As children, the mere thought of imagining a teacher doing normal, everyday tasks like walking the dog, playing golf on the weekends or let alone playing any sport was ludicrous. As we mature, those unimaginable thoughts deteriorate and we eventually understand that everyone needs a day to themselves to regroup. For the assistant director of journalism, Dr. Judith Cramer, she enjoys the simple things in life that most may take for granted.
Although she seldom receives the chance to have down time, she does not mind dedicating time to her life calling, which is teaching. Despite all of Dr. Cramer’s credentials, including sports journalism, applied communication, and mass communication and cultural studies degrees, her passion has always been to teach others about the world of communications and journalism.
This past summer, she edited the third edition of Women in Mass Communication and updated the curriculum for those majoring in public relations at St. John’s University. Cramer explained that St. John’s is not only a wonderful place to teach, but it has helped her utilize her occupation to the fullest extent.
“There is something prestigious about teaching at a Big East university,” she said. “I liked the fact that St. John’s [is] so diverse. I like the fact that it is in a more urban environment. [St. John’s] has allowed me to make the most of my professional background and my interest in research.”
Up until last semester, the St. John’s University journalism program’s curriculum was set up to prepare its students for seemingly ancient requirements of the printing world with the main focus on writing courses. With the help from Cramer and her colleague Dr. Roger Wetherington, students within the journalism major will become more of an asset to the print, Internet, broadcast and radio corporation with a revamping of all the courses.
“The business of doing journalism is changing,” said Cramer, in reference to her most recent project within the journalism program.
Prior to making St. John’s University her home, Cramer taught at SUNY Buffalo and Long Island University, managed a radio station, and hosted a public radio segment that is compared to the format of WNYC.
During her first two undergraduate years at Keene State College in New Hampshire, Cramer majored in physical education. It was not until she joined her school’s newspaper that she realized that she could not turn away from being a journalist. She eventually became the first female sports editor at Keene’s campus newspaper and went on to become a professional sports writer. While she experienced various forms of discrimination from males and females alike, this hurdle was the foundation to Cramer’s renaissance movement for women in media since there have not been an increase of female sports writers since the 1970s.
“They’ve lost women sports writers… it is a very difficult environment,” Cramer said of the sports writing world. “You know, whether you are a woman in a man’s world, whether you are an African American in a white person’s world, you know when you are welcome and when you are not. Nobody has to say a word… directly to you or said around you… the sports department has not particularly been welcomed to women.”
Cramer contributed to various publications including Women Media and Sport published by Sage, Women in Mass Communication by Pamela Creedon and Seeking Equity for Women in Journalism and Mass Communication by Erlbaum Publishing, all which express the obstacles women face in the journalism world and ways to overcome them.
The passion that Dr. Cramer has for informing the minds of students is what keeps her going. Colleagues like Wetherington, who has worked closely with Cramer for the past five years says, “Think of her as Queen Elizabeth in tennis shoes.”
With her extensive career and passion for the job, Cramer is a force to be reckoned with.