of WNET-TV (Channel Thirteen) and WLIW-TV (Channel 21), where he served for 20 years as Chief Executive Officer. Over the four decades of his career, Dr. Baker has been a broadcaster, executive, author, sought-after public speaker, academic, and explorer.

He has been called an icon of public television for producing some of the industry’s most respected and popular programs, including Charlie Rose, Bill Moyers Journal, Nature, Cyberchase, and Great Performances. Among numerous honors, he has won seven Emmys and two Columbia Dupont Journalism awards, and was named to the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Management Hall of Fame and the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame.


Marc Brodherson


Marc is a Partner in McKinsey’s New York Office, and a leader in the Technology, Media, Telecom (TMT) practice, focused on Consumer Internet and Media. For the last 10 years he has served leading video programmers and distributors, digital and print publishers and terrestrial and digital audio providers on strategy, operations and technology and advertising monetization and sales effectiveness. He also leads McKinsey’s work in advertising technology, measurement and analytics, serving inventory owners, ad tech intermediaries, and marketing technology and data providers across the advertising ecosystem.

Prior to working at McKinsey, Marc worked in the first wave of digital media production and distribution as a Creative Executive at Emerging Pictures and Fourth Row Films, producing independent feature films, documentaries and video advertising.  Marc has a JD from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, and an AB from Princeton University in History, summa cum laude.


Merrill Brown


At the university, Brown oversees an extensive program that encompassing TV/Radio, communications studies, digital media, journalism, filmmaking, public relations, and organizational communication.  Before taking the post in August, Brown was principal of MMB Media LLC, which provided clients with management and strategy consulting, corporate, editorial and program development, business analysis and marketing services. Since the founding of MMB Media, clients have ranged from companies in the news, information and wireless businesses to large foundations.

Brown serves on the Board of Directors of GoLocal,  and on the Advisory Boards of the International Women’s Media Foundation, Causes.com, and the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.  Brown also is a member of the advisory boards of the advertising firms, Media 6 Degrees and Mixpo, and had been Advisory Board Chairman of TRA Global, before it was sold to Tivo. Brown had been advisor to Evri.com, a content discovery company funded by Vulcan Capital and has served as advisor and the Chairman of the Board of NowPublic, a leading citizen journalism company.  NowPublic was sold to Examiner.com in 2009. Brown was a member of the Board of Directors of Smashing Ideas Inc. until it was sold to Random House in May 2011.

Before establishing MMB Media, Brown served as Senior Vice President, RealNetworks’ RealOne Services from August 2002 through August 2003 and was responsible for all facets of the RealOne programming business including programming, subscription sales, marketing, advertising sales and technology. During his tenure, RealOne expanded subscription programming offerings in news, sports, entertainment and music and grew from 750,000 paid subscribers to over 1,000,000.


Bruce Campbell


Bruce Campbell oversees the following business areas for Discovery Communications on a global basis: corporate development, including strategic planning and all M&A activity; all legal affairs, serving as the chief legal advisor to the company’s management and board of directors; business affairs; production management and the company’s production studios. He also is responsible for oversight of the company’s $1.4B Domestic Distribution business and the Discovery Education division.
In his corporate development role, Campbell has led the origination and execution of many of the company’s most significant transactions, including the acquisitions of SBS Nordic and Eurosport; the acquisition of All3Media, operated in joint-venture with Liberty Global; the acquisition of a minority stake in Lionsgate; and, previously, he negotiated Discovery’s joint venture with Oprah Winfrey for OWN. Most recently, he led the $100 million investment and strategic partnership to form digital content holding company Group Nine Media, and worked in partnership with Discovery Networks International to complete a landmark agreement with the International Olympic Committee for the exclusive European broadcast rights to the 2018-2024 games.
Before joining Discovery in 2007, Campbell was Executive Vice President, Business Development for NBC Universal, where he was responsible for strategic planning and corporate transactions. He began his career with the Los Angeles law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where he specialized in corporate and securities law. He holds degrees from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. Campbell currently serves on the board of the Archaeological Institute of America. He and his wife, Cannon, live in Westchester County, NY, with their five daughters.


Steve Hasker


Steve Hasker is Global President and Chief Operating Officer of Nielsen. He oversees all of Nielsen’s commercial and product related activities globally for both the media and consumer businesses. During his tenure at Nielsen, Steve has overseen the introduction of Total Audience measurement and the development of Nielsen's marketing effectiveness solutions.

Steve joined Nielsen in 2009 from McKinsey & Company, where he was a partner in McKinsey’s Global Media, Entertainment and Information practice. In this role, Steve was responsible for serving clients on issues of strategy, growth and innovation in television, syndicated information, filmed entertainment, sports and digital advertising. He joined McKinsey in 1998 and spent three years on the Partner Election Committee at the firm. Prior to McKinsey, Steve spent five years in several financial roles in the U.S., Russia and Australia.

