Alumni Stories - In Focus

Elinor Tatum '89, Publisher of The Amsterdam News Shares her Spark
Elinor Tatum '89, Publisher of The Amsterdam News Shares her Spark
Share Your Spark of Genius with Us
Our motto, "igniting the spark of genius in every child," inspired us to want to learn what your spark of genius is! With only a few questions in mind, we've made it a snap to let us know. We asked those questions of Elinor Tatum '89, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Amsterdam News. Here's what Elinor had to say:

What is your passion of "spark of genius"?
My passion is making connections between people and trying to help the world become a better place — to be a spoke in a wheel of change. I'm a "big ideas" person and try to transform ideas into reality to make things happen.

How did a Dwight teacher/coach/mentor inspire you or help to ignite your spark?
Music and Drama Director Marina Tichotsky really gave me a sense of myself and that I could do anything I put my mind to! Over the course of six years, I was in over a dozen or more productions, which brought together students from all over campus. I was friends with an eclectic mix of people and was able to be who I was, which has carried through to this day.

Chancellor Spahn was also a great influence on me. He told me that I was destined to be in media and maybe even a talk show host someday. I remember one day in particular when we were walking down the hall together and he mentioned my name and Oprah in the same sentence! Fast-forward several years and I am in the media!
In addition to my work at The Amsterdam News, I produce and co-host a weekly segment called "Keepin' It Real" for Al Sharpton's radio show during which members of the Black press discuss national issues facing members of the African American community. I also provide commentary for several different local and national TV networks.

What did you do after Dwight?
I attended St. Lawrence University and majored in government. I have my Dwight guidance counselor to thank for pointing me in this direction, as I had never heard of St. Lawrence before, but it turned out to be the perfect school for me. For the past nine years, I have been on the St. Lawrence Board of Trustees because I am passionate about the school and the top-notch education I received there.

Following college, I studied international relations at Stockholm University for a year and then returned to New York to work at The Amsterdam News, where I joined my father, who was the publisher. At the same time, I pursued a masters in journalism at NYU. When I graduated, my father appointed me Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at the age of 27. It was a big surprise at the time. I was thrilled, of course ... and thank goodness I had my father to guide me for the next 12 years! It's been an amazing journey since then.

In addition to sitting on the board of St. Lawrence, I have served on other boards and currently am doing so for Creative Visions Foundation, which harnesses the power of creative activism through the media; and for The Harriet and Esteban Vicente Foundation. My best friend at Dwight — and still to this day — Jennifer Stein '89 is Vice Chair of the foundation, which carries on the legacies of Harriet and Esteban Vicente, promoting his artwork and supporting arts education programs and mental health research. It's wonderful to work with her on this level.

Is there anything else that you'd like to share with the Dwight community?
Yes! We are hosting our first Dwight intern at the paper and it's been a great experience. He is helping out with interactive web projects and I look forward to hosting more Dwight students next year.