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Newsroom 2021

Meet the Newsroom Staff of Spring 2021

NY City Lens illuminates the rich and varied life of New York City—borough by borough, neighborhood by neighborhood, one good story at a time. It is produced by students at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. The site is staffed by students in the City Newsroom class taught by professors Dody Tsiantar, Mike Hoyt, Simon Surowicz, and Nina Alvarez, with teaching assistants Edward Robbins and Christine McKenna.

Christopher Alvarez

Twitter: @JournAlvarez
Instagram: @ChristopherAlv__

Christopher is a disability activist, reporter, and filmmaker from Queens who covers Chelsea and surrounding areas for NY City Lens. He is also the Instagram editor for the site. His work has appeared in Columbia News Service, New New York, and Mas Latinos. He co-wrote, co-produced, co-directed, and acted in a feature film, El Padrino, about a disabled young man and his home aide on an emotional journey to avoid deportation by U.S. ICE agents.



Remmy is a Ugandan journalist who works as a United States correspondent for television stations in Africa. She served as a reporter for NBS Television and as a political reporter attached to the Ugandan Parliament. A television producer, video editor, and writer, she has contributed to TRT World, Huffington Post, and Citizen TV. In 2017, she was nominated to be a youth delegate to the United Nations.

Remmy Bahati

Twitter: @Bahatiremmy

Jayna Alexandra

Twitter: @jaynaalexandra_

Jayna was born and raised in Philadelphia, and she graduated from Temple University with her bachelor’s degree in journalism. Before attending Columbia, she worked at three local news stations in Philly, edited her university’s newspaper, and reported on air for her campus TV station. Jayna plans to pursue a career as a multimedia journalist.

Sarah covers Manhattan for NY City Lens. She has a special interest on a range of topics, including social welfare, arts and culture, and business and economics. She has reported for various publications, including the Daily Californian and KALX 90.7, as well as written for design and media publications. She is fluent in Korean and is an avid musician and photographer, often found in the streets of NYC with her Fuji X-T2 camera.

Sarah Chung

Twitter: @sccitylends

Joseph Clark

Twitter: @clarkjoem

Joe covers Manhattan for NY City Lens. He is a Kansas native, and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas. He spent ten years in the Navy after college and worked in banking briefly before coming to Columbia and joining NY City Lens. He is still getting the hang of social media.




Kate covers politics, criminal justice, and sports for NY City Lens with a focus on the Bronx and Riker’s Island. She is originally from Columbus, Ohio and prides herself on being a Midwestern New Yorker. Prior to coming to Columbia, she served as an investigative prosecutor in New York City and Ohio and focused on white-collar crime, child exploitation, animal abuse, and narcotics trafficking.

Kate Christobek

Twitter: @KateChristobek

Tricia Crimmins

Twitter: @TriciaCrimmins

Tricia covers Long Island City, with a special interest in sexuality, gender, reproductive rights, and mental health. She is also the NY City Lens Twitter editor. Before Columbia, she wrote for Mashable and Complex Networks. In addition to writing for NY City Lens, Tricia writes for Moment Magazine and performs on Exit Interview, an improv comedy podcast. Her work can be found on the Daily Dot, Columbia News Service, and The Lewiston Sun Journal. She is from Chicago.

Eduardo covers Brooklyn for NY City Lens. He’s from Salinas, California and holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Santa Clara University. He worked for the Salinas Californian as a reporter, focusing on education, immigration, and breaking news. His work has also appeared in San José Spotlight, the Monterey Herald, and USA Today. He speaks Spanish.

Eduardo Cuevas

Twitter: @eduardomcuevas

Jasmine Fernandez

Twitter: @jasminefernandz

Jasmine covers Brooklyn for NY City Lens and is the site Facebook editor. She was raised on Long Island and attended the University of Richmond, where she studied journalism and psychology. She speaks Spanish and Italian, and is interested in investigative reporting and covering immigration and social justice issues. Previously, she has worked at CNN and Newsday.

Madeline covers Queens for NY City Lens with a focus on Astoria. She previously worked as a production assistant for The Recount, where she focused on breaking news and U.S. politics. Originally from Austin, Texas, Madeline graduated from Barnard College in 2019 where she studied film and political science.

Madeline Renbarger

Twitter: @maddierenbarger

Mariel Rodriguez-McGill

Twitter: @MarielEats

Mariel is a video journalist and documentarian covering Manhattan for NY City Lens. She is from Massachusetts by way of Colorado, where she produced and directed a historical documentary series for Rocky Mountain PBS. After a three-year stint with the Colorado Film Commission, Rodriguez-McGill relocated to New York to pursue journalism. She received a BA from Boston College and holds a MA from the University of Denver.

Xiang covers The Bronx for NY City Lens. She was born and raised in Beijing, China. Before coming to Columbia, she graduated from the University of Washington, double majoring in journalism and French. She’s interested in covering arts and culture, environmental issues, and public health.

Xiang Shen

Twitter: @xxxiangshen

Paroma Soni

Twitter: @paromasoni

Paroma is a data journalist from Mumbai, India, covering The Bronx for NY City Lens. She worked previously as a video producer for BuzzFeed India, an intern at Slate magazine, and a freelance writer for publications around the world. Her work focuses on social justice, politics, culture, art, gender, and sexuality. She graduated from Trinity College in 2017 with a degree in film studies and human rights.

Seiji is a multimedia journalist covering Queens for NY City Lens. He is originally from the San Francisco Bay area. Prior to attending Columbia, Seiji studied international relations at the University of Rochester and jazz piano performance at the Eastman School of Music. He was previously an AmeriCorps Vista in Rochester, NY.

Seiji Yamashita

Twitter: @seiyamashita3