Steve lectures regularly at Columbia University and NYU. His research into the influence of social networks on consumer behavior in media has been published in the Harvard Business Review. His writings on digital business models and marketing have been featured in the McKinsey Quarterly. Steve sits on the boards of Global Eagle Entertainment (Nasdaq) and Appen Limited (ASX). He is also a board member of the International Radio and Television Society and the Center for Communication, and a member of the Australian Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Steve holds an undergraduate economics degree from the University of Melbourne and has an MBA and a Masters in International Affairs, both with honors, from Columbia University.


Julie Henderson


Julie Henderson is the Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for 21st Century Fox. In this role, Henderson serves as the chief spokesperson for the Company, leading all global communications initiatives, specifically in support of corporate financial matters, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues and litigation. She is also responsible for leading the Company's efforts to build and manage the 21st Century Fox corporate brand among key audiences worldwide.  She has served as Chief Communications Officer since January 2012.
Prior to her current post, Henderson was the Company's Senior Vice President of Communications and Corporate Strategy. She first joined the Company as Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for Fox Interactive Media (FIM) and MySpace. 

Henderson resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.


Andrew Heyward


Andrew Heyward is a nationally known news executive, award-winning producer, and expert on the changing media landscape. He helps media companies develop innovative online ventures and profitable digital strategies; create new content and services; and transform their businesses to drive growth and revenue in an age of rapid evolution.

Heyward was President, CBS News, from January 1996-November 2005. Before that, Heyward was executive producer of The CBS Evening News. Heyward was also responsible for developing and launching 48 Hours, the primetime CBS News hour that premiered in January 1988. He began his career working in local news at WNEW-TV and WCBS-TV in New York.
Heyward has won 12 national Emmy Awards.


Martin Nisenholtz

Martin Nisenholtz is a Professor of Digital Communication at Boston University and a Venture Partner at Firstmark Capital in New York. He recently completed a Fellowship at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he co-developed Riptide: An Oral History of the Epic Collision between Journalism and Digital Technology, 1980 to the Present. Martin currently serves on the boards of PostMedia Network (PNC/A), Yellow Media (Y:CN), Exelate, and RealMatch. He is an advisor to The New York Times, Carmel Ventures and Digital Content Next.

From 1995-2012, Martin managed digital operations for The New York Times Company and was the founding CEO at New York Times Digital and nytimes.com. In 2002, Martin founded the Online Publishers Association (now, DCN), the leading trade association among quality content creators. In 1983, Martin founded Ogilvy Interactive, the first digital agency at a major US advertising firm. Martin began his career as a research scientist and assistant professor at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). He holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA from Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication, where he serves on the Alumni Board.


Katherine Oliver


Katherine Oliver is currently a Principal at Bloomberg Associates, a philanthropic consultancy firm founded by Michael Bloomberg to provide advice and long-term solutions to cities worldwide. She served as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in New York City from 2002-2013.

During that time, New York’s film and television industry saw its strongest growth in history. Strategic initiatives such as the Made in NY marketing and branding program generated direct spending of $7.1 billion annually, an increase of more than 50%, and saw jobs climb to an all-time high of 130,000. Under Oliver, the City instituted the first and only municipal-based tax credit in the film industry, initiated a program to train minorities for work in film and TV production, appointed the City’s Chief Digital Officer, the first of its kind, and delivered a roadmap to establish New York City as the world’s top-ranked digital city. By the end of the Bloomberg Administration 300 feature films and over 100 TV shows were being shot each year in New York, and more than a quarter million people were employed in the tech industry.

Prior to the Bloomberg Administration, Oliver was the General Manager of Bloomberg Radio & Television, where she launched and built the company’s global media operations.


Shane Peros


Shane is a technology and media sales executive with over 20 years of experience. He currently serves as the Managing Director of Google's Global Broadcast Partner Business Solutions responsible for strategic Broadcast, Entertainment and Distributions Partners Globally.

In his role, Shane leads complex cross-Google initiatives working with key executives across the company to bring partners multi-service solutions that solve for the challenges presented by the convergence of Linear and Digital platforms in the Global TV business.

Prior to joining Google, Shane served as the Vice President of Americas Publisher Sales for DoubleClick. While at DoubleClick Shane held several leadership positions including Team leads for Analytics and Marketing Automation. Shane also held roles at International Data Corporation (IDC), Giga Information Group and @plan media solutions. Shane Attended Northeastern University in Boston with a major in Business Administration.


Richard Plepler


Richard Plepler is Chairman and CEO of Home Box Office, Inc., responsible for the overall management of the world’s most successful pay TV service, which provides the two television networks – HBO and Cinemax – to over 127 million subscribers worldwide.  He was named to this position in January 2013. Under his leadership, HBO's original productions continue to raise the bar with some of the most innovative, honored and critically respected programming on television including two of HBO’s newest shows, the comedy Silicon Valley and the topical talk show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. 

