Monday, December 14, 2009

Bi-Weekly Interview: Jim Ford

Written by Natan Edelsburg
Edited by Sara Sald

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jim Ford, talented actor and Chief Web Designer for NYU Steinhardt. Jim has played an essential role in helping the Comm Club begin to re-brand themselves this semester by helping us design a new website. He's also been helping out Steinhardt's Undergraduate Student Government by working with their new social media guru, freshman Jeremiah Malina. More importantly though, Jim was behind Steinhardt's phenomenal new web design, which if you haven't noticed, rolled out this semester. Here's a condensed and edited version of my interview.

How did you start your career as a web developer?

I majored in acting in college. I got my first job as an "HTML Monkey" making travel sites for destinations in the Caribbean.

When did you start working on Steinhardt's Website?

In 2000 the web team consisted of one person. We spent two and a half years building a site for the school. I then left Steinhardt for a bit and went to work for a company called Fractured Atlas, a non-profit that helped provide affordable healthcare for emerging artists, where I served as Director of Member Services. I then ended up coming back to NYU when a new position opened up.

When was the last time the site was redesigned?

We redesigned the site in 2007 when Steinhardt re-branded itself, changing its name to the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. The problem with the original website was that the site was based more on the design and less on the userability. Using a trackpad with the site was horrible. However, we did introduce a great CMS (Content Management System), which allows departments and student organizations to easily create a page with their content.

What are some of the cool features of the new redesign?

When designing the site we used the mega drop-downs with a limitless options-style designed by expert usability consultant Jakob Nielsen. It lets users click where they want to go as quickly as possible. We also have a great video portal with interviews and lectures. Lastly, we launched our News Portal that features new blogs and happenings around Steinhardt.

Many students prefer to use Gmail as supposed to NYU's Messenger and other intranet features. Do you have any insights why NYU hasn't gone Google?

I'm not positive but it probably has to do with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) that protects academic records. NYU may not want to give Google access to student's private communication with professors and other students. Another concern may be that they don’t want to sell their student’s attention to Google. It’s true that Google is pretty good about ads with their academic suites, but it could still be a potential issue.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Hey Comm Club! We wanted to wish everyone good luck on finals and invite you to our final event of the semester: MadCupMenCakes! It is happening today, Thursday December 10th, in Room 803 of Kimmel at 8:30pm.

The event is very chill and will allow all of us to take a break from Bobst. We are going to watch the Emmy award winning show "MadMen" and eat cupcakes of various brands to take a break from the madness that is finals.

Hope to see you all there! As always, if you have any questions, please contact us at


The Comm Club EBoard

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

November Monthly Meeting Update

Written by Sara Saldi
Edited by Felicia Shulman

At our last Comm Club meeting on Wednesday November 18th, we had the pleasure of hosting Isaac Josephson, the director of product development at ABC News.

Before delving into the field of journalism, Mr. Josephson ran the music division of The NPD Group, where he helped global music companies, retailers, and internet companies develop digital music business strategies. Prior to that, he served as product manager at for the launch of the Rhapsody digital music subscription service, and senior producer at where he managed the online presence of websites like and

In 1994, Isaac co-founded Centerstage Chicago, the first online guide to local entertainment. It was subsequently acquired by the Chicago Sun Times. Isaac began his career with the Tribune Company where he was responsible for developing the corporate online presence and participated in the launch of

Isaac received his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and is presently enrolled in NYU Steinhardt’s Master’s program in Media, Culture and Communications.

At our meeting, he spoke a lot about the evolution of the media industries. He began in the music business, a field that since the invention of the internet has undergone a 180 degree flip due to sites such as Now he is in the field of journalism, which is changing dramatically due to the internet as well. He shared with us how drastically the news business is changing as sites like Facebook and Twitter continue to become more popular destinations for news consumption.

His biggest piece of advice for students looking for jobs in the communications fields is to make connections through networking, and make sure that your resume is perfect before you send it out!

Other club business discussed at the meeting included the MadCupMenCakes Event, where we will be watching the hit TV show Mad Men and eating delicious cupcakes. MadCupMenCakes is on December 10th at 8:30pm in Kimmel Room 803. It will be a very relaxed event where we can all unwind and take a break from finals studying!