About NY City Lens

NY City Lens is a news website produced by students at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The site is staffed by students in the Reporting class taught by professors Dody Tsiantar and Melanie Lefkowitz with assistance and advice from professors Lars Hoel and Ruddy Roye.


Akin Oyedele

Akin Oyedele reports from Clifton and the greater north shore on Staten Island for NY City Lens. He is from Nigeria, and graduated in 2012 from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. He was a production editor of the college newspaper, Wits Vuvuzela, and news editor of its radio station, Voice of Wits. He was also a reporter and social media assistant for the Africa the Good News website. His most memorable interview was with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, as part of a panel of young Africans selected by MTV Base Africa. He loves good music so much that he taught himself to make it on the piano, and played at South Africa’s National Arts Festival in 2010. He is an aspiring business and data journalist.
aoo2114@columbia.edu | @AkinOyedele

Aleksandra MencelAleksandra Mencel reports from Greenpoint, Brooklyn for NY City Lens. In 2011, Aleks graduated cum laude from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, where she received a bachelor’s in English and Dance. Prior to journalism school, Aleks attended the Columbia Publishing Course, a six-week intensive summer graduate program that exposed her to book, magazine, and digital media publishing. She went on to work for two years as a publicity assistant at St. Martin’s Press in the historic Flatiron Building. Aleks interned in the beauty editorial department of Marie Clare and at Jill Grinberg Literary Management. Her journalistic interests include investigative reporting, women’s issues, arts and culture.
am3738@columbia.edu | @amencel

Ben YeagerBen Yeager reports from The Rockaways for NY City Lens. He graduated from Dickinson College in 2012 with a degree in English. Before coming to Columbia, he worked at William Morris Endeavor talent agency. He has written for Cruising World magazine about a sailing adventure to Greenland, and is interested in travel and the outdoors.
benjaminbyeager@gmail.com | @benbiggsyeager

Chuck StanleyChuck Stanley reports from East Harlem for NY City Lens. He is originally from Atlanta, where he reported on politics, crime and education for Reporter Newspapers and the Sunday Paper. He has also written travel and retirement stories in Ecuador and Colombia for International Living magazine. Chuck earned his bachelor’s in Journalism from Georgia State University in 2008. He enjoys traveling, listening to music and eating BBQ.
chuckgstanley@gmail.com | @chuckgstanley

Hilary_1Hilary Brueck reports from the South Bronx neighborhoods of Highbridge and Concourse for NY City Lens. Her previous reporting stints include the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, The Minnesota Daily, rfi in Paris, and Rainbow Rumpus online magazine for kids. After college, Hilary moved to Paris where she worked for the Ministry of Education and continued to freelance. In 2010, Hilary joined the Peace Corps and traveled to Madagascar where she put down roots in a lush rainforested corner of the island working as an English teacher, teacher trainer, travel writer, and local karaoke sensation. Hilary speaks French and Malagasy and is a yoga instructor and marathon runner. She enjoys telling stories with a mix of words, sound and data.
hmb2151@columbia.edu | @hilarx 

Hilary George-Parkin Hilary George-Parkin reports from Red Hook, Brooklyn for NY City Lens. A Toronto native and almost-New Yorker, Hilary was previously associate editor at Styleite.com and assisted the editor in chief at Harper’s Bazaar. She has a degree in English literature from New York University and is interested in covering fashion, business, power, gender issues, and culture.
hilarygp@gmail.com | @hilarygp

Hope KingHope King reports from the West Village for NY City Lens. Before coming to Columbia Journalism School, Hope worked for Merrill Lynch, where she was a VP of business development for managed money businesses. Her decision to ditch a great job in a well-paid industry was not due to a catastrophic brain injury—Hope just knew it was time to pursue her passion for people and storytelling. As an undergrad at Rutgers College, Hope wrote and edited a weekly column on tech and media for inside beat magazine. She also co-hosted and produced Wake Up, Rutgers!, the school’s first live news show, and interned at ABC News in New York for investigative programs Primetime and 20/20. Hope aspires to become a broadcast and multimedia reporter, covering business, technology and Asian-American culture.
lxk2000@columbia.edu | @lisahopeking