Plepler is a member of both the Council on Foreign Relations, where he serves on the President’s Advisory Board, and The Trilateral Commission.  He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Asia Society and the New York Public Library, and is on the National Advisory Board of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University and the Museum of the Moving Image. In 2013, he was inducted into Broadcasting and Cable magazine’s Hall of Fame. In 2014, The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the world's largest and most prestigious annual awards and celebration of creative excellence in advertising and communications, named Plepler Media Person of the Year.

Plepler resides in New York City with his wife Lisa and daughter Eden.


Richard Powell


Richard Powell is President of Teneo, a global advisory firm. Prior to joining Teneo, Powell was Bloomberg L.P.’s Chief Communications Officer where he built Bloomberg’s global communications strategy and infrastructure to support the company’s core financial products business as well as its growth in new products and emerging markets.

Prior to joining Bloomberg, Powell was Chief Operating Officer Worldwide of the global public relations and communications firm Burson-Marsteller. He also served as the Global Chair of Burson-Marsteller’s Corporate Practice and counseled many clients, including Coca-Cola, HP and Accenture.

Mr. Powell previously worked in venture capital management, first as co-founder and Managing Director of Washington, D.C.-based technology incubator, VenCatalyst, and then as Managing Director of the New York office of Idealab after its acquisition of VenCatalyst.

He is a native of Tennessee and graduated with a B.B.A in Business and a B.A. in Political Science from Southern Methodist University.


Richard Sarnoff


Richard Sarnoff is Managing Director and Head of the Media & Communications industry group for KKR’s Private Equity platform in the Americas. Prior to this position, Sarnoff served as a Senior Adviser to KKR, working closely with both investment teams and portfolio companies.

Until 2011, Sarnoff was Co-Chairman of Bertelsmann, Inc., and President of Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI.) A longstanding senior executive at Bertelsmann, Sarnoff served as CFO and EVP of Random House beginning in 1998 and became the first US executive to serve on the Supervisory Board of Bertelsmann AG in 2002. Starting in 2006, he established and ran its corporate digital media investing arm, BDMI, and concurrently served as Chairman of the Association of American Publishers. He was named the publishing industry’s Person of the Year by Publishers Weekly magazine in 2009.

Sarnoff graduated summa cum laude, from Princeton University in 1981 with a BA in Art and Archaeology, and earned an MBA from Harvard University in 1987. He serves on the Board of Directors of Activision Blizzard, Weld North, Cengage, and Chegg; and of not-for-profit organizations including the Bronx Lab School, Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy and New Classrooms/School of One.


Hilary Smith


Hilary Smith is the Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications for NBCUniversal. Based in New York, Smith oversees the development and execution of NBCUniversal’s media relations strategy and serves as a principal spokesperson for the company. She is responsible for all NBCUniversal corporate functions including ad sales, research, digital enterprises, legal affairs, diversity and inclusion, operations, technology, NBC-owned stations and affiliates, as well as cable distribution. Smith also spearheads internal communications across the company and oversees the corporate creative agency. She reports to Executive Vice President Adam Miller.
In her previous role, Smith was Senior Vice President of Communications for USA Network, the #1 cable entertainment network, where she led publicity for the network’s award-winning programming, digital content, marketing initiatives and pro-social campaign. She also served as lead spokesperson for the network, managed talent relations, spearheaded awards campaigns and oversaw the press launches of several breakout series - including USA’s Golden Globe-winning hit, “Mr. Robot.”
Prior to joining USA, Smith oversaw communications for the NBCUniversal Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media group, which included Telemundo, mun2, Bravo Media, Oxygen Media, Style Media, Sprout, DailyCandy, Fandango and iVillage. She also led communications, as well as consumer and trade marketing, for the company’s Integrated Media business, which encompassed the company-wide ad sales and marketing initiatives: Women at NBCU, Green is Universal, Healthy at NBCU and Hispanics at NBCU.
Smith is on the board of Women in Cable Telecommunications, an organization that works to advance the position and influence of women through proven leadership programs and services at both the national and local level. She graduated from Middlebury College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Smith resides in Manhattan with her husband and two children.


Our Founder

Dr. Frank Stanton was an American broadcasting executive who served as the president of CBS between 1946 and 1971 and then as vice chairman until 1973. Stanton was revered both as a spokesman for the broadcast industry before Congress, for organizing the first televised presidential debate in American history, and for his passionate support of broadcast journalism and journalists.

When Dr. Frank Stanton founded the Center for Communication in 1980, the mission was to bridge the gap between the media industry and academia. Dr. Stanton, a staunch proponent of the highest standards in journalism and a fierce defender of the First Amendment, was keenly aware that a media revolution was on the horizon. He envisioned a forum where pressing industry issues could be explored and even solved. That will always remain our mission and goal.

The Center presents a Frank Stanton Award for Excellence in Communication annually to "individuals who exemplify achievement and excellence in any genre of mass communication." This year we honored FX Networks and FX Productions CEO, John Landgraf.