New Members’ Brief Biographies

Ray W. Bassett was executive producer of “The Osgood File,” the nationally syndicated radio show hosted by Charles Osgood, from 2007 to 2018. His journalism career goes back to at least 1995 when he was a radio reporter in Duluth and Minneapolis. He was with CBS as a producer and tape editor from 1998 to 2002, then worked for The AP from 2002 to 2007, writing and editing online videos for newspaper, TV and radio clients.

Andrea Bucher-McAdams has been writing the “Cutting Corners” column for Town & Village since 2006.

Bill Collins is a former “fulltime freelance” journalist who wrote features for The Detroit News and the Observer suburban newspaper chain, then became a play-by-play radio broadcaster before embarking on a career in public relations. In 2002, he became associated with the Overseas Press Club of America, was voted an associate director and is a member of the organization’s Freedom of the Press committee as well as a director of the OPC Foundation.

Christopher Dickey has been a journalist since at least 1974, when he was with The Washington Post and was, among other things, a bureau chief in Cairo and in Mexico. He left The Post in 1986 and went to Newsweek, remaining until 2013. At Newsweek, he was a bureau chief in Cairo and Paris and was also Mideast editor. Presently, he is the Paris-based World News Editor at The Daily Beast and a contributor to NBC News.

Roberta Brandes Gratz was an award-winning reporter at The New York Post from 1963 to 1978 before becoming a full-time freelance writer and author with a focus on urban affairs. Her most recent book is “We’re Still Here Ya Bastards: How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City.” Her articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Nation, New York Newsday, The New York Daily News and other publications. She is also an international lecturer on urban development issues.

Tim Harper, a lecturer and writing coach for students at CUNY’s Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, was with The Associated Press from 1974 to 1985, covering national news. He has freelanced for publications ranging from Atlantic Monthly to numerous newspapers, and has been editor of CUNY Journalism Press since its launch in 2012.

Don Kaplan covered the television industry at The New York Post from 1998 until 2012, when he joined The New York Daily News as TV editor. He was at The News until 2017, leaving to become part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s press office as deputy director of communications.

Donald G. McNeil Jr. joined The New York Times in 1976 and has filled a variety of roles ever since. For the past 16 years, he has been the Times’s science and health reporter, focusing on plagues and pestilences such as AIDS, Ebola, malaria, swine and bird flu, mad cow disease, SARS and the like. Earlier assignments ranged from deputy editor in the Arts & Leisure section to postings in Johannesburg and Paris. McNeil has reported from some 60 countries and is the author of “Zika: The Emerging Epidemic,” published in 2016.

Paul Moses is a contributing editor at Commonweal magazine as well as a freelancer whose work appears in numerous other news outlets, especially the Daily Beast. He was a reporter at The Associated Press from 1980-1984. He then joined Newsday, where he was City Hall bureau chief. He left The AP in 2001 to teach journalism at Brooklyn College until last year.

Barry Newman was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal for 43 years. He wrote more than 400 front-page feature stories and became known among his peers as “King of the A-Heds.” He retired as a reporter in 2013 but continues at the WSJ as a writing coach. He is also the author of “News to Me,” a collection of his own WSJ pieces with commentary on how they came about.

Maria Newman has been alumni director of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University since 2015, but before that, she was a reporter and editor at The New York Times for 23 years, and earlier, she was a reporter for The Los Angeles Times. In all, she worked for seven newspapers, beginning in 1977, when she was a college student at SMU and did rewrite for The Dallas Morning News. Subsequent assignments took her to The Corpus Christi Caller-Times, The San Diego Union, The Dallas Times-Herald and The Sacramento Bee.

Elliott S. Rebhun is senior vice president of the Classroom Magazine Group at Scholastic Inc., overseeing almost two dozen magazines, including The New York Times Upfront, a biweekly news magazine composed of Times articles edited for teenage students. Before joining Scholastic in 2003, Rebhun was with The Times for nine years, becoming its first digital employee in 1994, when he was editor of the Times News Service on AOL, which eventually became From 1984 to 1991, he was an editor at Newsweek, working on special sections for the magazine’s international editions.

Jack Schwartz, a newspaperman for almost 50 years, worked for six metropolitan dailies: The Mirror, The News, The Post, Newsday, The Long Island Press and The Times, plus a short stint at The International Herald-Tribune in Paris. He was a reporter and columnist but primarily distinguished himself as an editor, focusing on books and culture. When he retired in 2005, he was assistant editor of the New York Times Weekend section, in addition to working on the daily culture pages. He is the author of a 2015 memoir “The Fine Print: My Life as a Deskman.”

Lou Sepersky was a newsman from 1962 through 1975. His journalism career included stints at The Staten Island Advance; The New York Post; The Herald News in Passaic, N.J.; The Hudson Dispatch in Union City, N.J.; UPI; and McGraw Hill. He is married to Silurian Leida Snow.

Suzanne Slesin has been a major writer in the field of home design since the early1970s. In addition to writing for magazines including New York and Esquire, she was an editor and reporter for the Home section of The New York Times from 1979 to 1995. In 1995, she became the design editor of the relaunched House & Garden magazine; in 2000, she was named editor-in-chief of HomeStyle magazine; and in 2003 she was the editor of O at Home, an Oprah magazine. She’s the co-author of more than 20 books on design and home furnishings and in 2002, she founded and is editorial director of Pointed Leaf Press, which describes itself as “a publisher of high quality, photography monographs on personalities , , , from the world of design, architecture and fashion.”

Jonathan Weil is a prize-winning financial and business reporter and columnist. He is currently a senior financial analyst at Kynikos Associates, but was a journalist for at least 20 years prior to that. As a reporter for The Wall Street Journal (1997-2006), he was regarded by his peers as the first journalist to question the accounting practices of Enron Corp. during the financial bubble in 2000. He joined Bloomberg News as a columnist in 2007, won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 2009 and 2010 and was a columnist for Bloomberg View until 2015. Earlier, he was a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette in Little Rock.

Thomas Zambito is an investigative reporter with a focus on transportation and energy. He has been with The Journal News since 2015 and prior to that was a reporter at The Star Ledger in Newark. He’s also worked at Newsday, The New York Daily News and The Record. He won two awards for The Journal News at the 2018 Excellence in Journalism competition: a medallion for “After Indian Point: The Challenges Ahead,” a string of articles on the likely environmental, economic and political impact of the shutdown of the Indian Point nuclear plant slated for 2021, and a Merit Award for “Metro-North Loses Its Way,” a series on how misplaced priorities contributed to a train crash that resulted in four deaths.

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