Johannes Musial Johannes Musial reports from the South Bronx neighborhoods of Hunts Point and Longwood for NY City Lens. He grew up in Berlin and lived abroad in Arkansas during high school and Spain during college. With skills acquired watching MacGyver he tore down the Berlin wall when he was two. Afterwards, he decided to defend the country’s newly gained freedom and become a journalist. In Germany Johannes worked as a reporter at public television broadcasters ZDF and ARD and as a freelance writer for newspapers, magazines and news websites on political and cultural issues. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from the Free University of Berlin. Occasional bumpiness in his writing is unrelated to the fact that he is foreign, but is rather caused by the boisterous reggaeton music from his Puerto Rican neighbors.
jrm2232@columbia.edu | @JohannesMusial

_MG_7163Kenley Hargett reports from the financial district for NY City Lens. Kenley was born and raised in Louisville, Ky. He graduated from Morehouse College cum laude and was the Executive Producer for Morehouse College TigerTV. Kenley has interned for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, WXIA 11Alive Atlanta, and several other media outlets. He is excited to be at Columbia and knows his Columbia education will make him a master journalist. Kenley loves to meet new people and learn interesting stories. Feel free to contact him with story ideas!
lkh2130@columbia.edu | @Imthenewz

Manon VerchotManon Verchot reports from Astoria, Queens for NY City Lens. Manon is French-American, but grew up around the world in Brazil, Kenya, Indonesia and England. She has a BA in History and Social Anthropology from the University of Kent in England and is now working on her master’s at Columbia University. Manon has interned at two research organizations: the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Research Program (CCAFS) as a blogger and social media aggregator. She enjoys reporting on humanitarian and environmental issues.
mav2148@columbia.edu | @maverchot

Prisca PointdujourPrisca Pointdujour reports from Chelsea for NY City Lens. She is a graduate of Emory University, where she studied political science and French. After school, she wrote for community newspapers in Atlanta. She then spent three years working as a web producer at WSB-TV Atlanta. Prisca is Haitian-American and grew up in Connecticut and Atlanta.
plp2112@columbia.edu | @PriscaPDJ

Rosa KimRosa Kim reports from Flushing, Queens for NY City Lens. Born in Seoul and raised in New York City, Rosa received a bachelor’s in English Literature from Swarthmore College. Prior to Columbia, she reported for the Queens Courier where she delivered breaking news, wrote profiles, reviewed up-and-coming eateries and photographed cover stories. Rosa comes back to journalism after teaching elementary school English in her native Korea. She is interested in multimedia storytelling, especially stories concerning health, food and the Asian-American community. A few of Rosa’s favorite things include cooking, hiking, Pilates and street photography.
rdk2125@columbia.edu | @RosaDKim

Shayna FreislebenShayna Freisleben reports from Kensington and Borough Park, Brooklyn for NY City Lens. Shayna is a graduate of Emory University in Atlanta where she double majored in political science and Middle Eastern studies. She was a research intern at the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel during her senior year of college, and interned at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C. in 2012, where she produced the embassy’s weekly political newsletter. She speaks Arabic and Hebrew, and is interested in Middle Eastern politics and popular culture.
saf2177@columbia.edu | @sfreisleben

WillWill Huntsberry reports from the South Bronx neighborhood of Mott Haven for NY City Lens. He formerly reported on state politics as a staff writer at INDY Week in Raleigh. Will worked the education beat for Raleigh Public Record at a time when Wake County schools were in the national spotlight for ending a decades old diversity policy. He also worked as a general assignment reporter at News 14 Carolina.
wh2297@columbia.edu | @willhuntsberry

Yan CongYan Cong reports from the Lower East Side for NY City Lens. Born and raised in Beijing, China, Yan graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She spent a semester at Barnard College, where she got into photojournalism taking news photos for the Columbia Daily Spectator. She has interned with Financial Times Chinese and China Daily USA. As a journalist and photographer, she wants to be an observer, a listener, a recorder and a storyteller. She also loves tennis, theater, food and good coffee (in no particular order of preference).
yc2754@columbia.edu  | @yancongjourn


(Photos: Yan Cong, Hope King/NY City Lens) (Edits: Hilary Brueck/NY City Lens)